In March, Cary opened its new Downtown Park, an impressive spot that's become an evening destination for families who come out to see the large, lighted waterfall and take in a variety of special events.
But it's also a fun spot to hit up during the day with its open spaces; shaded tables and benches; and outdoor foosball and table tennis tables and bocce ball court. The park sits across from the Cary Arts Center at 319 S. Academy St. and was designed to be a signature spot for the town.
It's a great addition to a downtown that already features a variety of activities for families within easy walking distance - storytimes at Cary Community Library, which sits across the street; family programs at the Cary Arts Center; and family-friendly flicks at Cary's downtown theater just a few blocks away, along with some shops and restaurants.
My seven-year-old and I spent about 45 minutes here, playing lots of foosball and table tennis and learning the ins and outs of bocce ball. A covered bin includes the balls and rackets needed to play each of the games, along with instruction sheets. As we played, parents and kids, on their to Cary Arts Center for camp drop off, stopped by for a quick game of table tennis or foosball.
The park also hosts concerts and other special events, including a monthly and free Playtime in the Park, which offers special activities and games for all ages. The next one is 10 a.m. to noon, Aug. 17.
The park, in its current shape, is just the beginning for this corner of Cary.
Town officials are working now to hire designers for a second phase that will include walking trails, lawns and a water feature that also will help control stormwater. Work is scheduled to begin next year, according to the town.
And, in spring 2019, Wake County is scheduled to open the new Cary Regional Library, which will replace Cary Community Library, next to the new park. Plans call for a first floor that will hold the library's children's collection and a large children's program room. (The adult collection and related rooms will be upstairs).
But there's no reason to wait until everything is complete. Downtown Park, along with the rest of downtown Cary, make for a fun day out.