Parks and Playgrounds

By Siobhan Brown 
Gannon University Student Contributor

Our local parks and playgrounds offer a wealth of entertainment and relaxation at any time of year. Do the words "work" or "kids" make your eye twitch or your insides cringe from the feeling of oncoming stress? Don't be alarmed, you're not alone. According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), seven out of ten adults indicated they go through stress each day. Although stress is an inevitable part of life, it should be reduced as much as possible. A much overlooked and underrated solution is the power of the great outdoors. As a former "unnaturalist" myself, I find I relish the spare 10 minutes I have to take the scenic route from Gannon University campus and smell the crisp Erie air- and for good reason.

Not only does outdoor air boost serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps control our mood, but also the Environmental Protection Agency states fresh air is 75% less polluted than indoor air. Additionally, EPA also declares outdoor air is abundant in negative ions, which have been proven to lead to higher self-esteem, reduced anxiety, and better peripheral skills. Now before writing off the idea with the fact that life is either too busy to sketch out time, the, "I can't leave the dog at home for that long" excuse, or simply that you're not one of those "outdoorsy" people, there are a variety of options for how the outdoors can be enjoyed, especially in Erie's local parks. 

So Little Time, What Should You Do?

Have lunch at Presque Isle's designated picnic areas for some calming scenery at Erie's favorite Peninsula.

Take the kids to a playground to have them shed some of that excess energy.

A unique way to spend the day is to visit rare archeological sites in Erie's Bluffs State Park.

Dog owners can visit the Humane Society's public dog park or dogs can be walked on leash on the Greenway or Brown's Farm area Trails at Asbury Woods.

Photo courtesy of Ann Bomberger 

Additional Resources:

Presque Isle: The official Presque Isle website offers information and pictures about activities such as boating, picnicking, fishing, and beach sites. They also provide an interactive map with GPS that lets you see where picnic and trail sites are virtually.

Asbury Woods: Asbury Woods Nature Center trail area, the Asbury Woods Greenway trails, and Brown's Farm trail area in total create a trail system of 4.5 miles of nature to enjoy and explore.

List of city playgrounds and parks: From the City of Erie's website, go to the menu bar, then click on the departments tab, and then the parks and recreation tab. You'll find a list of all city parks as well as summertime programming.

Summit Township parks: Information on the township's recreation spots, specifically Picnicana and Community Park.

Washington Township Parks: Included here is information on Veterans Park and the Amphitheater located in Washington Township. There is also a discussion on the Let's Move Outside Initiative.

Fairview parks: From Fairview township's website, find a list of all Fairview parks, lists of summertime programming, and information on how to reserve a pavilion.

Erie Bluffs State Park: The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy website describes the rich history of Erie Bluffs State Park and that it is the largest undeveloped land of Commonwealth Lake Erie.