It’s summertime and the skateboarding aficionado at your house is tired of trolling up and down the street. What to do? Here’s a short list of several free skateboarding sites in the Austin area that are kid (and adult) friendly.
This neighborhood park in the heart of Cherrywood near Maplewood Elementary features a concrete mini-ramp, a structure that looks like an elongated “u.” Skateboarders start at the top of either side of the “u” and drop in to ride back and forth. Seth Johnson of Ideal Skateparks, a group dedicated to building the best public skate parks possible, designed the mini-ramp and a group of volunteers completed construction. The area is also open to bikes.
Located near Interstate 35 and Woodward, this 50-acre park was Austin’s very first skatepark. The site was originally a landfill; the City of Austin bought the property in 1974 and closed the park in 2000 for a remediation project to address site contamination. When it reopened in 2005, Mabel Davis Park contained a skatebowl (an area that looks like an empty swimming pool), streetscape elements (all those cool urban features that attract skateboarders to city plazas, such as ramps and rails), and grass seating for spectators. According to reviews, this park is geared toward more advanced riders. Like Patterson Park, the skatepark is located within a larger City of Austin park full of amenities (there’s a 50-meter lap pool and even a fishing pier).
Just south of House Park stadium, this 30,000-square foot park was created on the site of the old Austin Rec Center and designed to give an “urban plaza” feel. It’s so state-of-the-art that ESPN covered its opening in June of 2011. The elements in this concrete park are designed for all abilities, making Austin BMX & Skate Park a great location for new as well as experienced riders. Some of the features are a skatebowl, a concrete hump, ramps, rails, several concrete pyramids, and a half-pipe.
A great resource for the sport is the Austin Skateboarding Club (austinskateboardingclub.com), which has monthly rallies and offers all sorts of lessons, classes, events—they do birthday parties!—gear, and camps. There are half-day summer skateboarding camps throughout the months of June and July, which might be a great way to keep your skateboarder fully stoked over the summer.
Did you know there’s a national event called Go Skateboarding Day? Every year on June 21, skateboarders around the globe celebrate the pure exhilaration, creativity, and spirit of this cool sport by blowing off all their other obligations to go skateboarding. In 2011, there were over 600 events held worldwide. No-Comply Skate Shop (812 W. 12th Street) promoted an Austin celebration and will be doing the same again this year. Current plans involve meeting at the Austin BMX & Skate Park, riding around downtown, and ending with a dip in Barton Springs. Check out their website (nocomplyatx.com) for the latest information on Go Skateboarding Day activities.