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Murray Journal

Murray Park's Tale Trail transforms traditional park visits with a splash of literary magic

Nov 07, 2023 01:39PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Murray Park visitors can now walk and read a book on the new “Tale Trail.” (Photo courtesy of Murray City)

A scenic trail, drenched in literary magic, has been inaugurated at Murray Park, inviting residents and visitors to immerse themselves in the world of children's literature while soaking in the outdoor beauty.

On Monday, Oct. 16, the “Tale Trail's” grand opening took with festivities that featured an appearance from Mayor Brett Hales and the library mascot, Murray the Dragon. Additionally, second graders from Parkside Elementary School participated, bringing youthful enthusiasm to the occasion.

The Tale Trail, at its core, is a blend of literature and nature. As attendees saunter along, they are presented with the delightful children's tale, "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake." Commenting on this novel initiative, Hales said, "We are thrilled to introduce the Tale Trail, a unique fusion of literature and nature that encourages a love for both reading and the outdoors. Murray Park has always been a beloved destination for our community, and this trail offers a new way for families to connect with nature and enjoy a good book together."

Delving into the history of the Tale Trail, Tammy Kikuchi, Murray's chief communications officer, revealed that its inception was based on a 2018 pilot concept. Temporary signs featuring literature were placed in the arboretum. While park visitors appreciated the concept, the site needed reconsideration for a permanent setup. The amphitheater vicinity in Murray Park emerged as the chosen spot, breathing life into the Tale Trail.

The Tale Trail is a brainchild of the collaboration between Murray City Library and Murray City Parks and Recreation. Their partnership has previously borne fruit with initiatives like “Stories in the Park” and “Summer Shorts” for the Cultural Arts summer shows. While Parkside Elementary School played a guest role during the opening, the trail's proximity hints at future school excursions.

Kikuchi also shared insights about the inaugural book selection. "Choosing 'If You Give a Cat a Cupcake' was intentional. Its universal appeal among children and families made it an obvious pick." She added that during summer, the Tale Trail briefly showcased Dr. Seuss’s “The Sneetches and Other Stories,” coinciding with the Murray City Cultural Arts production of “Seussical the Musical.” For those wondering about the trail's future literary offerings, Kikuchi assured a quarterly book rotation, guaranteeing fresh literary adventures.

"If You Give a Cat a Cupcake" is a children's book written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond. It's part of a popular series by Numeroff that uses a circular storytelling technique. Each book in the series starts with a seemingly simple act, which leads to a series of events that eventually come full circle.

Accessibility and safety were paramount during the design phase. The Tale Trail is characterized by well-placed signs at kid-friendly heights and a paved path, ensuring wheelchair, walker and stroller accessibility. Parkside students have easy access over a bridge leading to the trail, fostering convenient trips.

Engagement doesn't stop at the launch. The Murray City Library has big plans to keep the momentum going. Promotions on their online calendar and active social media campaigns are on the horizon. Additionally, the library aims to roll out programs that champion the dual benefits of literacy and physical well-being in the park's environment.

According to Kikuchi, initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. "Park visitors have been vocal about their delightful Tale Trail escapades. Introducing a literary dimension to the park experience has been well-received," Kikuchi said.

“We are already hearing from park visitors that they are enjoying the Tale Trail and that they love the opportunity to read a book outdoors. We hope that visitors to the Tale Trail will have fun and enjoy a different way of enjoying the park with their families,” Kikuchi said.

Although there isn’t a larger scheme currently to intertwine literacy and outdoor activities in Murray, the city remains open to collaborations when opportune moments arise, Kikuchi stated. λ