9 Best Reasons to Visit Simmers Young Park0
If you’re looking for something fun to do with the family that actually gets them outdoors and off their electronic devices, Simmers Young Park is a great choice. Not only is it great fun and a way to bring the family together, but it’s also absolutely free! If you haven’t visited the park before and are looking for something quick and easy to do because the kids are whining “we’re bored”… it’s a a great option for free outdoor things to do in Winter Haven.
9 Reasons You Should Visit Simmers Young Park.
1) It’s Gorgeous & Peaceful
We live in a world that’s fast paced and always moving. Sometimes you just need a quiet, peaceful area to relax while getting the kids outdoors. Simmers Young Park offers a place where the kids or pets (or both) can play while you sit back and enjoy the great outdoors and Florida sunshine. With a little bit of planning and a cooler, it can also be a perfect place for a packed lunch (aka picnic).
2) It’s A Local Winter Haven Destination
I love to go to places like Highlands Hammock in Sebring, but that’s a day trip and sometimes I opt for easy. I just want something quick and painless. Simmers Young Park allows me to get out of the house with my kids or dog (or both) and get them doing something more physical than watching television or staring at an iPad.
Since it’s local I don’t have to sacrifice my entire day and I have the chance to meet people. As an introvert I’m not actively looking for people to meet, but I seem to always meet somebody and have a great conversation about something.
3) Plenty of Space for… Everything
One of the best things about the park is it’s size. There’s plenty of room for so many different types of activities. Whether you’re in to running, walking, biking, ultimate frisbee, (they’ve even hosted ultimate frisbee tournaments), or uni-cycling… you name it, there’s plenty of space to do it.
There are also a bunch of covered picnic table areas that can be used for a picnic lunch or for having a childrens birthday party. We’ve tried to have birthday parties at the park in Auburndale as well as the park in Downtown Winter Haven only to find that all the covered tables were taken. It’s kind of frustrating when you’ve planned to have a bunch of people and their kids come out for a good time and then not have a comfortable place for cake and gifts. This park has more than enough places to set up.
Right now it almost seems too big for this area. But I imagine as Winter Haven grows and the tourism industry grows, there will be more and more tourists who are looking for free things to do. Since LEGOLAND is the big draw, most those tourists will have children so this will eventually be a popular destination for them. Before the out of towners find it, be sure to go enjoy it as a local resident.
4) Never Overcrowded & Lots of Parking
I rarely use the word “never” but as of the writing of this article, I’ve never been at the park and felt there were too many people. It’s just a huge park. I recently went with my family (dog and all) and realized when we pulled up that there were lots of cars and three or four games going on simultaneously on the fields.
I thought it would be an uncomfortably crowded day but to my surprise, it didn’t feel crowded at all. The folks who were there for the games were spread out and barely noticeable to those of us there making use of the play park and dog park. There had to be a few hundred people (I’ve never seen so many there before) but even though there was a large crowd, it wasn’t at all crowded.
In fact, we decided to visit Simmers Young that day completely based on weather. It was such a beautiful day out we debated driving all the way to the zoo and that was quickly thrown out because quite frankly, my wife and I didn’t want to go that far. It was sunny and cool, with very little humidity or stickiness (the type of Florida weather people who aren’t from Florida believe is normal).
Needless to say, in addition to all the games going on there were plenty of people out who had the same idea as us. Beautiful day – go to the park. Many of them had already taken over some of the covered picnic tables when we arrived, but as you can see from the picture I took (above), they weren’t all being used and there were still some available.
5) Awesome Winter Haven Dog Park
As far as good dog parks near Winter Haven go, there aren’t a ton of options. This is one of the best ones around though and it’s really, really nice. Once you drive into the park at the main entrance, just keep following the road and it will wind around to the dog park.
This Winter Haven Dog Park has a double gate for safety and two different (yet almost identical) play areas. One is for dogs over 25 pounds and the other is for dogs under 25 pounds. Both dog areas have a covered sitting area, water fountain (for you and your pet), and also agility exercises.
There is a tunnel and also an agility ramp for your pets to play on as well as lots of open space for them to run around. Be sure to clean up after your pet with the doggie bags and trash receptacles that are provided.
I would suggest planning a visit with some other dog owners if you want your pet to have another canine to romp around with. It’s usually hit or miss as far as other pet owners being there at the same time you show up, but hopefully as it gets more exposure and gains popularity there will be more dog lovers who frequent the park.
