Kids love the thrills and freedom of riding on a board and the self-confidence that comes with mastering a new skill. Skateboarding has many physical benefits, including coordination, concentration, balance and exercise. And it helps children develop an understanding of the importance of practice, patience and dealing with consequences.

Skating on a sidewalk, parking lot or street is not the safest option. Instead, try one of these skate parks in metro Atlanta and Athens. Most skate parks do not have supervision, so parents will want to stay close by.

Best for Beginners

Arthur Langford, Jr. Skate Park: A park catered to beginner skaters, with lessons offered on Saturdays. 6,500 square feet. Atlanta. Free. 404-546-6813.

Biggest Park

Kennesaw Skatepark: This park, the largest in Atlanta, is the first ever permanent skate park to feature elements modeled on a competitive street skate park plaza design. 40,000 square feet. Kennesaw. Free. 770-422-9714.

A Bit of Celebrity Cachet

Historic Fourth Ward Park: The park offers world-class skateboard amenities as well as a playground and multi-use athletic field. The skate park is sectioned off by skill level. Skateboarder Tony Hawk contributed to help build the park. 17,000 square feet. Atlanta. Free. 404-546-6813.

Great for Younger Kids

Fowler Park: This suburban park has specific hours for ages 12 and younger only. Mon., Tues., Thurs. 4-6 p.m. and Sat. 9-11 a.m. 30,000 square feet. Cumming. Free. 770-886-4088.

Go with the ‘Flow’

Brook Run Skate Park: This park has concrete bowls and half-pipes in a “flow” style, which combines elements of bowl parks and street plazas. Skaters must sign a waiver. Children 11 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. 27,000 square feet. Dunwoody. Free. 678-382-6850. (then Parks and Recreation Department).

Skate a Big Bowl

Skate Park of Athens: An outdoor skate park with a 10-foot bowl as the central feature. Children 11 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. 12,000 square feet. Athens. Free. 706-613-3991.

More Parks to Skate

Glenloch Recreation Complex Skatepark
A park accommodating skaters of all ages and skill levels, which was designed with input from local skaters. 4,050 square feet. Peachtree City. Free.
770-631-2525. (click on Recreation & Special Events under Activities, then Recreation Facilities).

McKoy Skate Park
This park offers pipes, rails and ramps. Decatur. Free. 404-377-7231. (click on City Departments, Active Living, City Parks).

Four in Gwinnett County: (click on Guide to Your Parks)

Bay Creek Skate Park
Skate park with skateboard and BMX ramps. Good for all skill levels, with a bowl and a plaza. 20,000 square feet. Loganville. Free. 770-978-5271.

DeShong Skate Park
Features a twisting and winding streetscape to explore, complete with stairs and grinding rails. 10,000 square feet. Stone Mountain. Free. 770-822-8840.

Duncan Creek Park
This skate complex is the largest skate park available in Gwinnett County, offering community users a safe environment to practice their sport and multiple bowls to choose from. 20,000 square feet. Dacula. Free. 678-277-0855.

Ronald Reagan Skatepark
The 10,000-square-foot street plaza skatepark is within Gwinnett County’s Ronald Reagan Park. Lawrenceville. Free. 678-277-0179.

How to Get Started

Purchase proper gear to ensure that your son or daughter has the safest skateboarding experiences possible. Your child will need:

Elbow pads ($14-$30)

Wrist guards ($13-$25)

Knee pads ($20-$40)

Skateboard ($150-$180)

Helmet ($25 or more)

When buying your skateboard, make sure to purchase at a store where employees have a good knowledge of skateboarding. The size of board should be matched to the size and weight of your child. Purchasing the wrong size skateboard could lead to injuries or cause damage to the board.

Beginners should take lessons to learn safe skating techniques. Kennesaw Skatepark offers periodic group lessons and Brook Run Skatepark has group classes 9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays. Skateboard shops sometimes offer group lessons and can recommend instructors for individual lessons.

– Jennifer Wilson

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