Walkin’ in Wausau – Oak Island Park

This is my first post in a series I’m calling Walkin’ in Wausau. I’m going to feature places I take my kids to burn energy (biking, walking, or playing) when our small yard becomes boring and I just want them To. Stay. OUTside!

When you have children, your perspective of what to do in your town changes and it can feel overwhelming. When you have four kids, ages  9 to 2, you look for things to do that are cheap (free), can go at any time of the day, and mostly every one will enjoy.

I want my kids to be active outdoors, learn to enjoy nature (ahem, gently force 😉), get away from their screens, explore, get dirty, and find the beauty in outdoor spaces.

Some days we will spend hours and other days it’s a quick outing. Which leads me to forewarn you/make things easier for you/bring awareness — With young kids, they will get tired out quicker than adults, they can get overheated quickly on warm days, are usually hungry 5 minutes after arriving, and have to pee as soon as the bathrooms are out of sight.

Keep your expectations low the first few times — bring snacks, drinks, strollers, bikes, or be prepared to physically carry them. As they get older, the outings become more enjoyable and you will be able to spend longer periods of time outdoors.

Oak Island/Fern Isle Park is a great place to play, walk, skate, bike, or take in the view. Fern Isle is just over the bridge. 

The brown solid line (paved path) and brown dotted line (gravel, dirt path) are walking, biking trails. Some areas of Isle of Ferns Park, aka, Fern Isle Park are a bit difficult with strollers/bikes.

If you skip Fern Isle and continue North (towards Scott St), you will arrive at Wausau Whitewater Park, River’s Edge Trail, Bull Falls Park, and/or Barker Island Park.

There are sections of this path betwwen Oak Island and Wausau Whitewater Park that do/might become flooded/covered with water in the spring, you can get around them by using the side walks along River Drive.

Our outings usually start and end at the playground. The playground at Oak Island are great for big and little kids. There are two sets of playground equipment, two swing sets, and large open areas to run/chase, kick a ball, play catch, fly a kite, picnic/relax, etc. You will also find a boat launch, tennis court, and ball diamond here.

The paths on Fern Isle are gravel/dirt and can become quite wet/muddy during certain times of the year.

Remember what I said about setting low expectations? 
At the time of this photo, the kid in the stroller just turned 3 and the kid walking was 20ish months. I let them roam for as long as their little legs would take them. They hop in the stroller when they get tired/bored and I pick up the walking pace for a few minutes — or until they decide they need to get out again. This time is all about them burning energy.

Usually, there are abrupt stops to soak in the scenery, grab a stick, fill their pockets with rocks, or attempts to walk in the mud.

I’m going to include Wausau Whitewater Park in this post because of where it’s located — just a few walking minutes from Oak Island, and we tend to visit when we want I want shoes to stay dry.

The people and businesses responsible for the updates to this area have done a beautiful job!

More posts coming soon of other local places we enjoy. 
If you are not in Wausau and you would like to discover parks in your area, do a google search ‘parks in <your county or city>’ or check out Google Maps and see what is near you, that is how I found a few of the places I will be posting about. 
Share your favorite parks/outdoor spaces in YOUR area, who knows, we may come visit!