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Monday, August 27, 2012

Mendon Ponds Park

Mendon Ponds Park is one of those places you can go back to and visit a different spot each time. There are hiking trails, recreational areas, ponds, wetlands, playgrounds, as well as special features such as Sharon's Sensory Garden and Wild Wings. Mendon Ponds Park has glacial features that make it a Natural Historic Landmark.

The park is approximately 10 miles southeast of Rochester, located south of the NYS Thruway I-90 in the Towns of Pittsford and Mendon. It is bordered by Clover Street on the west and Pittsford-Mendon Center Road on the east. Click these links for directions or a park map.

During our last visit, we used the Canfield Road entrance from Clover Street, turned right on Douglas Road, and followed the sign for beach area parking, on the right side. First we had to try out everything at the playground. My boys love the train and they will sit on it for the majority of our visit, each time. The train does not actually move, but they have fun pretending to be the engineer and driving to different locations. We stop at the Grand Canyon, New Jersey, and California. How's that for living large?!

The playground has smaller structures with slides and tunnels...
...as well as a larger structure with plenty to climb on and slide down. There are also swings (baby swings and regular swings), picnic tables, and restrooms. This area is stroller friendly, but the restrooms do not include baby changing tables.
After the playground, we walked to the pond to collect rocks. That's the Hundred Acre Pond in the background.
When we were finished in the beach area, we hopped back in the car to continue down Douglas Road, and kept to the right onto Pond Road until we reached the Nature Center, on the left. Sometimes you can see horses in the training area, adjacent to the parking lot. However, the horses were not out during our last visit. So we walked past the restrooms and Cottage Store, and into Sharon's Sensory Garden.
This garden is designed for people with visual or physical disabilities, and has features that highlight all of the senses. The plant labels are even in Braille. There are whimsical bells that jingle in the wind, or when a two-year-old is nearby.
There are wooden chimes that can become a symphony in the hands of a five-year-old.
The waterfall was not working during our visit, but the boys usually like to watch it and try to touch the water. Oh well.
When we exited the garden, they wanted to go exploring. There is a great path nearby through the woods that is fairly level (no climbing required) and goes in a big square, so you really can't get lost. Plus there are a few small shelters along the trail with interactive exhibits, designed to teach about the soil, animals, and plants found in the area. The exhibits have not been maintained well, but my kids still like to explore them.
The sensory garden is stroller-friendly, but the walking trail is not. While the path is level, there are still the obstacles of tree roots and rocks that would make it difficult to push a stroller. While there are restrooms by the Cottage Store, they do not offer baby changing tables.

Behind the Cottage Store and Sharon's Sensory Garden, you'll find Wild Wings, a not-for-profit educational organization that houses and cares for permanently injured birds of prey. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day except Wednesday and Thursday. We didn't have time to stop by, but right now you can visit 21 birds of prey and a bobcat named Tara.

These are just a few highlights within Mendon Ponds Park; there are so many more. In the summer you can hike a trail, utilize their boat launch, or go fishing. In the winter you can go sledding, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing. There is even a Mendon Ponds Winterfest in January.

If you haven't already visited, pack up a lunch, print out the map, and go explore. Be sure to Post A Comment and let us know about your experience. As always, thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. I apologize to anyone who viewed this blog post earlier this morning (Monday, August 27). I had some technical difficulties and it seemed this had been posted with just the photos, before I added in the text. Everything seems to be resolved now; thank you for your patience and understanding. :)


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