Skate Park: Where the Wild Things Are

 Bikes, skateboards, scooters
 Kid friendly
 El Centro Del Quinto Sol on Google Maps (click to follow)

By Liz Simpson
In the last few years, Pueblo has poured time, money, and love into their new Riverwalk. Complete with boat rides, the Riverwalk creates a beautiful outdoor venue to connect restaurants and shops across downtown Pueblo. Our recent visit to the city took us first to the Riverwalk, where I found tasty and zingy jalapeno relish at CoLLECTIVE and a perfectly cooked bacon-wrapped steak at Brues Alehouse. That’s the part of Pueblo people know about and talk about. Toward the end of our visit, we wandered to Pueblo’s east side, crossing I-25 and Fountain Creek, the part people don’t talk about, and happened upon El Centro Del Quinto Sol.

On this Friday afternoon, the skateboard park was packed. Kids of all ages rode wheels of all kinds: skateboards, bikes, scooters, razors. Watching the kids was fun… and I was impressed. They were floating in the air and flipping around, practicing new tricks and laughing when they fell. One boy flew over the bowl’s lip, separated from his skateboard, and slid on his butt into the grass–even that was graceful. Perhaps the coolest part was the atmosphere: no one was fighting, arguing, or bullying. Sure, they were smoking and cursing, but they were outside, practicing, moving. No one was regulating or monitoring–the kids were just being kids on a spring afternoon.

Jewels asked to take some pictures and they were thrilled to show off, excited to demonstrate the skills they had obviously spent days, weeks, and months practicing. One boy, Jesus Gallegos, was the most interested in meeting the grown-ups. He’s 13 and spends most of his free time at the park. He was born and raised in Pueblo and proud to tell about his scooter and his life. He’d prepared for the day by himself and obviously relished the accomplishment. His razor had a motor, so he wasn’t at the park to practice tricks–he was just there to hang out.
Jesus summed up the day for us. This sweet kid came from the part of Pueblo that visitors don’t really see. The park he spends his afternoons at was beautiful and obviously well cared for. I wasn’t just impressed with the kids–getting outside and getting good at something–I was also impressed with Pueblo itself: impressed at this space and impressed at how it was used. We really weren’t sure what we’d find when we wandered off the beaten path, but we were so glad we chose to wander. Turns out, there weren’t really any wild things at all, just some cool kids making the most of what their community provided them.

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