Even though the summer is nearing an end, there is still plenty of weekend fun to be had Steele Creek Park in Bristol.
"Steele Creek is something special to everyone," said Bristol Recreation Superintendent Mike Musck. "You could probably ask 100 people and you would get a hundred different answers."
The third largest municipal park in the state of Tennessee features 2,200 acres and offers something for every member of the family.
"Steele Creek is a lot of things to a lot of different people," Musick said "To some people, Steele Creek park is family picnics."
The park offers multiple sceneries in which to enjoy lunch - be it a single family sitting on one of the many picnic tables or a family reunion utilizing one of the larger shelters. The park offers different shelters that range in size and are available for rent.
"Some folks will tell you that Steele Creek Park is playgrounds," Musick said.
The park has two different playgrounds for children to enjoy.
Kids of all ages get a kick out of the most popular activity at the park - the Steele Creek Express, which boasts more than 18,000 riders per year. The 24-gauge train dates back to the park's opening in 1964. The train and track were completely renovated in 2007-2008 and, for just $1, visitors can enjoy a ride on the train which operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
It's a treasure that grandparents bring their children and grandchildren to enjoy, while also recalling riding the train when they were children.
"We really do have something for everyone and the Express is something that takes some of the grandparents back to when they were kids," Musick said.
While the train might be the most popular, the most informative place to visit at the park is the indoor nature center. It features live animal exhibits, along with mounted displays.
"All of the things that you will find in the nature center are things that you will find in the wilderness within Steele Creek Park," Musick said. "Our nature center staff does a great job of teaching people about the wildlife in our park and making learning fun."
Another thing to enjoy at the park is a nine-hole disc golf course. Or, if you are more a fan of traditional golf, Steele Creek Park also offers a nine-hole golf course.
"It's one of the neat things, with people as busy as they are today, they may not have time to play an entire 18 holes of golf," Musick said. "You can come out here and get nine holes in on a very well-kept, player-friendly course."
You will find people of all ages, from beginners to novice, enjoying the holes at the park. If you need to practice your golf swing, there is also a lighted driving range at the park.
Another popular attraction at the park are the many walking, hiking and biking trails. The half-mile paved trail leading from Dogwood Circle follows Steele Creek and the Mill Creek to the Mill Creek Parking Area. There is also a two-mile gravel Lakeside Trail that follows the edge of the lake past the dam, leading to Rooster Front Park.
There are over 24 miles of trails that make up the knob trail system. These 20 trails range in difficulty from moderate to difficult. The trails span the park from end-to-end.
"Whether you're taking a walk, a bike or a run along the lakeside trail or you're hiking up in the knobs of Steele Creek Park, there are lots of trails and lots of places to get out and walk to enjoy nature," Musick said.
The park just celebrated its 50th anniversary in June with multiple events that celebrated the park's half century.
"The community came out and enjoyed the park and it was a fun family weekend," Musick said.
Despite the end of summer, the park will still be offering programs for families to enjoy.
On Sept. 14, the Knights of the Columbus will be hosting their annual fishing rodeo at Steele Creek Park. Kids and parents are welcome to come out for a free day of fishing. The event begins with registration at 7:30 a.m. at Steele Creek Park, and includes a hot dog lunch following the competition. There is no admission charge, but all children must be accompanied by an adult or guardian over age 18. Bait will be provided, but anglers need to bring their own pole.
For additional information or directions, please visit Bristoltn.org and find the Steele Creek Park link.