Opened in October 2022, Lakeland’s beautiful 168-acre Bonnet Springs Park is described as an ‘urban oasis,’ the perfect green sanctuary for people of all ages. There are plenty of activities for kids, including a variety of multilevel playgrounds and climbable trees, but Bonnet Springs is also a great place for adults to enjoy a nice day outside.
Upon entering the park, you’ll be impressed with its aesthetic and cleanliness, as visitors can still smell the fresh paint and feel the ‘newness’ of everything offered. Even the Givewell Community Foundation Science Center, boasting with exhibits and fun facts about Florida’s ecosystem, houses an incubator where cocoons are still growing future residents of Zoey’s Butterfly House.
Begin at the visitor center and venture upstairs to the Watson Clinic Gallery and Museum to learn the history of the area and the pioneering public/private partnership that made Bonnet Springs Park a reality. Once you’ve visited the gift shop, complete with branded apparel, you can enjoy a caffeinated beverage in the quaint, cozy coffee shop serving signature Starbucks beverages.
Once outside, you can exercise your way through the park, by walking, running or cycling through the plethora of paved pathways, stopping at the two stationary exercise stations to enhance your workout. Or, for a more leisurely experience, jump aboard the free electric cart that whisks visitors along a 1.8-mile path, stopping at key must-sees along the way.
Covered picnic areas and shaded benches allow park-goers to relax, eat and socialize with friends and family. There are even grass-covered ‘mountains’ that allow you to ‘hike’ along concrete pathways, to the top, for a great view. For a change in scenery, you can walk along the Lagoon Boardwalk or the elevated Crenshaw Canopy Walk set among the trees.
End the day by watching the sunset over the Western horizon while enjoying a draft beer and some tasty chicken wings, and maybe an ice cream cone, from the Depot Café’s rooftop, garden and bar.
Visit Bonnet Springs Park at 400 Bonnet Springs Blvd. in Lakeland. For more information, visit the park’s equally impressive and informative website at https://bonnetspringspark.com/.