Finding inspiration in Louisville isn’t too hard. We have a lot to appreciate here, and a lot to work towards. From inventive entrepreneurs investing in our urban spaces, to world class artists delighting our senses, there is much to celebrate right now. But what inspires us most about Louisville is not something new. It’s part of our childhood memories, part of our everyday lives, and hopefully part of our children’s future. We are talking about the parks of course.
There are three main park organizations in our city. Louisville Parks and Recreation maintains over 100 green spaces, and strives to make Louisville a clean, green, safe and inclusive city where people love to live, work and play. Olmsted Parks Conservancy was created to restore Louisville’s 17 Frederick Law Olmsted designed parks following the devastating tornado of 1974. Every day we get the chance to enjoy parks created and planned tree by tree to ensure all residents a nearby natural escape from urban life. They are celebrating their 30th year of protecting these century old parks. In contrast, 21st Century Parks hopes to build on Olmsted’s legacy by planning for the next 100 years as our city spreads and grows, protecting nearly 4,000 acres from development, and guaranteeing park access for the future communities that will someday surround it.
As Louisvillians and event planners, the possibilities in the parks are endless. We entertain in these parks. We live in these parks. We support these parks. All of these activities help ensure a vibrant and healthy future for our community.
ENTERTAIN IN THE PARKS
Did you know you can rent pavilions in the park for your own private celebrations? It’s always a gamble with the weather, but it is an inexpensive alternative to renting a private venue. Visit Louisvilleky.gov or call (502) 368-5865 to rent a shelter or pavilion for an upcoming occasion. You will get the space all day, giving you time to set up and clean up. But remember the Boy Scout motto, “leave no trace,” and treat our parks with the respect they deserve when your celebration is over.
Tired of dinner parties? Mix it up with your friends and attend one of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy Bike-Ins. The next one is on October 20th at Tyler Park and will feature live music, local food trucks, cold brews and an end of the night family friendly movie. Visit olmstedparks.org for more info and get a group together, spend quality time, and enjoy the outdoors for a new way to enjoy friends.
Get out of the office board room and host your next meeting in a public outdoor space to inspire creativity for your co-workers and staff. Louisville parks are spread out all over the city, so you can always find a space nearby. Need more tech support? Check out The Parklands; they offer state-of-the-art meeting rooms in their environmentally friendly Gheens Foundation Lodge and PNC Achievement Center Classrooms. For rental info visit theparklands.org.
LIVE IN THE PARKS
Have we mentioned we are moms of three kiddos each? The parks offer us an extension of our homes with space to enjoy the outdoors, plenty of places to explore, and resources to learn. Olmsted Parks Conservancy offers Guided Walking Tours where educated volunteers share the history of our parks that even lifetime residents might not know.
Whether you live near a Metro Park, Olmsted Park, or 21st Century Park, they each have a unique line-up of events to enjoy. These events exist because of the residents who attend them, so be one of those residents. One of our favorites is coming up; celebrating its second year is the Hayride on the Hill, Sunday, October 29 at 4:30 PM on Baringer Hill. This free event features food, hayrides and fun, presented by Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Market.
The parks aren’t only for warm weather. We enjoy the parks year-round. Splash parks help us beat the heat and are located around town in all three park systems. Fall is a great season to be outdoors! We collect nature items with our families for craft projects; think leaf rubbing activities and acorn collages. Sledding down hills in Cherokee Park provides some of our favorite childhood memories, and canoe through the Parklands has become a new hobby with our own kids as the weather warms back up.
SUPPORT THE PARKS - THERE ARE THREE EASY THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT OUR DYNAMIC PARK SYSTEM
Visit the parks! The parks need residents to enjoy them, keep them safe and keep them relevant. Our communities will thrive when neighbors recognize each other out enjoying our greenspaces. Get outside, met a neighbor and enjoy our natural gems!
Donate! 21st Century Parks and The Olmsted Parks Conservancy offer many opportunities year-round to show your support for their missions to improve and sustain healthy safe park systems in Louisville. Attend an event or donate directly to help these organizations flourish and grow. Visit their websites for more info on their current projects and how to give.
Can’t donate, or want to do more? Volunteer with all three organizations and their various beautification programs. Metro Parks’ BrightSites program focuses on neighborhood centric clean-ups. 21st Century Parks will train you to be a Park Ambassador and educate you on the unique wildlife and horticulture native to our area, or become a Park Steward with Olmsted Parks Conservancy and help cultivate a healthy future for our more historic parks.