Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Having Fun Locally: Irvine Park

 I am back from a wonderful, whirlwind trip to South Dakota.  I hope you caught my stories and pictures on Instagram and Facebook, because it will be awhile before I start doing a travel series on that adventure.  I want to spend the next few weeks sharing our summer staycation with our granddaughter and children, then I will move into our annual fall hikes and adventures.  So it will probably be November or later before I cover South Dakota:  it will give me time to cover the trip thoroughly over the long, boring winter!

Before I left for vacation, the first staycation post I shared was to River Prairie Park.  It's a new park in an new, upscale shopping district in our small town.  For today's post, I'm going to share the complete opposite:  a very old park with a lot of history in the area.

This  park is located in a city near Eau Claire, Wisconsin called Chippewa Falls.  If that name sounds familiar to you, it's because it's the same city "Jack" from the latest "Titanic" movie claimed to be from.  Interesting bit of trivia isn't it?  I tell you, when that movie was in it's prime people cheered at the local movie theater when "Jack" mentioned his home town.

In 1906, Chippewa Falls business man and lumber baron William Irvine and L.C. Stanley donated 165 acres of a land for a city park.  Today the park has grown to 318 acres.

One of the biggest attractions of Irvine Park is it's free zoo.  For a small zoo in a small town, it's actually quite impressive.  They have made a lot of modern updates in the 25+ years I've lived in the area, the newest being the petting zoo.

 The petting zoo is one of the most popular zoo attractions because the kids can interact with all sorts of farm animals like ponies, goats, sheep, pigs, bunnies, and more!

In the background of the picture below is a pretty barn where many of the farm animals are held.  In the foreground are memorial benches where individuals donated money to the park in memory of a loved one.  There are also memorial pavers in the ground.

But this zoo has a lot more than just farm animals, there are large and small animals as well.  Some of the animals are kept in cages, and some are behind attractive displays with large windows like this one.  Other animals have acres of land to roam such as buffalo, deer, elk, and zebras.

Tigers and bears were some of the animals kept in large displays like those above.

Below you can see some of the memorial pavers along with Alethea examining a statue of a pig.  I think she was more enamored with the pig statue than she was with the actual pigs.  ha ha!

 Smaller mammals and birds are kept in cages like these.

We were fortunate to see a volunteer interact with this beautiful Cockatoo.

But Irvine Park has so much more than just a zoo.  They have multiple playgrounds for all ages, a splash pad, a pool, picnic pavilions, a Christmas Village (seasonal),  trails, a rumbly bridge, a historic schoolhouse, a log cabin, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, a dam overlook, and a pristine river runs right through it all!

After we visited the zoo, it was time to let Alethea out of her stroller to play.  We took her to the toddler playground.  She loved the swing!

When these pictures were taken, Alethea was still learning how to use the slide.  Now she is a pro!  Here is grandpa trying to teach her how to slide.

 She seemed pretty excited about her first slide experience.

Another new experience for her was this old fashioned bouncing toy.  She really liked this one!

Grandpa thought she was getting too much sun on her face and shoulders, so he put his own sun hat on her.  Too cute!

But perhaps Alethea's favorite activity of all was wading in the river that runs the length of the park.

The rest of the photos are not my own, I got them off of the Pinterest board Irvine Park and Zoo.  I wanted to share with you everything else this amazing park has to offer.

The Christmas Village

Historic Schoolhouse
(Built in 1903)

Glen Lock Dam

The Rumbly Bridge
(Erected in 1907 and perhaps the only remaining metal truss in Wisconsin designed for an ornamental park bridge)

The Band Shell
(Designed in the 19th Century Romantic Tradition and erected in 1924 as a memorial for "Our Soldiers and Sailors".  Today it is used for weddings and concerts.)

Image Credit

We are so blessed to have such a beautiful park with so many things to do in our area.  We have visited this park many times in our lives, each time doing something different with every there is just so much to do!  It was such a special day for Grandma and Grandpa to introduce Alethea to this park for the very first time this summer.  I look forward to many more visits to Irvine Park with her in the years to come.

Have a Great Day!  Amy

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  1. This looks like all kinds of fun! For both adults and children! I can't believe it though - at a farmstay near us in South West Australia we have that SAME shetland pony - his name is FRED!!! Lol! #MLSTL (and thanks for commenting on Lifestyle Fifty earlier today x)

    1. The park is so fun! How funny about the pony! Thanks for visiting!

  2. was I not already following you on IG?!! Alethea has gotten so big...seems like it was really not that long ago you were showing off your daughters baby bump.

    1. I don't know, but now that I think of it, I'm not sure I've seen you on Instagram either, so I'll have to make sure to follow back. Yes, Alethea has grown so much! :( Babies grow up way too fast.

  3. Looks like you all had a fun day! My kids always loved the petting zoos and my 12 year old still does :-) I think Alethea will interact with the animals much more next time you visit.

  4. Alethea is darling! She looks like she is having the time of her life! This is such an amazing park! You are lucky to have it close by!

    1. Thank you! Yes, we are definitely fortunate to have such a nice park in such a small town.

  5. Such a beautiful petting zoo, you are such great grandparents taking that girl around! :) She is getting SO big!


    1. Thanks Carrie. It is so important to me to be a great grandparent to my grandchildren. Neither I nor my own children had that experience (my parents died when they were very young and my husband's parents are a whole other story) so I know first hand how hurtful that can be and I want to be sure my own grandchildren never have to feel that pain.

  6. Omg, the petting zoo! So cute + fun!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  7. I love this stay-cation. We sometimes forget that we have so many things in our hometown than traveling to see things :). You seem you have a great time . You look amazing


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