Bay City’s Enchanting
Carroll Park

Melissa Griffiths

As I get out of the van to walk up to Carroll Park, the cool breeze sends a chill up my spine. It is roughly fifty-eight degrees; however, the sun shines upon me like a bright ray of light. The fall leaves are changing color and vanishing from the trees as the ground becomes a colorful carpet. Carroll Park is located in Bay City, nestled within a neighborhood about a half-mile from my house. Frederick Law Olmstead, a nationally known architect, designed the park in 1875. Frederick also designed Central Park in New York City and the Rose Garden at the White House.

As I walk up the sidewalk to the front entrance of the park I see a large three-foot by five-foot faded wooden sign reading, "WELCOME TO CARROLL PARK DEDICATED 1875." A black wrought-iron gate leads into the park. The first thing I see as I walk through the gate is a large kennel about twenty feet long and eight feet high. It was built on the edge of the pond and is swarming with white ducks, mallards, and geese.

The pond is of a boomerang shape and is about a quarter acre, outlined with square concrete blocks. There are wooden benches beside the pond where I like to sit and watch the ducks and listen to the serene sound of running water from the fountains. The pond has a whale and a seal fountain that spews water at both ends. An elephant and a camel statue sit next to the pond, both five-feet tall and four-feet long, for the children to climb and play on.

I can smell the aroma of freshly cut grass and hear the faint rumbling of the cars passing by and the roaring lawnmowers from nearby houses. As I walk down the path it splits and trails around both sides of the pond. I walk to the right, towards the white cement bridge that crosses over the pond. The left path travels past the tennis courts and meets at the other side of the bridge, where it becomes one path that leads towards a fenced-in area. As I enter the fenced area the sound of boisterous children squealing out with laughter echoes throughout the park.

To the left there is a pavilion with a grill and a mulch-filled playground. A twenty-foot wide by thirty-foot long rectangular play area is built up one foot off the ground, and it is framed in with large blocks of wood to hold in the mulch. The stairs lead up to the first level where the children can choose to go down the slide or across the monkey bars with several rungs to swing from. Another set of stairs leads up to the second level and over the bridge to the two tunnel slides directly across from each other. Next to the play area are three miniature-rocking animals with spiral springs dug deep in the ground for the kids to rock back and forth.

To the right of the playground, in the grassy area, are two swing sets. The children's little legs dangle from the swings as they soar high in the sky. The other set of swings is for the infants and toddlers, with bucket-like seats with two holes for their legs to hang out. Left of the swing sets are two slides. One is an eight-foot slide gray in color. The other has rollers that propel the children down on thin bars to the bottom; it makes a terrible constant squeaking sound.

The Carroll Park is a great place to go to relish a nature walk, or just to sit and take advantage of the beautiful sights. As a young child I came to the park to play with my cousin for hours. As an adult I still get pleasure from coming to this park to relax or just watch my kids run about and play.

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