Things to Do in Rocky Mount, NC
Rocky Mount's parks, trails, waterways and indoor facilities give residents plenty to do.
PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Bennett
Rocky Mount's parks, trails and waterways provide plenty of opportunities for exploration, while the city's sports complex offers athletic events sure to grab each spectator's attention and a YMCA keeps residents fit and healthy.
Rocky Mount Sports Complex
At the 143-acre Rocky Mount Sports Complex, residents take their picks among a disc golf course, six youth baseball fields, four dual-use baseball and softball fields, championship regulation baseball field, four soccer/football fields, two basketball courts and walking trail.
Besides that, according to Rocky Mount City Manager Charles Penny, the complex is impacting the area's economy hugely, bringing in approximately $8.5 million a year and attracting 100,000 tourists annually.
USA South Spring Sports Festival
Those who enjoy watching athletic competition are in luck the next couple of years. Through a partnership with the USA South Athletic Conference, Rocky Mount hosts the USA South Spring Sports Festival in 2013 and 2014. The event takes place at North Carolina Wesleyan College, which is expanding its tennis complex to prepare for the event.
The four-day event includes sports such as baseball, softball and tennis, and is expected to draw more than 800 athletes and $1.8 million in economic impact.
Sunset Park has several unique activities for kids such as a miniature train, historic carousel, a skate park and a spray park with 10 computer-controlled water spray fountains within a traditional playground structure. The outdoor skate park features ramps and hills for kids of all ages including halfpipe, rails and quarterpipes.
Rocky Mount's City Lake is the ideal place to walk, jog, feed ducks, fish or just lounge on the sun-soaked grass. In the winter months, Christmas lights are reflected on the lake's placid surface. A planned trail will join City Lake to the Tar River Trail.
Tar River Trail
The Tar River Trail, a paved walking/bike path, links four miles of parks from City Lake to Martin Luther King Park. Along this verdant stretch of the Tar River you'll find a miniature train and tennis courts in Sunset Park, the falls of Tar River, the historical homes of Mill Village and Battle Park, the site of the town's “rocky mound” namesakes.
A comprehensive map of recreational opportunities in the Tar River area is available at: www.rockymountnc.gov.
Tar River Waterways
Following the Tar River and Stony Creek, this gentle Class I canoe and kayak trails wind through downtown Rocky Mount. For an extended river experience, or just an afternoon picnic, camping platforms are available along the river trail in the Rocky Mount Reservoir and Battle Park. Visit www.rockymountnc.gov for information about campsite reservations and canoe rentals.
Harrison Family YMCA
Just up the road from the river, Harrison Family YMCA members enjoy day camps, athletics and a variety of special events. The YMCA organizes activities for adults in swimming, rocking climbing, karate, basketball and volleyball groups, while youth activities range from preschool tumbling to flag football and soccer. The YMCA also has youth clubs like Teens in Philanthropy and offers child care before and after school plus a summer daycare program.
Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park
For more leisurely activities like birdwatching, residents make a brief drive to nearby Scotland Neck to Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, a wetlands sanctuary and highly successful breeding center for rare birds. The park echoes with the calls of more than 180 species of waterfowl and tropical birds that can be observed from a wheelchair-accessible tree house observation deck. Apart from the main waterfowl enclosure, the park houses 1,500 birds in its breeding area. Here, rare and endangered species like the Madagascar teal, African pygmy goose, Australian freckled duck and the fragile white winged wood duck are coaxed back from the edge of extinction by park founders Mike and Ali Lubbock. Park hours and admission can be found at www.shwpark.com.
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