Southern Community Park & Southern Village
When Grandma came into town this weekend, C and I decided to take her to Southern Village and the big ole park attached. This pairing makes for a lovely day that I would confidently recommend to families.
This past Sunday, we started by entering Southern Community Park (located off of 15/501 directly after Southern Village) at the North Entrance. We parked in the Park & Ride lot at a friend's recommendation, and found ourselves perfectly situated between Southern Village's market area and the Southern Community Park. You will see the big chapel of the Methodist Church piercing the sky and know you are close to the Village. I am not sure how feasible it is to park in this particular lot on a work day, but there are other lots very close to this, so even if you park in those you can repeat this adventure.
Southern Community Park is new (2008) and BIG. And new as of Feb 2011: it is completely fenced in! It is the 2nd largest park in Chapel Hill with 72 acres. It has:
- all-season restrooms
- three athletic/soccer fields
- walking trails
- two picnic shelters
- two basketball courts
- an inline hockey court
- a play area
- a dog park
- a meadow area
- two parking lots
- disk golf course
- picnic facilities
- basketball courts
- inline hockey court
- art components
- soccer field
So here's what we did, to help you out...We started at the playground. This equipment is expansive and with some things we've never seen before (like a gyroscope-y thing you stand in and it spins you around in a way that makes your stomach feel topsy-turvy). No shade here. Which is surprising given the investment the Town made in the park. But I suppose because of it's size it's too hard. So go early in the day during the summer, or on a slightly cloudy day if you are worried about sun. This is a very advanced playgym, though, so think ages 2 and up. They do have 2 different equipment sets, though, for little kids and for bigger kids, and is just a phenomenal playgym all around. The ground cover is mulch.
We then hit the trails. These are beautiful; paved so that you can easily stroll through them. The trails back up to Scroggs Elementary school and the Village. But you can easily meander on these gentle sloping trails for awhile.
We didn't walk too long, though, since we were ready for lunch. We walked ourselves over to Southern Village's Market Street. There are a few places to eat here, so you have some options. Southern Village has a lawn area in the middle which is open for play and picnicking. It is fenced off in most areas, too, so despite the fact that traffic circles it, it is a relatively safe place for kids to roam. You can take out from Weaver Street Market or Pazzo! pizza if you didn't pack a lunch.
We personally opted for sit-down service and sat on the outdoor (yet covered) patio of Town Hall Grill. The service was fast and efficient and, as it was early on a Sunday, quick to get in. In keeping with the summery weather, both us ladies got salads and they were tasty.
For our walk back towards our car at the lot, we decided to fortify ourselves with some gelato at La Vita Dolce. While it melted, we slowly worked our way back to the car, hopped in, and left the park and Southern Village behind with full bellies and a feeling of content.
Southern Community Park
As you drive south on 15-501 you can access the park by taking the first right after the Main Street entrance to Southern Village. This is a right-in, right out entrance. To return north to Chapel Hill you need to drive into the Main Street area and exit at the Southern Village light.