By Katie Moosbrugger

For those of us living anywhere between Winston-Salem and Kernersville, a trip to Burlington City Park makes a fantastic day trip for the kids. And for lots of you living in Greensboro, I wouldn’t necessarily call this a day trip, but would highly recommend this outing for a change of pace.

And so for my family and I in Winston-Salem, a change of pace was exactly what we needed last fall when we packed up the kids and drove out to Burlington City Park, located one mile from downtown Burlington on South Church Street. The drive was about one hour – and with our youngest still needing an afternoon nap – we timed our trip so that we would arrive in Burlington for an early lunch followed by a couple of hours at the park, and then back in the car close to the usual 1 pm snooze time. (And I apologize that I don’t have personal photos of us at this park, but last fall I didn’t realize I’d be blogging about this eight months later!)

Just so you know, City Park offers more than 75 acres of activities for the whole family! At the center of the park is an amusement park that features a fully restored carousel, built by the Dentzel Carousel Company, with 46 hand-carved animals, three to a row. There are only 14 Dentzel Menagerie Carousels remaining intact in the world. The Dentzel carvers were famous for their realism and attention to detail, which is evident by the facial expressions and muscle definition. The horses have real horse-hair tails and all the animals have shiny, round glass eyes. No two animals are alike.

There are other attractions too, such as a train ride, and rides with planes, cars, tractors and boats. We were so excited to get to the park and jump on the rides, but it being Sunday, we actually got there a little too early (the park doesn’t open until 1 pm on Sundays). At first we were like, “Uh oh, what do we do now,” but then saw a great playground area at the park which turned out to be a perfect diversion until the rides opened.

And the kids just LOVED the rides. At the time of our visit our youngest was 1 ½ and was able to go on most of the rides. I also remember the park having a yummy snack bar where we stocked up on candy, popcorn and old-fashioned cotton candy.

Other amenities of the park include five athletic fields, a walking track, 12 lighted tennis courts, a year-round aquatics facility, Thataways Youth Center (a state-of-the-art youth center), three enclosed shelters with grills, two open air shelters with grills, picnic tables, a peaceful stream which winds its way through the park, and a greenway. To reserve an open picnic shelter or enclosed building on the park, call (336) 222-5030.

During the summer, City Park is closed on Mondays, but is open from 10am to 1pm and from  pm to 8pm Tuesday –  Friday. On Saturday it is open from 10 am to 8 pm; and on Sunday it opens at 1pm and stays open until 8pm. Please check the website here for the schedule during fall and spring.

There is a cost for the amusement rides, but it’s minimal. You can see all the details here.

According to the park’s web site, the Burlington Carousel Festival, held each September in the park, features live music, crafts and food, and boasts crowds of more then 50,000. Throughout the spring and summer the park comes alive with an Easter egg hunt, a concert series, and baseball and softball tournaments. Don’t miss the July 3rd in the Park celebration!

The park also hosts birthday parties at its Dutch Barn Gazebo or the Betsey Brown Chandler Memorial Gazebo. Party packages include two hours of amusement rides, a balloon centerpiece and a choice of popcorn or cotton candy per child. For party reservations, call 336-222-5030.

As you can see, this park packs a lot in! You will definitely be entertained whether you go during the week or for one of its events this summer. And if you’ve been, please tell us about your experience also!