There was only one entrance into the park. Cars used the same one, though they were limited to a one way track that circuited the grounds. Pedestrians had free range to go where they wanted.
A local attraction was situated just inside the entrance, a living history exhibit portraying a town from the Pilgrim days, called Pioneer Village. We could see some of the goings on through the hedge, but could never afford to go in.
However, the village was never our reason for coming to Forest River Park. There were other sights and delights near and dear to a young boy’s heart. The park was covered with trees, (hence the “Forest” designation of the name, I never saw a river there but my father assures me that there was one that disgorged further down the shore). Some of the trees had branches low enough to allow us to climb into them. And these trees had a curious looking bark, little loose bits of which looked like jigsaw puzzle pieces, so we called them “puzzle trees.”
One of the chief attractions was the playground in the center of the park that consisted of: swings, seesaws, monkey bars, and a monster slide. The slide was all of concrete, built into the contour of the terrain. It was unique in that you dared not slide down it without a piece of cardboard under you, lest it shred your clothes and remove a layer of your skin after that.
You mounted to the top via steps built into the hillside that ran beside the three lane slide. You seated yourself on your cardboard of choice, and when you committed yourself, it was an almost vertical drop of a foot or more before a regular slope took over and you held on to that cardboard with all your might.
All the way to the back of the park set a large sea water swimming pool, very nice on hot summer days. I was more fascinated with the rocky hill in front of it. It began as a ridge at the right side of the park entrance and broke out as the cliff face at this end. To my mind’s eye it was the rock fortress in The Guns of Navarone, and my friends and I re-enacted the exploits of Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn all over it. And the swimming pool was the straits whereon the British ships were in peril from the German great guns.