From Abita, the Tammany Trace Trailhead Headquarters is 4.39 miles away and is marked with a green caboose that serves as information center and ranger station. Here you will find an inclusive playground, called Kids Konnection, a place for all children, with or without special needs, to play together. The first two weekends of December, come experience the Holiday of Lights and celebrate Christmas. You'll also find rest rooms, water fountains, picnic tables and parking here. The Tammany Trace is available for private nonprofit events and fundraisers.
Hours of Operation for Kids Konnection playground:
8 am to 5 pm; on Mondays we open at 11 am and close at 5 pm.
Susan McHugh was in her friend Michelle's kitchen when Michelle asked, "Susan has your son ever played on a playground before?" Those words rang in Susan's ears and filled her heart with sadness. She thought, "How can this be? How can I allow my child to miss out on the joy that playing on a playground brings?"
When Susan and Tim McHugh’s third son Wesley was just an infant, he was diagnosed with a rare congenital muscle disease. The effects of this disease are ultimately low muscle tone leading to debilitating muscle weakness including respiratory muscles and overall muscle weakness. Wesley cannot walk and uses and electric wheelchair to get around. Susan knew that this would seriously limit his access to many places.
One day, Susan and her dear friend Michelle, who had just given birth to her own child with special needs, were discussing whether Wesley had ever actually played on a playground before. Susan realized that the answer was no. This led to a deeper discussion about inclusive playgrounds, something Michelle had discovered in an article she’d recently read. Inclusive playgrounds are special playgrounds designed so that all children of all abilities can play together.
The ladies quickly took action, and in January of 2004 they formed a group called Kids Konnection complete with an executive board. Word began to spread about the group formed for kids to connect through play. Their ambitious plan included the construction of a playground, parking and handicap accessible restrooms on at least one acre of land in central St. Tammany. Kevin Davis, Parish President at that time and the Tammany Trace, were instrumental in the land donation. Kids Konnection raised over $400,000.00 in one year. In the fall of 2007, with thousands of in-kind donations, over 500 volunteers gathered for three weekends to build south Louisiana's first totally accessible playground valued at $1 million.
From Covington, it's a 3.55-mile ride over the Bogue Falaya River into downtown Abita Springs and the Abita Tourism Plaza, museum and children's playground. Abita is a popular stop with trace-side attractions like the Abita Mystery House, restaurants, and art galleries. Enjoy the heart-of-town Tourist Park, and the Abita Springs Trailhead Museum. The museum, housed in the 1911 bachelor quarters of the town’s old Longbranch Hotel, was moved to the site to serve as history museum, trailhead and visitor center for the little town. It sits right on the Trace, steps from the Abita Brew Pub and within easy walking distance of other restaurants and attractions.]]>
Covington's trailhead resembles an old-fashioned railroad station and includes a covered waiting platform, a clock tower, a bandstand, a sloped, grassy, shaded audience area, rest rooms, water fountains, visitor center, exhibit hall and small movie theater. On Wednesdays, the Covington Farmers Market offers fresh produce, light lunches, and live music. Stroll around town and visit its unique boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. Located at the intersection of New Hampshire and East Lockwood streets, the little park offers a spot to enjoy historic downtown Covington as well as begin a cycling adventure. A number of restaurants are nearby if you want to grab something to eat.]]>
The Mandeville Trailhead is 4.38 miles south of the Tammany Trace Headquarters. The city purchased a full block for its Cultural Interpretative Center that is adjacent to the trace. There you’ll find public rest rooms, pavilions, an amphitheater, a tower and picnic facilities. A renovated train station now serves as an additional fun, complete with a splash fountain-sprinkler system that children enjoy. Come experience free Friday evening concerts and the Saturday morning Mandeville Community Market among the many other outdoor activities offered throughout the year.]]>
Take the 7.17-mile trek from Lacombe to the Slidell-Carollo Trailhead where you'll find parking, information and rest rooms. Nearby are plenty of restaurants and shopping. St. Tammany Parish and the City of Slidell are in the process of culminating the Tammany Trace in downtown Slidell at Heritage Park where you can picnic, play on the playground, walk, or enjoy one of the many festivals and events that take place there annually. You can also view the 9/11 Memorial Plaza featuring a steel beam from the World Trade Center. The trail ends (or begins, depending on where you start) at the Slidell/Carollo Trailhead on Highway 190 (Gause Blvd.) where you will find parking, information and restrooms.]]>
The next stop is a unique little town 6.69 miles away. Explore its cemeteries, ancient live oaks and pines, and admire the scenic Bayou Lacombe. The Bayou Lacombe drawbridge was opened in 2008 and long-range plans call for a trailhead with ranger station and rest rooms. The bridge is down from sunrise to sunset.]]>