This is Ken. He’s reviewed 367 parks on Yelp in the past year and isn’t slowing down. He’s edited, reviewed and photographed parks across the country, all while encouraging us to head outside.
Follow his Yelp park collections (think of them as bucket lists!) here.
Why did you start Yelping?
As a former accountant, I keep lists. So I had been tracking all the food and beverage places I’ve been to and who I took with me. I was already taking pictures of foods. I had a friend who used Yelp, but was not a member. I saw how useful it was, so I decided to give it a try 2 years ago (just celebrated my second anniversary last Sunday!)
What does it mean to be Yelp Elite for you?
I have a lot of hobbies and enjoy writing. With some of the hobbies, friends ask “What are you going to do with all this information?” Yelp-ing allows me to share my experiences with folks who are interested and that adds value to my effort beyond my personal enjoyment. I have reached a far larger audience than I could on a private blog. I’ve also got to meet several of my Yelp friends in person and have enjoyed their company.
How did you decide to take on parks as your personal Yelp project?
Brittany (past Indy Community Manager) encouraged us in one of her elite emails to find parks and share our experiences. I was already looking for restaurants on my own, looking for public art for the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and decided (to make) field trips to hunt down whatever I could find in a section of town would be a good way to spend a fun day out of the house. I have expanded that to the counties of Central Indiana including areas around all the big college towns too.
I’ve already mapped and visited about 20 counties. Maybe I’ll add the state parks too!
How many parks have you reviewed and photographed?
As of today, 367 total with 153 in Indy. I have plans for the next few weeks to hit several counties and should reach 400 before August.
Photo by Ken N at Meadowlark Park
What do you think the affects of your Yelping are?
From the feedback I’ve received… I know that I’ve helped people make decisions about a restaurant, a park, or business that they may not have considered. I was really surprised the other day that my Collection of Hamilton County Parks had 7 followers. Considering I limited the number of friends I have, that’s a decent percentage and I’ve heard positive feedback from several.
What are three of your favorite parks in Indy?
Picking three is tough. Eagle Creek has as much acreage as all the remaining parks in Indianapolis combined. Gotta love the hiking and diversity of the park and all that space. Holliday Park is another classic. Great space, lots of artwork and a nice playground with lots of variety. And Ball Nurses Sunken Garden by IUPUI is as beautiful a spot as you can find in a downtown setting. If you can find a place to park in the area, the park is clean, maintained/landscaped, and is a quiet place next to Eskenazi Hospital where people can take a breath when some tragedy may have occurred to a loved one in Eskenazi or Riley Children’s Hospital. The value that adds makes it a park to revere.
What is the best, most under-appreciated park (in your opinion)?
I think that the new Tarkington Park is one that folks should be aware of. It wasn’t long ago that 38th and Illinois was not considered a safe place to be…even in daytime. Lots of blighted buildings. But the bold step to make a first class park and maintain it in that location has really helped contribute to the transformation of the neighborhood. Restaurants and businesses are coming back. And the park has so many cool features that I wish I would have had access to something like that when I was a kid.
Photo by Ken N at Yellowwood State Forest
What’s next for you?
I am having a blast planning day trips. My wife has even joined me on a few. I’ve got a second trip to Grant County (Muncie), Wayne (Richmond), Clinton County (Frankfort), Montgomery (Crawfordsville) & Henry (New Castle) mapped out for this summer. And Tippecanoe (Lafayette/Purdue) will be next in the line of places to visit.
What does being a Yelp Elite mean? Aside from a sparkly badge that you get to rock with pride on your Yelp profile page, you’ll get the opportunity to attend exclusive events, meet Yelpers from your community in-person, and discover a variety of local businesses you may not have previously tried. You can read more, and even nominate yourself or a fellow Yelper at yelp.com/elite