May 22, 2023 - Things to Do

Enjoying the little things at Detroit parks

Sticks lean against a tree to make a fort with an opening in front.

A fort at Balduck Park that appears to be compiled over time as more people placed sticks. Photo: Annalise Frank/Axios

👋 Annalise here. I spend a lot of time wandering our city's parks with my dog, Phoebe. Sometimes I get bored — or need a distraction from my whirring brain — and put on a podcast.

  • But I'm trying more often to clear my mind, stay in the present and appreciate the small things that make this quiet time in nature with Phoebe special.

Among those small things? The weird and noteworthy details or moments we stumble upon at different parks that make me go "oooh," or even "...huh??"

🌳 Stick fort: Come to Balduck Park on the east side for its wonderful, little forested trail and informative signs about native plants, and stay for the architecture.

  • I'm not sure how or when it came to be (reply if you have details!), but there's a fort you can sit in made of logs laid against a tree in a dog park within Balduck.
  • I love it, but it does also look slightly like it belongs in a folk horror film.
A chess board surrounded by benches.
A chess board at Belle Isle. Photo: Annalise Frank/Axios

♟️ Game time: Belle Isle's lighthouse loop trail has some cute offshoots. One of those leads you along the river's shore, past a chess/checkers board with benches.

A banner hanging on a fence at a park shows a picture of Guy Fieri with the words "Flavortown" scrawled in a firey font.
A weird banner pictured at Lafayette Plaisance Park last July. It remained there for quite a while. Photo: Annalise Frank/Axios

🔥 Flavortown: It's no longer there, but for a while at Lafayette Plaisance Park, there was a sign up at the baseball diamond displaying adoration for renowned food dude Guy Fieri with zero context.

  • One can only assume it's related to an informal sports league of some kind.
  • Or perhaps it's just a mystery for the ages.

📬 Email us at [email protected] and tell us your favorite small things at parks (including a picture!). They may be included in a future article.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Detroit.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Detroit stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Detroit.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more