Hop on over to a park

Published 10:41 pm Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Suffolk residents and visitors who discover the city’s parks this summer could discover a prize just for tracking their visits and posting them on social media.

The first Suffolk Park Hop will kick off June 18 and close Sept. 10, bookended by events at Lake Meade Park. But the main event lasts all summer long.

“It’s to encourage people and families of all ages to learn about Suffolk’s parks,” said Deborah Nadell, Suffolk on the Move coordinator.

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Visitors to five parks in Suffolk can look for the Suffolk Park Hop sign, featuring a bug-eyed, green tree frog, and write down the clue found on the sign in their passport, which is available at the parks and other locations. Those who collect all five clues will be entered into a drawing for prizes.

“It’s interactive and educational,” said Mia Byrd, programs and operations manager for Healthy Suffolk, formerly the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community.

Additional prizes are available for those who tag their visits on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #SuffolkParkHop.

“We’re trying to get people getting out and visiting the parks,” said Daniel Harrell, communications and outreach manager for Healthy Suffolk.

Nadell said the event is funded by the Obici Healthcare Foundation and supported by the venues, Suffolk Parks and Recreation and the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

The clue sign will be located in a conspicuous place at each of the five participating sites — Lake Meade, Bennett’s Creek, Lone Star Lakes and Sleepy Hole parks and the Great Dismal Swamp Washington Ditch boardwalk. Passports can be picked up on the clue signs as well as at local businesses and restaurants.

The kickoff event on June 18 will take place at Lake Meade Park from 10 a.m. to noon. It will include games, prizes and activities for all ages, healthy food trucks, music and more.

A similar event is planned for the same time and place on Sept. 10.

“We’re going to make this an annual park hop,” Harrell said.

For more information on the program, call 539-1525 or email info@suffolkpartnership.org.