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But the best part of the park has got to be its legacy: From 1891 to 1990, it held a boarding school for Native American kids (hence the name), the main buildings of which are still on site today. While the buildings are waiting for restoration funds to turn them into a Native American cultural center and museum, the city has done an excellent job putting up historical information for people who are interested. Ambling from the covered bridge to the old buildings, you'll get a good sense of what life was like in the school just by reading the placards. Think of it as a free museum -- that just happens to have swings, too.
Epic ice-blocking opportunities are aplenty at Gilbert's 100-acre Freestone Park. For an evening of slip-sliding adventure, wander down toward the west end of the park. There you will find hills of varying grades and skill levels for both the newbie desert bobsledder and the technically skilled Olympian-in-training.
Ice is available at your local Circle K.
More salt-of-the-earth pedal pushers can also peruse the collection of more affordably priced used bikes out back, available for less than a C-note. And if you're only interested in souping up your Schwinn or customizing your Colnago, the shop has a vast selection of nearly every type of bicycle accessory imaginable, from pedometers and CO2 inflators to freewheel removers and crotch-hugging apparel for both men and women. Just remember to buy a lock this time.
"I like to say, 'We put the core in corporate,'" quips Beckmann, an old-school skater himself, who welcomes the skate punks to hang out and watch the latest rad DVDs but doesn't invite them to veg by nixing the couch and lounge area in favor of a girl-friendly fashion section. His shop, featuring all the requisite pro boards and his own budget Pabst-label-aping Pulse line, also boasts the coolest dressing room in town: a huge corrugated steel tube outfitted with a door and hangers by Beckmann's handyman dad. Tubular!
And no wonder: The park has various shapes and sizes of rails, ledges and stairs to give skaters a true street experience, as well as a large bowl with a pyramid and a cool vert wall and pool coping. A word of warning: Too bad Tempe didn't set up shade screens, because the place roasts in the summer. No pads are required here, and water and restrooms are available on site.