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Southaven Park Playground

Southaven Park The playgrounds at Southaven County Park in Shirley provide large play spaces in a park that also features camping, nature trails and boat rentals. 

Southaven County Park

There are two playgrounds at Southaven County Park, the first of which is located on the east side of the large parking field. The parking lot is unpaved and rows are marked by logs laid end-to-end, so getting through here with a stroller can be a challenge. It can also be a mess of there's been a recent rain. The east playground features this younger playset, with simple climbs and a double plastic slide as well as a fairly tall corkscrew.

Southaven County Park 

Parents of a certain age will remember a few playsets, like the above stagecoach, from  their own youthful exploits at Southaven. Next to the newer sets here, they're more nostalgic than fun to play on. The east playground is also home to a very challenging climbing set, with spinning monkey bars and handle swings for the older kids. In keeping with some of the retro equipment, the play surface is mostly hard dirt. The area is also wide open, so keep an eye on wandering kids.

Southaven County Park 

The much larger play area north of the parking lot boasts multiple slides and climbing areas. There are built-in games throughout and many different levels to explore. The play surface here is wood mulch, and the whole area is enclosed with a post and rail fence. 

Southaven County Park

At one end of the large playset is a high platform with a pair of great slides. They're both made of plastic and they're steep. Side by side, there is a covered slide and a wave slide that are built for speed. The area is surrounded by benches for easy supervision, and there are literally hundreds of picnic tables in the area surrounding the playground.

Southaven County Park

There are two banks of swings outside the north play area, as well as public restrooms. The chains on the swings are bare, but they're in pretty good shape. For older kids, there are multiple ball fields nearby and a number of hiking trails. For conspiracy theorists, there was supposedly a UFO crash at the park in 1988... 

Long Island Live Steamers

Southaven County Park
On the west end of Southaven Park, you'll find the home of Long Island Live Steamers, a miniature steam train track that offers rides to the public every other Sunday throughout the summer. Kids love to watch and ride on these little trains as they chug through the woods at Southaven.

Southaven County Park
The trains all differ in size, some carry only four passengers while others carry up to a dozen. The ground line (above) is best for smaller children, as you don't get strapped in for your ride and it's a short distance to the ground on this one. Adults, however, may find the low seats a bit uncomfortable, especially if you have long legs.

Southaven County Park
The high line is both more comfortable for bigger riders and also gives a faster ride. The line is generally smaller for the high line, but the capacity is limited so the line often moves slower. Both tracks take you in a large loop (the ground line goes around twice) and they're almost entirely in the shade, nice on a hot day. Everyone working on the trains is a volunteer, and purchasing tickets is optional (although certainly appreciated).

Southaven County Park
Parking for the Long Island Live Steamers is separate from the main parking at Southaven. You have to go past the main entrance and make a right at Gerrard Road (now renamed Howie Carpluk Memorial Road) and follow that to the entrance on the right. There is space for about 20 cars in the dirt lot, but you'll pass a lot of cars parked along the road outside and except for the absence of a shoulder, it's a little easier to get in and out via the roadway. There are picnic tables and a small concession stand in the train area. You can walk to and from the rest of the park from here, where there are public restrooms and grills. You'll mostly likely hear the pop of gunshots during your entire visit -- the parks shooting range is right next door.

The Southaven County Park

Find it on The Big Map 

Long Island Live Steamers Official Site: www.lilivesteam.org

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