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IMG_9327One day I googled “best playgrounds in America”. My kids love playgrounds, and we’re traveling around the country, so I wanted to find the best ones! A playground mentioned in multiple articles was Millenium Park in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The description and photos looked intriguing and we had already planned to stop in Lake Charles on our way to Texas. My cousin Elizabeth was still joining us on our travels so we decided to meet up there for the day. This place did not disappoint! It was amazing!!

The playground is enormous at 20,000 square feet!! It was rebuilt only two years ago, by volunteers, after a fire destroyed the former wooden playground. It is beautiful, very thoughtfully designed for kids of all ages and abilities, with covered benches placed throughout and a single exit from the park. The playscape includes a pirate’s ship, a climbing web, a multi story treehouse full of things to climb, slides, and tunnels, and a toddler area. Connected to the playground is a splash park that was incredibly refreshing on this hot day! A security guard was patrolling the park and ensuring safety. The kids were off and running as soon as I had them all slathered in sunscreen. They played hard the entire day and had a blast!

Towards the end of the day, us grown-ups sat down at one of the covered benches. A mom and grandma were sitting there as well, and we struck up a conversation. It started with small talk about the park and the weather. Before we knew it we were talking about our children, where we were from, homeschooling, and our grand adventure. Something really lit up in this mom’s eyes…hope, possibilities, a dream. She shared some of her frustrations with the school her child was attending and concerns with the methods of teaching. We shared a little about the lemons that we were turning into lemonade. And “Granny” just poured the love on all of us with her wisdom and kind words of encouragement. And for the kids, like most grandmas, she wanted to feed them, sharing all of the snacks she had brought. Our kids loved that! We could have talked all day with these two women. I love these random moments of beautiful human connection.

Before leaving, we decided to stroll along the lakeshore and came upon a beautiful 9/11 memorial. It was a peaceful space for reflection. Along the wall was a mosaic of colored glass, one piece for each person killed in the attacks. There was a different color scheme for each crash site and one for the first responders. It was an overwhelming visual of the loss of life that occurred that day.

We ended the day with dinner at Pint House Pizzeria where we shared a couple of gourmet pizzas and drank handmade sodas. It was such a full and beautiful day!