With so much of our lives being spent with faces buried in a screen of some kind and out of touch with the world that’s all around us in real time, it can sometimes be hard to see the forest for the trees—literally. It’s an unfortunate pattern—we go about our days without stopping to take in and appreciate the beauty of nature, dashing from place to place and swiping ourselves away from one mobile device to the next and practically forgetting to breathe. We’re stressed out and strung out—and one of the best ways to fix that isn’t downloading another app. It’s powering down the devices and getting away from the digital to find an escape in nature.
Even if you’re not really the type to get all hashtag happy about trees and the idea of camping makes you clutch your tablet to your chest in fear, finding a way to get outside in the fresh air and sunshine can actually be a walk in the park—and, thanks to Play Pensacola Parks and Recreation, parks can be found in abundance. Maintained and managed by Play Pensacola, more than 600 acres of park areas and outdoor spaces can be found all around the city, beautiful places to enjoy and be active. All it takes is a little stroll to discover that the city of Pensacola is a community rich with every type of scenery and activity, and each of them offer an enriching experience and a great way to connect—to yourself, to the environment, and to the people around you.
“It’s amazing to see the effects that having access to the city’s parks and its recreation programs can have on a community as a whole,” says Play Pensacola Director Brian Cooper. “From an environmental standpoint, it improves the quality of the air and the water and provides a habitat for wildlife. That, in and of itself, is extremely important; but it also has great impact on the crime rate and offers a safe, inviting place to run, play, and socialize,” he continues. “We live in an age where people are searching for ways to be healthier and more active and find relief from their stress, and our city’s parks and recreation programs provide that.”
In addition to all the outdoorsiness of the city parks, Play Pensacola manages 11 activity centers, two seasonal swimming pools, tennis centers, golf courses, playgrounds, sports fields, and basketball courts. There are no shortages of reasons to get out and play, and with more than 200 activities and programs crowding the city’s calendar, playtime can really be anytime…and for anyone. “Pensacola is unique in the fact that we have 93 parks, which is unusual for a city of our size,” Cooper notes. “Because of that, most of our citizens can enjoy living near a park that’s clean, safe, and beautiful.”
Young or old, we all need our time and place to play. We all need a way to socialize and learn about the people around us and the community we call home; and by getting out there and jumping in, you’re creating a connection in a network far more interesting and far more alive than the touch screen of your social media page.
For more information on recreational facilities, activities, events, and services available in the City of Pensacola, contact The City of Pensacola Parks and Recreation office at 222 West Main Street, Pensacola, Florida 32502 or call (850) 436-5670. To learn more online, visit www.playpensacola.com.