A Rattler’s guide to parks in Tallahassee

Man fishing at Lafayette Heritage Trail Park. Photo by Jalen Williams

With campuses reopening for the fall semester, and the closing of night clubs and bars due to COVID-19, college students are looking for new places to socialize, while also being mindful of the COVID-19 health precautions.

Although Tallahassee is known for being a ‘college town’ with an extensive nightlife, Tallahassee also has a variety of parks in the city, which makes the day life just as vibrant as the night.

Home to over 80 parks, Tallahassee’s history, culture and beauty can be found in every one. Some of the city’s popular parks include Tom Brown, Lafayette Heritage, Cascades and A.J. Henry to name a few. Each park contains its own unique attractions and amenities.

Expanding 300 plus acres, Tom Brown Park, is great for those who love athletics or looking for a fun playdate for the kids.

Tallahassee’s Tom Brown park is also the location of many events in the city, including the Fourth of July fireworks show. The park is located on Capital Circle between Apalachee and Mahan Drive. Dedicated in 1977 and named after popular Leon High School coach, the park includes a 21 hole for disc golf course, basketball courts, tennis courts, a playground area, a bike trail and animal services center, all on-site at the park.

Adjacent to Tom Brown, is Lafayette Heritage Trail Park. This park covers over 700 acres of land and is full of activities for its guests. Equipped with numerous picnic table areas, biking and walking trails, and fishing pier, the park was formed around wet prairie lands, which were inhibited by the indigenous people at the time.

In the early 1950s, two dams were built around the lake in Lafayette Park diving it into three parts; Piney Z. Lake, Upper Lafayette and Lower Lafayette. This park is notable for hiking, fishing and enjoying the beauty of nature.

London Camel, a second year Political Science major, enjoys Tallahassee’s parks in her free time. She is either working out and enjoying a walk on Lafayette’s trails, or she is using the park for an ideal photoshoot location.

“Since the pandemic I have been visiting more parks in my area,” Camel said, “It’s a therapeutic escape from reality at times.”

Another of Tallahassee’s popular parks located not far from FAMU’s campus is Cascades Park.

The fountain at Cascades Park. Photo by Jalen Williams

Cascades is popular among both FAMU and FSU students. Located downtown, Cascades has an interactive water fountain, where kids can safely enjoy the water, and is home to the Capital City Amphitheater, the stage that has seen both musical and theatrical performances. The park is also home to Edison, a restaurant located on the parkgrounds.

For the past two years, Cascades has been the location for FAMU’s Harambee Festival and is frequently visited by Rattlers. The park is a beautiful site to see after dark with the lights around the park and the multicolored lights that illuminate the overpass bridge.

LaVontay Brightwell, a journalism scholar from Atlanta, Georgia, says he enjoys the convenience Cascades provides.

“I usually go to Cascades because it’s the closest park to my house,” Brightwell said.

Brightwell enjoys rollerskating through Cascades sidewalk trails.“I enjoy skating at the park, mostly, or going for late night scooter rides with friends,” Brightwell answered, when asked what his favorite activities were to do at Cascades.

A visit to the local park can serve as a healthy break from the boredom of quarantining. Tallahassee’s parks offer various forms of activity and entertainment. For more information on all of Tallahassee’s parks visit https://www.talgov.com/parks/ParksHome.aspx.