Get up, get out6/22/2016
Ah, the beautiful days of July. Temperatures so high that chickens are laying fried eggs and squirrels are fanning their…walnuts.
But unless you’re between the ages of 0 and 8 and blissfully unaware of, well, everything, being outside and soaking in every ray of the skin-leathering sun is not, and never will be, considered good fun. It is what it is: miserable, no matter how naked you get.
So what do you do, then? It’s Iowa; it’s what happens. Well, you could take the easy way out of July and sit in your air-conditioned room (similar to what you’re likely doing right now), or you do the right thing: Get up off your fanny, and instead of trying to beat the heat, join it — in the great parks and outdoors of Des Moines.
Standing still in the heat stinks. But walking amongst nature in that same aforementioned heat? That’s another story altogether. There’s nothing like the parks, trails and aquatics in our great city to take your mind off the negative.
The good people at Des Moines Parks and Recreation already knew this, and to help celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month, have developed a fun way to let us in on the secret, too. It’s called Tour DM Parks.
“We are asking folks to visit 31 parks in 31 days (July 1-31) and share them via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #tourdmparks. It’s as simple as that. Our intent is to get as many people out and exploring the parks as possible,” said Des Moines Parks and Recreation Marketing Supervisor Jen Fletcher.
Here’s how it works. There are 31 locations designated across the Des Moines park system, each of which can be found on an itinerary created by the department at www.dmparks.org/tourdmparks. When a park-goer arrives at one of these locales, he or she must document the visit with a photo and share it on any or all of the department’s social media networks (Facebook.com/desmoinesparks; Twitter.com/desmoinesparks; or Instagram.com/desmoinesparks) with the official contest hashtag “#tourdmparks.”
The first 500 entrants who visit 10 of the 31 locations and submit a photo will receive an Iowa Cubs T-shirt, and the first 500 participants who submit a photo of themselves in at least 20 of the designated locations will receive a $20 “Parks Bucks” certificate with an estimated retail value of $20, which may be used for any Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department program through June 30, 2017.
At the top tier, entrants who submit photos of all 31 locations will be eligible to compete for the “Tour DM Parks” grand prize. Two winners will be awarded either a weekend trip to Honey Creek Resort valued at $500 (a two-night stay in a traditional room, golf and four waterpark passes) or a Skybox Suite at an Iowa Cubs baseball game valued at $636. The package includes 10 tickets.
This is quite a change from last year when it was a one-day event on Court Avenue involving mini golf, pickleball, shooting some hoops and, of course, learning about the parks. This year, department members are trying a new approach — instead of bringing the parks to the masses, they’re bringing the masses to the parks.
“While what we did last year and what we have planned this year may seem drastically different in appearance, the intent is the same — bring awareness to the vast offerings that Des Moines Parks and Recreation has to offer,” said Fletcher.
So, beginning July 1, rain or shine (and it’ll likely be the latter), get out amongst the fanning squirrels, enjoy nature’s beauty in area parks and maybe win a prize for your efforts. The only thing you’ve got lose is a couple of pounds (and that’s a good thing). CV
Tour DM Parks, July 1-31
See www.dmparks.org/tourdmparks for more information