Along with great weather, this spring has brought the long-awaited opening of the Indiana side of the Big Four Bridge. With an official canon-fire reopening ceremony today, the now-completed pedestrian and bicycling bridge spans the Ohio River to connect downtown Louisville with downtown Jeffersonville.
One toddler in particular is EXTREMELY excited about the bridge opening.
Development of Big Four Station is still underway, but if you can overlook the temporary chain-link fences, this historic repurposed railroad truss is worth checking out ahead of the forthcoming on-the-ground frills. Even with the construction, parking on the Jeffersonville side was a piece of cake, and if you don't make it out while the many opening festivities have filled the streets with fun local flavor (including a MUCH-BELOVED moon bounce), there's still plenty to do in adorable downtown Jeffersonville.
Bookended by long, sloping ramps (each a quarter-mile long), stroller access is easy (not that I’ve ever met a toddler who would choose to ride in one when running across a giant bridge is an available option), and the one mile trip from end-to-end offers an expansive view of both cityscapes along the Ohio, making the walk (or toddler sprint, whatever) a perfect activity for curious, energetic preschoolers.
The railings are nearly tot-Houdini proofed, and it would take a pretty impressive act of magic for even the most flexible kid to squeeze through. This was my number one concern when we started our adventure, but it was very quickly replaced by the realization that dodging rollerbladers is not a life skill I thought to teach my toddler before we journeyed to the bridge. Rookie mistake.
Still, if you can hit the Big Four at a time of day when it isn't packed, ducks, boats, and Segway riders are sure to provide endless entertainment for the tiny, eager observers in tow. And when those little legs need a break, there are plenty of benches and mini-overlooks along the route.
On the Louisville end, Riverview Park along the waterfront includes two playgrounds and a splash park – a sweet reward for making it all the way to the other side. Regardless, if you happen to visit the bridge on a day when someone is there walking a Chihuahua in a dog stroller, I'm pretty certain a trek across the Big Four easily wins as the best event of your toddler's life.
One for the baby book, folks: First pup-in-a-stroller sighting.
113 W Chestnut Street, Jeffersonville
Photo credit: Kirsten Clodfelter