Play Day an exercise in fun |

Play Day an exercise in fun

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Clay, left, and Jade Graver race up the climbing wall at Mills Park on Saturday afternoon. The Carson City siblings are ages 6 and 8, respectively.

Kids’ network Nickelodeon declared Saturday, Oct. 2 as its first “Get Out and Play Day” – and Carson City kids obeyed.

For the first time in what seems like years, über-joyed invertebrate SpongeBob SquarePants stayed put in his “pineapple under the sea” for three whole hours as the station went dark and encouraged kids to get out and do something. Anything. And they couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day.

Baseball, soccer, Frisbee, rock-climbing – It was all available for free at Mills Park, thanks to the Carson City Recreation Division and staff, who organized their day of play from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Meagan Reed, recreational coordinator and one of the supervisors of the center’s latch-key program, watched as kids climbed the 25-foot climbing wall

“It’s great to see parents and children playing together. So often (parents) are the ones who are driving their kids to football, soccer and drop them off. We encourage parents to stay and play with heir kids.”

“No way I’m going up there,” quipped Betty Gardner, watching her two grandchildren, 8-year-old Jade Graver and Clay Graver, 6, scampering up the rock walls and then rapelling back down like Army Rangers.

“It’s not scary at all,” said Jade, waiting to go back up for her next climb, hoping to complete all five of the different climbing courses.

As her little brother reached the top, he pushed a red button and let out the victory siren.

Carson City’s Andy Salm and his 5-year-old son Nicolaus both made successful climbs.

Elsewhere in the park, a game of flag football was winding down as the sun heated things up and thirsty players went for water breaks.

Near the skate park, a half-dozen kids and parents squatted around a colorful parachute. On a count of three, they lifted it up. A small boy in a red shirt came out of nowhere kicking a soccer ball. He ran underneath, and just as soon as he had appeared, was out the other side. He kept going and going following the kick of the ball until he disappeared into the distance. He seemed to know where he was going.

On the count of three, the parachute went up again. This time, they brought it down on top of themselves making a “bubble clubhouse.”

By 2 p.m., the field was empty, the rock wall carted off on a flat-bed truck.

Nickelodeon resumed its regular programming with three straight hours of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Contact reporter Peter Thompson at or 881-1215.