Feature Article - June 2020
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Trends in Parks & Recreation

A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation


Park respondents were slightly more likely than non-park respondents to report that they provide programming of any kind at their facilities. While 95.3% of non-park respondents offer programming, 98.7% of park respondents do so, up from 97.6% in 2019.

The most common programs found in park respondents' lineups include: holiday events and other special events (81.6% of park respondents include them); youth sports teams (70.2%); day camps and summer camps (65%); group exercise programs (64.6%); educational programs (62.2%); adult sports teams (60.2%); arts and crafts programs (59.2%); programs for active older adults (58.6%); fitness programs (57.2%); and festivals and concerts (55.6%).

Programs that saw an increase for park respondents include: holidays and other special events (up from 79.3%); group exercise programs (up from 64.2%); educational programs (up from 61.6%); and fitness programs (up from 56.2%).

Park respondents were much more likely than non-park respondents to report that they had plans to add more programming options at their facilities over the next three years. Some 40.8% of park respondents said they had such plans (up from 37.2% in 2019), compared with 30.1% of non-park respondents.

The most commonly planned program additions in 2020 for parks include:

  1. Environmental education programs (up from No. 7)
  2. Teen programming (up from No. 5)
  3. Fitness programs (down from No. 2)
  4. Group exercise programs (no change from 2019)
  5. Day camps and summer camps (up from No. 8)
  6. Mind-body balance programs such as yoga (no change)
  7. Programs for active older adults (down from No. 1)
  8. Arts and crafts programs (did not appear in 2019)
  9. Special needs programs (no change)
  10. Performing arts programs (did not appear in 2019)

Arts and crafts programs and performing arts programs replaced educational programs and holidays and other events. RM