605 Outdoor Wonders: McKennan Park
By Anna Stritecky
McKennan Park is up next on the list of outdoor destinations in South Dakota.
This park was not always one of Sioux Falls’ most pristine pieces of land, but instead a prairie that stretched over a good portion of was once Sioux Falls City. From there, Sioux Falls City was in need for their first park. In the late 1890’s, many citizens and newspapers were calling for somewhere where the city was able to congregate and have a shared space. That is when the landowner of the “prairie,” Artemus Gale, named his piece of land after his sister, Helen McKennan, who turned it into a park. Since then, McKennan Park has been one of Sioux Falls’ most popular destinations.
McKennan is equipped with eight full size tennis courts, where the city hosts weekly tennis lessons, tournaments, and free play. The park also has a basketball court open to the public, along with various other picnic shelters that are free to use, as well. McKennan Park prides itself on being kid friendly, as it has one of the only solely kiddie-pools in Sioux Falls. This section of the area is blocked off for one 1-foot-pool and another little deeper pool. This allows families with younger children to enjoy themselves at a smaller area, all while being close to the two playgrounds it offers and the frequent “storybook company” that performs plays during the weekdays for the children in the park’s band shell.
For my experience, it was a little more relaxed than running around after children. I choose to go on a night when they had live music playing, free of charge for the city. After that, I sat down in their open field area to enjoy the company of some friends. Looking across the street from the park at some of Sioux Falls’ most beautiful and historic houses, I realized that no matter how high or low maintenance I was looking for my day to be, I could always count on McKennan Park to deliver what I was looking for.