Kids can exercise their minds and bodies in 'story walk' at Cedar Rapids park

Half-mile hike takes them through a children's book in Cherry Hill Park

Children surround one page of the #x201c;story walk#x201d; at Cherry Hill Park in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, July 9, 2019.
Children surround one page of the “story walk” at Cherry Hill Park in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. The half-mile tells a story by local author Charlotte Gunnufson’s “Prince and Pirate” over 20 signs. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids’ first “story walk” — a children’s tale spread over a half-mile hike — opened in Cherry Hill Park on Tuesday.

Local author Charlotte Gunnufson’s “Prince and Pirate” is the inaugural story for the walk. Its pages are spread among 20 signposts between the park playground and an exercise station.

Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation staff heard about similar story trails throughout the country, said Director Scott Hock, and were inspired to create their own.

“We thought it was a really neat idea and a way to activate some trails with younger walkers,” Hock said. “We get a lot of walkers on our trails, but not necessarily kids out walking. Plus, it’s summertime, and we’re always making sure we push summer reading.”

The story walk is ADA-accessible and will be available through the end of the year. It will relocate once construction on a walking trail is complete, Hock said.

The stories also will swap out every two months from May to September.

“So next time you come to Cherry Hill Park, you might have a different experience and come read a different story,” Hock said.

Funding for the project was provided by Alliant Energy and Healthy Hometown grants, according to a city news release, as well as the City of Cedar Rapids and the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

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