A half-mile downriver of Falls Park in Greenville is another spectacular outdoor attraction -- the 122-acre Cleveland Park.
Considered by residents to be "The City Park," it features six lighted tennis courts, two lighted basketball courts, two sand volleyball courts, a lighted softball field, four playgrounds, a 16-station fitness trail, a nature trail, eight picnic shelters, a dog park, a full-scale zoo and plenty of open spaces to toss around a Frisbee or football. Asphalt pathways link all the amenities together.
With so many recreational options, this park gets plenty of use - even on weekdays. My husband and I rode our bikes through the park on a recent Monday afternoon and were astounded by the number of people playing outdoors.
It was like a slice of Americana. There were mothers pushing strollers, couples walking dogs, teenagers playing softball and kids climbing all over the jungle gyms. In the Rock Quarry Garden, a young couple had spread out a blanket and was enjoying a picnic lunch next to the waterfall.
The Reedy River runs along the length of the park, creating a picturesque setting for all of the recreational activities. A .6-mile trail links Cleveland Park to Falls Park and historic downtown Greenville. The trail system also connects to Linky Stone Park and the interactive Children's Garden.
One of my favorite sections of Cleveland Park is the Rock Quarry Garden, a peaceful refuge from the more active areas of the recreational center. Once the site of a pre-Civil War granite quarry, it has been transformed into an outdoor oasis with rock ledges, a waterfall and beautiful flowering plants.
At the other end of the park is the Fernwood Nature Trail, another quiet area to enjoy nature. As you walk along the 1-mile loop trail through the hardwood forest, it's easy to forget you're in the center of a bustling city.
But the big draw here is unquestionably the Greenville Zoo, featuring all the usual suspects - giraffes, monkeys, giant tortoises, African lions, alligators, reptiles, a red panda and three Amur leopards.
Want to learn more about Cleveland Park? Click here to download a brochure or call (864) 467-4350.