6) Fantastic Kids Play Park
Simmers Young has a great area for kids to play. There are a variety of swings to fit all ages and sizes, slides, things that spin (that’s all I got, I don’t know what to call them), climbing areas (rocks, ropes, etc.).
If you look at the picture on the left, that is one of the spinning wonders my children love. They want me to spin them on it until they just can’t hold on anymore, which is obviously much more physical and better for them than playing some app on their ipod or iphone.
It’s an all around great family play park and your kids will love it.
My favorite part is the convenience. Where else can you take your dog to play and then take your kids to play… all at the same time.
As far as I know you can bring your dog over while your kids play at the park as long as it’s on a leash. You may want to pick up a bag from the dog park in case there aren’t any and your dog decides it’s time to do his business.
I should mention here again that there’s plenty of space. I’ve been to many overcrowded parks and this isn’t one of them. Many visits to Simmers Young Park and I’ve never felt like the park area (or any other area) was overcrowded.
My children have always had a great time with each visit and you should definitely check it out.
7) Clean Restrooms
I hate dirty restrooms. If travel has taught me anything, it’s that bathrooms in most places in the United States are taken for granted. You don’t know how nice it is to have a clean bathroom until you’re somewhere with no public facilities at all or with nasty, dirty restrooms. That’s a topic for another time. But if it’s a pet peeve for you too, I’m happy to report that the restrooms at Simmers Young Park are clean, well kept, and usable. They aren’t Hilton or Marriott quality for sure, but they certainly aren’t dirty and nasty.
8) Soccer and Softball Fields
The park is spread out and has 12 soccer fields which are actually multipurpose fields. You can reserve them by calling 863-534-4340 which is the Polk County Leisure Services number. They may be able to answer any specific questions you have as well.
There are also baseball and softball fields that are used for tournaments, little league, and things of that nature.
9) Readers Choice
Okay, I can’t think of a number 9 right now, but having an odd number like 9 gets more people to click than an even number like 8 (true story). But it must be true because you clicked on it and you’re here reading right now. So please share your favorite thing about the park in the comments section that I may be forgetting or simply not know about.
Decided to Visit?…
Things to Plan for and Be Aware of When You Do Finally Visit Simmers Young Park
1) No Shade
I should probably say there is not much shade. If you position yourself strategically, there is some shade in some places and under the pavilions. But depending on the age of your kids or how much you want to interact with them, it would be difficult to stay in a shaded area and still see them all the time.
This is a biggie and you’ll want to plan for it if you are going to be out for a game or for extended periods of time. It’s very open and a wonderful environment but the Florida sun will wear on you if you aren’t prepared. So take some sunscreen, glasses, a hat, umbrella, or whatever you use to battle the sun because you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared.
Of course, you can always implement my tried and true plan which is to stay until it’s uncomfortable and then leave. That works anywhere with free entertainment, since you didn’t pay to be there, you don’t have to feel bad about leaving. Try these words out on your kids… “next time”. It’s a beautiful phrase. For example,
Kid: “can we just go on the swing one more time”
You: “Next time”
Kid: “Can we go get Dairy Queen now?”
You: “Next time”
Get it? It works great and can be used in a variety of situations.
2) Not Always Well Populated
This is another thing you’ll want to be aware of if you go at a non-peak time.
I’ve already established that one of the benefits of the park is that it’s not overpopulated. However, that can also be a drawback. If you are hoping for there to be other kids for your child to play with or other dogs for your dog to romp with, it’s hit or miss- especially with the canines at the dog park.
There’s a good chance there won’t be any other dogs while your there, depending on when you go. Based on my experience, there’s definitely a better chance of others being there if you go on a weekend, we’ve had good luck with Saturdays but not always.
You should also take normal safety precautions, especially if the park is particularly empty. It’s a really big park, so if you’re a single mom definitely be careful. I know somebody who went with her kids and the only other person there was a guy who appeared to be taking a jog or finishing a jog. Being in the park already, it was kind of creepy because he seemed to be watching them and slowly making his way toward them.
I don’t say that to scare you or suggest it’s dangerous. She left and everything was fine, but it could potentially be a dangerous situation if you’re the only one there. So be aware and cognizant of your surroundings. Not the best thing to end on, but hey, important information none the less.
We welcome your feedback, please feel free to leave a comment. If you got here through social media please like, share, snap, post, etsify or do whatever it is your platform allows!