Bluebird Park and the Tortoise and the Hare

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In a place that is world famous for its jagged coastlines that overlook turquoise coves, spending a day at the park might seem like the short end of the nature-stick. However, getting to connect with nature and feeling your feet amongst the dewy grass can be more enlivening than you might imagine. And, if you’ve got little tots, it can be a much more preferable option than the beach (with a lot less sunscreen).

Bluebird Park is located at Cress Street and Bluebird Canyon Drive. Its playground is a local favorite, particularly because of its proximity to Laguna’s preschool and elementary school. Fondly dubbed “Rocket Ship Park” for its large rocket ship structure, it features a variety of climbing equipment, slides built into a hillside, ample shade, and swings. For the adults, there are public restrooms, picnic tables, BBQs, and street parking. (There’s also a tennis court located a block east on Bluebird Canyon Drive, above the water reservoir.)

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Known for more than its beauty and ample amenities, Bluebird Park is famous for being the home of one of Laguna’s must-see art sculptures. The gorgeous, giant mosaic turtle’s only competition in town being the 16-foot breaching whale in Heisler Park (though the two remain friendly). Inspired by Aesop's fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, this colorful fixture is unforgettable, a bright and inviting touch of whimsy that children can climb, letting their vivid imaginations run wild as to why and how this magnificent creature found its way to Bluebird Park.

The nine-foot-long tortoise was installed in 2003 and weighs almost two tons. Embedded with ceramics, cast and blown glass, it was designed by local sawdust and mixed media artist, Michele Taylor.

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Here are some ideas to make the most out of your day at Bluebird Park:

Fire up the barbie and have an Aesop’s fables-themed party. Dress up like characters from the classic tale and then perform a reenactment!

Ditch the beach on Fourth of July and snag a seat with a blanket (and a cooler full of popsicles) to watch the fireworks.

Pick up lunch at the farmer’s market or any of your favorite restaurants nearby and head to Bluebird to picnic and chase clouds all afternoon.

On Sunday evenings in the summer, sip on your favorite beverages to enjoy live music with the little one or on date night.

No matter what brings you to Bluebird Park — maybe it’s rocket ships, maybe it’s that dewy grass — it’s guaranteed there’ll be a little something for everyone… whether you’re a tortoise or a hare.

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A habitual walker and ponderer, Courtney Prather is always looking for the best urban trails with a culinary reward at the end. Follow her on Insta to find her latest bites and blurbs at @courtpanther.

Photos by: Grant Puckett.