For those looking for a little adventure, a place to take your family to get out of the house for a while, or even just a quiet walk in nature, the Wicomico River has just what you are looking for. Learn about the history of the Wicomico or go for a run at Pemberton Historical Park, play disc golf at Schumaker park, catch a summer concert at Salisbury City Park, take a wild ride down some of Salisbury's mountain bike trails, or get to see exotic animals at the Salisbury Zoo! Listed below are eight city or county parks that are along the Wicomico River, and descriptions of the activities or programs that are offered there. To see more Wicomico County Parks, visit http://www.wicomicorecandparks.org/parks-and-facilities.
Western side of City Park on a sunny spring day. Photo from Josh Rawlings.
Salisbury City Park Originally the site of a massive lake that covered most of Downtown, Salisbury City park and Zoological Park arose from the muck of this former lake after the dam burst in 1909. The site is now home to walking trails along the river, summer concerts on the bandstand, and tennis courts, as well as arguably the best playground in Salisbury, built by thousands of volunteers during the course of a week after high school students raised money for its construction in memory of a young boy who passed away from Leukemia (source). A good portion of the shoreline in Salisbury City Park was part of a project started in 2007 that implemented a living shoreline, which was part of a partnership between the city of Salisbury and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. You can also do some fishing here as well. Another little known section of the Salisbury City Park is a triangle shaped piece of land that follows from Salisbury Zoo to the Ward Museum following the river, which features awesome mountain bike trails. Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk. Directions:Google Maps
Leonards Mill Park Playground and softball fields in background, view from Wicomico County Recreation office parking lot. Photo from Josh Rawlings
Leonards Mill Park Located just north of the shopping center on Rt. 13, this park features a boat ramp, playground, fishing, hiking and walking trails, softball fields, horseshoes, and even geocaching! It is also the host of the Wicomico County Welcome Center, where you can find further information on things to do around the river's watershed and beyond. Hours: Open from dawn to dusk daily. Directions:Google Maps (park can be accessed either through the entrance on Leonard's Mill Pond Road or through the Wicomico Co. Welcome Center parking lot)
One of the several entrances to Schumaker Park, with Pavilion and Schumaker Pond in background. Photo from Josh Rawlings.
Schumaker Pond Park Schumaker Park is home to an eighteen hole disc golf course that is frequented by both recreational players as well as more seasoned and traveled players. This park also has pavilions and picnic areas complete with charcoal grill, restrooms, a dock as well as plenty of clear shoreline to fishoff of, geocaching, a playground, and a paddlecraft put-in. Hours: Open from dawn to dusk daily. Directions:Google Maps
Sign at entrance to Henry S.Parker Athletic Complex, softball/baseball field in background. Photo from Josh Rawlings.
Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex This park is frequently a-buzz with activity, whether it be any of various levels of softball, kickball or baseball teams having practice or games on the four baseball diamonds or a lacrosse or soccer match going on on the other extensive fields. If you follow the main road from the entrance into the park to its end, on the left you will notice the beginning of the park's extensive mountain bike trails that have various levels of difficulty and terrain (although they are poorly marked). Also, if you're feeling adventurous, you can bushwack through the woods to Leonards Mill Pond Park, just follow the water, because there is no marked trail. At forty one acres, this park has a lot of other things to offer as well, including a playground for children, walking and hiking trails for those looking to explore or get some new scenery; and concessions, restrooms, and picnic tables for those looking to satisfy any of those natural needs while spectating, playing, or exploring. Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk; hours also vary according to athletic events. Contact: Louis Richardson, Athletic Complex Manager for league and event information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-548-4900, ext. 105. Directions:Google Maps
Pemberton Park Entrance.
Photo from Josh Rawlings
Pemberton Historical Park There is long history between this land and the Wicomico River. In 1963 and in 1987 Pemberton Hall as well as the park were saved from development and destruction by Polly Burnett, who organized the Pemberton Hall Foundation (source). Over the past several decades there have been many restoration projects started and completed, and now the park functions as both an historical as well as functional piece of property. There are restored structures from days gone by as well as over five miles of hiking and walking trails throughout the 262 acre property that open onto raised wooden walkways and lookout stations. Fishing is allowed in the freshwater ponds and along the riverbanks on a catch and release basis, and geocaching is also offered here. Nature and environmental education programs are given by Park Naturalists and Rangers, and during the summer there are exciting summer camp opportunities for youth patrons that get up close-and-personal with the river and its inhabitants. Website:http://www.pembertonpark.org/ Hours: Open from sunup to sundown daily. Directions:Google Maps
View of Eastern entrance to Zoo on South Park Drive. Photo from Josh Rawlings
Salisbury Zoological Park Salisbury's own zoo has animals from throughout the world as well as from right here on Delmarva! They have tropical and domestic birds, many types of animals from South America, including bears, monkeys, ocelots, and even a llama or two. The park offers guided tours, educational experiences and stage presentations. A schedule for these events and more can be found on the website listed below. Website:http://www.salisburyzoo.org/ Hours: Open 9:30am -4pm daily, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day Directions:Google Maps
Entrance to Billy Gene Jackson Sr. Park from Jersey Ave. Photo from Josh Rawlings
Billy Gene Jackson Sr. Park (North Lake Park) This facility hosts a softball field, playground, basketball and tennis courts, and a paddlecraft put-in as well as having walking trails down to a small beach and fishing pier on Johnson Pond.TheJohnson Pond Paddle Trailruns right past this pier. The Salvation Army Richard Hazel Youth Center is also right next to the park and offers a variety of youth programs throughout the year in conjunction with other county and city organizations. Contact the Center directly to inquire about current or future programs being offered. Hours: Open from dawn to dusk daily with lighted softball fields and basketball courts that are used for evening games and leagues during the summer. Contact (Richard Hazel Youth Club): 410-546-7766 Directions:Google Maps
Ward Museum Building from Beaglin Park Rd. Photo from Josh Rawlings.
Ward Museum of Waterfowl Art Located right off of East College Avenue on Schumaker Pond is Salisbury's own collection of waterfowl artwork and decoys, an Eastern Shore tradition. The museum features historical exhibits as well as contemporary pieces that are stunningly realistic and intricately detailed. The exterior of the museum also features sculptures and installations as well as a walking path along the shore of Schumaker Pond, where one is likely to see local waterfowl and other animals. The Ward Museum also offers education opportunities for educators, school groups, and artists of all ages. Times and class offerings can be found on their website below. Website:http://www.wardmuseum.org/ Hours: Mon.- Sat.: 10 am-5pm, Sun. 12pm-5pm. Closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Closes at 3 pm New Year's Eve and Christmas Eve. Directions:Google Maps