Hundreds turn out for second Kids to Parks Day

Saturday was a great day to be outdoors.

Hundreds of Marshalltown citizens poured into Riverview Park Saturday for the second annual Kids to Parks Day.

Marshalltown Parks and Recreation sponsored the fun-filled outdoor activity again as a way to promote the use of Marshalltown’s 11 public parks.

Todd Stanley, of Marshalltown, said the day certainly got him thinking about what the park has to offer. Stanley brought his three children to Riverview Park for Kids to Parks Day.

“It gets people out, doing something,” he said.

His kids were particularly excited about the face painting, Stanley said. The day is a worthy use of tax dollars, he added.

Ethan Haughey, of Marshalltown, said his 5-year-old daughter and his coworker’s 9-year-old daughter, who he brought to Kids to Parks Day, were also looking forward to the face painting, but he was holding off on allowing them to have it done until later in the day.

The Kingdom Klowns face painting and balloon animal station was a popular attraction. The line stretched nearly 75 people deep as eager children waited to for the clowns to twist balloons into various fun shapes and decorate their faces like princesses and animals alike.

Haughey said he liked that many of the games were active but still made the kids think. He said he wishes they had something like Kids to Parks Day when he was young.

And activities were plentiful. Children spun hula hoops around their torsos, flung flying discs into disc golf baskets, bounced basketballs off rims and sent tennis balls soaring into the court’s chain link fence.

Other, more relaxed attractions were also available. Marshalltown Police Department Officer Eric Siemens showed off his new partner K-9 Raji from the comfort of the shade. A story walk provided park goers with a more casual way to enjoy the park by following a narrative in segments posted on signs along the walking path.

Cristina Mancillaz, of Marshalltown, remarked on how clean the park looked. Mancillaz brought her 7-year-old twins and her 9-year-old daughter to the park, saying they relished the opportunity to socialize with other kids.

“They are excited because it was winter, and now its summer,” she said. “They are looking forward to making some friends.”

Des Moines chainsaw artist Gary Keenan had his completed Three Little Pigs carving on display, and he worked on another carving of a bench shaped like a pig.

Mancillaz said she planned to attend Kids to Parks Day next year.

The day had something for every kid, she added.