Teron Erchenbrecher, from Wildlife Safari, holds an arctic fox at the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission’s Polar Party in 2017.

Teron Erchenbrecher, from Wildlife Safari, holds an arctic fox at the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission’s Polar Party in 2017.

File photo by Donna Agusti


WB Parks Commission has year-round offerings

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 4, 2019

 Brody Tapper and his dad, Ryan Tapper, both of West Bloomfield, roast marshmallows during a past winter park event.

Brody Tapper and his dad, Ryan Tapper, both of West Bloomfield, roast marshmallows during a past winter park event.

File photo by Donna Agusti

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission has a tagline on its 2019 winter guide: “The Nature of Community.”

That is one of the appeals of the area for longtime West Bloomfield resident Holly Bailey, who lives in the township with her husband and their 9-year-old son, their 8-year-old daughter and their dog.

The family is busy with the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts and family activities that they center around park events.

“We participate in a lot of the programs,” Bailey said, citing camping events, school-related park events and more.

“One of the advantages of living out in West Bloomfield is that we have really amazing parks — it is probably one of the highlights of living here,” she said.

Meagan A. Kurnat, the marketing manager for the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission, said people young and old love the parks and events, which she said this year have been “fine tuned.” One event that draws a crowd is the upcoming daddy-daughter dance, which will be held 6-8:30 p.m. Feb. 20 and 21 at Glen Oaks Country Club, 30500 W. 13 Mile Road in Farmington Hills.

“That is one that is very popular year after year, so we try to increase our numbers and accommodate as many people as possible, because it keeps selling out,” she said. The second day was added due to the large turnout. “We anticipate those will likely sell out as well.”

A mother-son bowling event will be held 1-3:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Wonderland Lanes, 8265 Richardson Road in Commerce Township.

A Polar Party is planned for 1-5 p.m. Jan. 26 at the township’s Recreation Activities Center, 4640 Walnut Lake Road.

“That is probably our newest event out of all our winter events,” Kurnat said. “We’ve added a few things this year.”

That includes a giant snow globe that youths can enter for a “fun photo opportunity.”

A live animal show will feature animals from around the world, such as an arctic fox, a lynx and a few others.

The winter-themed activities are for the entire family, and in addition to the live animal show — taking place every hour between 1 and 5 p.m. — other winter-based activities can be experienced.

Kurnat said that Michigan weather is not always predictable, so the Polar Party features indoor and outdoor elements in case of inclement weather.

Snowshoe rentals are available, and the Snowshoe with Your Sweetie event will be held 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Feb. 10 for people ages 18 and older. The event costs $11 for residents and $16 for nonresidents. Multiple snowshoe family hikes will be held in January and February at the Recreation Activities Center.

Kurnat said people can rent snowshoes on their own anytime the parks are open.

“If you’ve never snowshoed before, we recommend people come in for one of our nature programs or during our nature room open hours; then we will have a naturalist up here, and they can help people get acclimated,” she said, adding that “2019 is going to be a really exciting year for us.”

Construction could begin on a new spray park and a new public safety park, and Kurnat said it is all about keeping up with popular demand.

“As far as our programs go, we attract a lot of seniors and a lot of families, especially families with a lot of young children,” she said. “But the parks are a little bit different. We try to incorporate park amenities that would be attractive to all age groups.”

The pickleball courts at Drake Sports Park are a big hit with seniors, Kurnat said.

For the Bailey family, walking the West Bloomfield Trail  — a linear park nearly 7 miles in length — is their speed, as well as going to the park with their dog.

“My kids do the trails,” Holly Bailey said, adding that they enjoy riding bikes and in-line skating, as well as tennis.

For more information or to register for events, go to www.westbloomfieldparks.org/polar-party.html.