One of my favorite things to do in Cheviot Hills is to take a walk to and around Rancho Park and the Cheviot Hills Recreation Center. Right in the middle of our enormous city exists an utopian playground that, to me, really has it all. On the weekends, this park is the spinal cord of our family as well as hundreds of families from all over the city. Soccer games, lacrosse, flag football, basketball and baseball games are being played at every corner and upon surface. In the middle of all the athletic activities, there is petanque, archery (slight pause on that until the new court is finished), dog training, dog agility and just dogs being dogs darting in and around all the spectators and Frisbee-throwers. I particularly like bringing my dog up to Rancho Park to let him play with his other dog friends. One of my sons took his first steps around the slides and swings and sandy area in which the younger set play. Another of my sons used to like to put on make-shift plays at the stage located at the bottom of the grassy, hilly slope. All three of my boys were taught how to ride bikes at this park as falling on grass is so much preferable to the harsh sidewalk concrete. Now the boys zoom all around the park on their bikes like old pros. There are dozens of tennis courts (one of my boys is taking lessons there), a recreational center that offers a wide array of classes, there is even a popular, co-op preschool nestled within the park that has been there forever. Whenever we hear the bell of the ice cream cart (or twangy tune from the truck), kids start running from every direction begging their parents for a morning or mid-afternoon treat. Ice cream is always a hit, of course, but our boys are actually bigger fans of the fruit vendors. Their go-to is: less jicama, extra mango, no chili powder but definitely a splash of lime.
In addition to always running into families we know, sometimes the best part of a Saturday at Rancho Park is just hanging out and watching the Little Leaguers play their hearts out on the baseball diamonds. Our family has been part of the Cheviot Hills Pony League for years and it’s really served as the backdrop for watching our boys grow up.
One more special aspect of this fabulous park is likely just important to my family but definitely something I’m proud of: the bench that sits in a sunny spot near the brick Cheviot Hills Recreation Center building. It commemorates my wife’s grandmother and the 65 years she lived in Cheviot Hills, just a few blocks away from the park on Glenbarr Avenue. It’s nice to spend time at this park and have the chance to think of her, too.