What Does Downtown Offer Children on a Hot Summer Day?

Fountains and Crowds at the World’s Fair Park, Knoxville

Children and Downtown are two topics I hear people discuss frequently. People discuss school zones for downtown, child safety downtown, children’s activities at festivals and often whether events are family friendly or not (most downtown events are family friendly). But right now, it’s summer. The children aren’t attending school and there can’t be an event every single day, though sometimes it seems that way in the spring and summer. Though there is one at the YMCA, there is no public pool. What’s a child to do?

Children and Adults enjoy the Fountains on the World’s Fair Park

Fountains at the World’s Fair Park

Look no further than the World’s Fair Park. On many hot summer days you’ll find loads of children, families and some older people laughing, running and sunning on the north end of the park. There are likely Frisbees, hula hoops and soccer balls in the center of the field, but at the north end are two treasures that many people have discovered, while others have no idea they exist: massive fountains and a great playground.

Unspeakable Joy

The fountains shoot twenty or thirty feet or more into the air, so it can be intimidating to the smallest among us and they may want to stick to the smaller fountains on Market Square or in Krutch Park Extension. For the older children, however, it seems to be a blast that just keeps on thrilling and chilling. They run at each other, away from each other, in one side and out the other. They sit on the jets and put their feet over the jets, sometimes spraying passing adults as part of the fun, intended or not.

Playground at the World’s Fair Park, Knoxville

Instead of or between watery excursions, many children flock to the playground, which is a safety conscious, yet colorful hard plastic maze of tunnels and walls. If your child’s preference is to crawl over, under, around up or down, they’ve got him or her covered. As for that potentially nasty moment of touchdown from the slide or the inevitable spill from the monkey bars: no problem! The ground is covered with what appears to be recycled rubber which has enough sponginess to send the most fragile child scurrying for another climb or clamber with minimal tears. If you have children, you really should check it out on some lazy summer day.