Tour du Playgrounds
South Burlington’s Tour du Playgrounds
As we all know, physical fitness is important for all members of the family. What better way to get exercise than to have the whole family outdoors enjoying the wide, wonderful natural beauty of South Burlington on bikes. Riding all or part of the South Burlington Tour du Playgrounds is a fun way for the whole family to be active. What makes it even more fun is allowing your kids to break up the ride by setting a goal to slide at 3 or 4 parks in a single day’s outing.
The South Burlington Tour du Playgrounds is designed as a circular route to visit up to five (5) of South Burlington’s parks including Farrell Park, Szymanski Park, Overlook Park, Veterans Memorial Park and our brand new City Center Park. Start at any point of the suggested loop that is convenient to your location. There is no requirement to visit all five parks in one day.
Safety is important, so make sure that everyone is wearing a helmet and obeying road signs. Remember, a bicycle is considered a vehicle while riding on a road and riders must travel on the right side of a road in the same directions that motorized vehicles are operating. Using the City’s recreation path system when possible will also help keep everyone safe. As of March 2019, neither the State of Vermont nor the City have an ordinance preventing bicycles from riding on sidewalks. E-bikes are classified differently and are excluded from sidewalks. Please note that if you ride on the recreation paths or the sidewalks, you must yield to pedestrians. Please also note that bicyclists do not have the right-of-way in crosswalks under State law unless they dismount and walk.
Farrell Park – This Park, located off Swift Street near its intersection with Farrell Street, is a good place to start for two reasons. First, it has a sizable parking lot if you need to drive to start your ride. Second, the start of the Tour du Playground loop will be uphill, which leaves a downhill ride for the end of your multi-park loop. (Note: There is presently no sign indicating the entrance to the Park, so turn into the driveway at the sign for the Swift Corporate Center at 99 Swift St.) This park also can be reached by bicycle from Swift Street and Lindenwood Drive. So, grab a slide at the playground before starting your ride. Facilities include a port-a-potty, but no drinking water.
Next stop is Szymanski Park - From Farrell Park, ride east on the recreation path heading up hill. Follow the path along the south side of the UVM crop field and duck into the woods and over the bridge. At the recreation path intersection at the top of the hill, continue straight (south) until you enter the Stonehedge neighborhood. Turn right and proceed on the right side of the road past two right hand driveways until you see the entrance to the recreation path on your right. Enter the path and stay to your left at the intersection. Then proceed to the playground at Szymanski Park.
Szymanski Park – This is a gem of a park which includes a well-equipped playground, and basketball and tennis/pickleball courts. Don’t forget to use the slide. Facilities include a port-a-potty, but no drinking water. Parking is also available at this park if you wish to start from here.
Next is Overlook Park - continue on the recreation path south and east up the hill and past the UVM Horticulture Farm field along a chain link fence until you come to Deerfield Road. Turn left and you can either walk your bicycles up to Overlook Park on the sidewalk or ride up Deerfield Road until you reach Spear Street and then cross the road carefully to the Park.
Overlook Park – Alas, no slide or playground at this park. However, take in the great view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. Facilities include a water fountain, a bicycle repair station and parking.
Next stop, Veterans Memorial Park - From here cross Spear Street, proceed east on the recreation path on Nowland Farm Road for one mile to the end of the road. Cross Dorset Street and then continue north on the recreation path on the east side of Dorset Street. When you get to the traffic light at Swift Street Extension and Dorset, cross Swift Street, turn right (east) and follow the sidewalk to Veterans Memorial Park and the playground.
As an optional extension on your way to Veterans Memorial Park, when you cross Dorset Street at the end of Nowland Farm Road, you can continue straight (east) on the recreation path on Old Cross Road and circle around the “back nine” of Vermont National Country Club. As you reach the intersection of Park Road and Dorset Street, make a right turn (north) onto the recreation path on Dorset Street. When you get to the traffic light at Swift Street Extension and Dorset, cross Swift Street, turn right (east) and follow the sidewalk to the Veterans Memorial Park and the playground.
Veterans Memorial Park – This Park includes an extensive playground with several slides from which to choose. Facilities include a large parking lot, restroom, drinking water and perhaps even a snack bar if Cairns Arena is open.
There are two options once you are ready to leave Veterans Memorial Park:
Option 1: If you have had enough fun for one day, you can return to Farrell Park by retracing your ride from Veterans Memorial Park back to the intersection of Swift and Dorset Streets. Use the crosswalk to cross Dorset Street and proceed west on the recreation path along Swift Street until you come to the intersection of Swift and Spear Streets. Use caution and walk your bicycles across Spear Street. (The City plans to install a pedestrian-controlled crossing light at this location in 2019). Simply follow the recreation path down to the first intersection and turn right to continue to ride the recreation path back to Farrell Park.
Option 2 - if you are up to the challenge, as an optional extension, you can ride to City Center Park before returning to Farrell Park. From the Swift and Dorset Street intersection, follow the recreation path north along Dorset Street to the intersection with Kennedy Drive. Cross Kennedy Drive and continue north on Dorset Street to the driveway the follows the main entrance to Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School. Follow the driveway east to the back of the middle school and proceed to the trail that cuts through to Barrett Street. Follow Barrett Street north until it curves severely right (east) and the entrance to City Center Park is on your left.
City Center Park – This Park was opened in 2018 and is the newest park in the City. If this is where you decide to begin your ride, the Park may be accessed either from Iby or Barrett Streets off of Hinesburg Road just south of Market Street. Parking is somewhat limited. The Park includes a natural-styled playground including swings, a slide, and various log play structures including a log fort. This Park does not have restroom or drinking water facilities at this time.
To return to Farrell Park, retrace your ride back to Swift and Dorset Streets and follow the Option 1 directions above.
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