Next up in our “Great Parks!” series, contributor Dawn Santucci tells us why her family loves visiting parks in the large Mill Creek subdivision west of Randall Road in Batavia and Geneva. In addition to a large community park, she also details why some of the smaller neighborhood parks in Mill Creek are worth a stop.
Name and details:
South Mill Creek Park, located at 39W474 West Main Street in Batavia, is on the south end of the Mill Creek neighborhood. Mill Creek is mostly in Geneva, but this park is part of the Batavia Park District. A rubbery safety surface was installed in 2014, and it has been promoted by the park district as offering “universal access” to those in wheelchairs and with other mobility challenges. You can read more here.
Q. Can you describe the playground? Anything special it offers?
This is a fairly large playground with a good variety of equipment. The two most unique elements at the park are an elevated sand table (which did not have much sand at my last visit; perhaps sand will be added once summer hits) and a sensory garden with some musical instruments. Since I have been to this park before I have seen the sensory garden in the summer, when it is full of beautiful shrubs and flowers that can be touched and smelled. There was not much to see in the garden during spring, but the kids still have fun with the instruments.
Q. What type of playground surface? Cushion, mulch, sand, etc?
Cushion surface, perfect for muddy days or clumsy kids!
Q. Is there a separate playground for toddlers?
Yes there is a separate toddler section, but honestly, even the equipment for bigger kids is decent for toddlers. Most of it is well walled-off with bars. At other parks I feel like I need to monitor my toddler closely if he is on the bigger kid equipment, here he can play pretty independently.
Q. Is there a paved trail or path good for walking or riding bikes and scooters?
Yes there is a very nice trail (¾ of a mile) with views of a prairie and small pond. The scenery at the park is nice. There are fitness stations for exercising along the trail.
Q. What was your child’s favorite part of the park? Least favorite?
When I asked my 7 year old her favorite part, and she said, “I don’t know. This whole park is great!” My 20-month-old son loves the full plastic swing and running up the ramps and coming down the big slide (over and over and over again). They do not have a least favorite part.
Q. What was your favorite part? Least favorite?
I really like that I can be fairly relaxed while my toddler plays. I also enjoy the scenery. The sensory garden in the summer is very nice. There is nothing I don’t like.
Q. Does it seem like a park that might be especially crowded at certain times of day?
I’ve been to this park quite a few times and never experienced too much of a crowd. Given its location and size it is probably a “flagship” park for the area so it will be more crowded than a hidden or smaller neighborhood park, but there is plenty of equipment and room to spread out.
Q. Are there public bathrooms?
Port-a-potty, two of them.
Q. Is there shade over the playground? Is there shade for a picnic?
This is not a playground with much shade, but there is a sheltered picnic area.
Q. Are there picnic tables?
There are picnic tables under a sheltered area. There are several benches scattered throughout, as well as a large retaining wall that many people use for seating.
Q. What ages to you feel this park is best for?
For the play equipment, probably ages 1-10. There is a basketball court as well as the walking trails which could appeal to tweens and teens.
Q. Can you describe your family’s experience a bit?
We visited on a beautiful and sunny spring day. Several families came and went while we were there with it always totaling about three or four families present at the same time. All of us enjoyed our visit. We will visit many times again.
Other Mill Creek Parks:
We do not live in Mill Creek, but we spend a lot of our park time at Mill Creek parks. South Mill Creek Park is one of two community parks; the other is Mill Creek Community Park on the north side of the subdivision.
The rest (and there are quite a few) are neighborhood parks. Every park at Mill Creek is nice, but there are a few that my kids like a lot and may be worth a visit if you live in the area. None of the neighborhood parks have a parking lot or port-a-potties, and they are of course smaller than a community park. But what is cool about the parks at Mill Creek is that they are all very different from one another and for the most part, all of them are peaceful and surrounded by nice scenery.
- On the south side of Mill Creek we like Levi-Newton Park (1S021 Newton Square in Geneva). This park has two decently large slides; it also has one of those things that you can stand/sit on and it spins and a big teeter-totter type thing that she really enjoys. My daughter calls this park “Pinecone Park” because every time we go she finds hundreds of pinecones and makes designs on the sidewalk with them.
- Preston Park (39W 291 Preston Circle in Geneva) is our other favorite park on the south end. The equipment at this park is colorful and unique and there is a big twisty slide. On the north end of the subdivision we like Washburn Park (39W235 Washburn Drive in Geneva). This park also has colorful and unique equipment.
- Two other parks on the north side are getting new equipment this year and I am guessing they will be very nice: Weaver Park and Terney Park, both part of the Geneva Park District.
- Hathaway Park (0S124 Herrington Drive in Geneva) has a large boat that my kids like to drive. The other community park that I mentioned above, Mill Creek Community Park (0N940 Prairie Clover Drive in Geneva) is also nice.