Burst Your Bubble: Telulah Park

Local Appleton skaters at Telulah Park.

Photo by Julia Balestri.

Distance from Lawrence: 1.3 MILES 

This means it is roughly a 10-minute bike ride, 25-minute walk or 15-minute ride on a skateboard.

As many Lawrence students are aware, there is a social and infrastructural construct that compels most students to stay on campus and live oblivious to the outside world. Many students stay on campus for everything: food, activities, exercise, musical events, social gatherings and more. This behavior allows students to be easily persuaded into believing that Appleton is a crummy town, which is a negative and sad outlook to have of the town they spend at least nine months of the year living in. In order to get a well-rounded education in all aspects of life, it is important to leave campus and grow an appreciation for the city that our school is situated in. My intention with this column is to help people recognize that there is an abundance of places to travel to within Appleton that, by visiting, one can start to pop their personal “Lawrence Bubble.”

The route to Telulah is pretty simple: you take College Avenue east until you get to the roundabout on the other side of the Fox River. At the roundabout, you take a left onto S Walter Avenue until you eventually hit the park. It’s close enough that with some conversation or good music, the trip there feels much shorter than it actually is, and it is also long enough that you are fully off campus and feel that way as well.

Telulah is a great park to visit if you are trying to learn how to ride ramps, rails or bowls. It has a skatepark which includes a bowl, a couple quarter pipes, standard grindrails, rails on slants, boxes and ramps. This selection of architecture allows for many different types of tricks to be learned, meaning you could spend an entire day at the park every time you visit. You can also sometimes get advice from more experienced skaters there on how to land whatever trick you are working on. It’s not uncommon to see skaters there that are sponsored by Surfin’ Bird, the Appleton skate shop.

One unique aspect of Telulah skatepark is that it is located within a larger recreation area. This means that if you or a friend you are with don’t feel like skateboarding, there are many other things you can do. Immediately next to the skatepark is a grassy field in which you could have a picnic, sunbathe or throw a football around like a classic American jock. There’s also a nine-hole disc golf course.

Telulah is situated on the Fox River which means that you can walk down and enjoy the soft sounds of water lapping at the shore. If you walk on some of the wooded trails down to the water, you can escape civilization enough to really enjoy the chirping of birds and scenery that the trees and river provide. It is much more secluded and larger than the tiny strip of “forest” we have surrounding the trail behind Trever.

Freshman Quinten Giglio regularly visits Telulah skatepark with some of his friends at Lawrence. “I like to skateboard and it’s a good form of exercise,” he said. “Also, it presents challenges through the layout of the park that I can work to overcome.” When asked for advice he’d give to someone who was considering visiting Telulah for the first time, he replied, “Bring a friend, bring some water and know that you’re gonna fall.” 

This advice is key. Don’t expect to go to the park and actually skate around without the potential of eating it on the cement. The reality is that you will have some gnarly falls here and there and you’ll just have to let yourself heal and keep moving forward. Giglio added to this sentiment by saying, “Be safe and don’t get discouraged.” Although it may seem “uncool” to wear a helmet and other forms of protection, what is less cool is rocking brain damage for the rest of your life and hindering your intellectual ability because you wanted to learn how to kickflip. 

Additionally, wearing wrist guards, elbow or knee pads allows you to quickly recover and hop back on your board after nasty falls. Without this extra protection, you’ll have to continuously be taking breaks from the grind that is skating to recover, which isn’t cool.