Smile Politely

Year of the Park, A to Z: Johnston Park, Champaign


Johnston Park


701 Goldenview Dr., Champaign 

A park district sign that designates this Johnston Park. Photo by Maddie Rice.

Photo by Maddie Rice. 


Inside of this dutiful quest, there are bound to be unknowns. Literally, I have never heard of Johnston Park. I mean, honestly. I have never literally clocked it, not once. Lived here my whole life, and I just didn’t even know it existed. 

This is a pretty big park, honestly. At 15 acres, there is a lot of ground to cover. The massive fields lend themselves nicely to a cricket match, honestly. And if you have ever seen one in person, they are wild, my friends. It’s a game that is both familiar and foreign to the average baseball loving U.S. citizen. 

A wide open grass field with a small hill on the left and a large tree on the right

Photo by Maddie Rice. 

There’s a playground, of course. Which is a good thing, because there are a bunch of homes just to the east. 

A plastic children's playground surrounding by a type of gravel

Photo by Maddie Rice. 


I bet you could stage one helluva water balloon fight here. Like, a 19th century Red Rover style battle. Just two teams, in a field, fight to the end. Have you even seen the advancement in water balloon access lately? For like, $8, you can avoid filling up any balloons at all, shove a hose up into a simple nozzle attached to straws that fill these things up in rapid speed. It is amazing. But also, a reminder that instant gratification lurks around every corner. You used to have to put in crazy effort to have a true water balloon fight. Now, it’s like a microwave meal. 

a screenshot of a bunch of water balloons

Photo from Google.

Anyhow, fact is, this is a pretty great space to feel free. I-57 runs along the west side of the park, but you don’t really even notice it unless you are looking at it and thinking to yourself, “Where are all these people going? Is everything OK? Are there donuts where ever they are going?”

But I digress: there is a nice walking path here, too, and I think any time that is part of a park, it has a wonderful purpose. So this is a positive thing, and it’s a park you should go see. It’s pretty nice!

A photo of a walking path in a park with a sitting bench in the foreground

Photo by Maddie Rice.

Top image by Maddie Rice.

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