Travel & Culture

Van Saun Park- Something for Everyone

Nothing is better for you than spending some good old quality time with mother nature. In a time where technology is starting to take over every aspect of our lives, it is harder to find a nice wholesome place to have fun outdoors where you and the whole family can have a good time. Luckily for New Jersey residents, you don’t have to look any further! There is a hidden gem right in your backyard.

The Van Saun county park opened in 1960 in Paramus New Jersey and has been a local favorite with great reviews and hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It’s the perfect destination for families and even allows you to rent space and pavilions for private events. With a great location and countless attractions, there is something for everyone to do. Only a few attractions require a small fee, and residents even get discounts on these. What exactly does this park feature though?

As soon as you walk through the park entrance, you are greeted by the first of three trains that are located throughout the park. These small trains are charming, reminiscent of old cartoons or toys. These not just for decoration; you can actually ride these trains throughout various locations of the park, and everyone loves it! They are normally running during all big park events as well. They even dress up for holiday events, such as Halloween! I knew if the cheerful faces on the fellow passengers were any indication of how the rest of my visit would be, I was in for quite a treat today. I hadn’t even seen the sites other attractions yet, and I would not be disappointed.

The next been thing I ran into was the parks zoo animals. They had a great collection of both local and exotic animals. There were horses, cows and some bobcats were just some of the more familiar animals. In terms of exotic, there were tortoises, kookaburras, and tamarins -just to name a few. It was a very informative venture and I would highly recommend to people of all ages! There was definitely something for everywhere and a good selection of birds, mammals, and reptiles -perfect for all of the little aspiring zoologists and farmers out there! If you happen to visit during the holiday season, you may be in for an extra treat. Every October, the park hosts “Zoo Boo” and has several Halloween events -from ghost stories to trick-or-treating. In December, you may even be lucky enough to watch Santa open up some presents with the animals.

The animal-themed fun doesn’t end there though! Van Suan Park has its own pony ride exhibit where children get to ride a real-life pony while a parking attendant leads them! The park also has one remaining carousel.  That way even those who are a little too old for pony rides (or those who are a tiny bit anxious about riding live animals) can still partake in the equestrian fun!

The fun doesn’t even begin to end there, though. One of the parks biggest attractions is its large and expansive collection of playgrounds and jungle gyms. Located all around the park there is pretty much everything you can think of. There are things to climb up, slide down, ride, or just run around! These parks are gorgeous and have very cute designs with animal themes in mind with fake pine trees or animal mounts. There is even a marsh-themed park where you can play around in the water. The most notable part of all is that portions of the park are even designed to be handicap assessable because, as I said, this park really does have something for everyone!

While a majority of what I’ve talked about may appeal to the younger audiences, make no mistake that this park has several attractions that are targeted at more mature visitors looking for a nice outdoor retreat.

There are lots of options for the athletes out there. Maybe you can come with a few friends and play some soccer at the park’s soccer field. Maybe you and your teammates can practice some tennis on one of the park’s courts. For those of you that want to play around with their furry friend, take your pup out to the dog run where he can socialize with other canines and get that much-needed exercise.

Van Saun Park also features a few gardens where you can take a peaceful stroll and become one with nature. Whether you are enjoying the beautiful weather, the blooming flowers, or the changing seasons -these areas are always beautiful and a pleasant trip. Be sure you don’t skip the large Walden pond at the end of the park. You can do some bird watching, read a good book, enjoy a picnic, or even just take one epic photo -the possibilities are truly endless.

These were just the highlights of the park and there are just some things you have to go and experience for yourself to truly appreciate. I would highly recommend everyone, residents especially, to take the chance to experience nature and take a break from the busy technology, dependent society. You deserve it. 

Photo Caption – A stunning view of the Fall Season

Brittni Devlin

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