Advertisement
  1. Life & Culture

Mom and daughter walked 150 St. Petersburg parks

Rachel Crozier and Amy George, along with dog Wilson, clocked in 148 miles.
Amy George, 63, and her daughter Rachel Crozier, 36, along with Wilson, Crozier's dog, are pictured at Dell Holmes Park on 22nd Street S in St. Petersburg. “We were determined to hit all 150 parks,” George said. They spent the past year walking the parks in St. Petersburg.
Amy George, 63, and her daughter Rachel Crozier, 36, along with Wilson, Crozier's dog, are pictured at Dell Holmes Park on 22nd Street S in St. Petersburg. “We were determined to hit all 150 parks,” George said. They spent the past year walking the parks in St. Petersburg. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Apr. 6
Updated Apr. 6

ST. PETERSBURG — Rachel Crozier and her mother, Amy George, were taking early morning walks with Wilson, Crozier’s 5-year-old mini goldendoodle. It was a safe way for them to spend time together during quarantine.

But by July, they’d grown bored of walking around the same neighborhood. So they endeavored to visit all of the parks in St. Petersburg, 150 in total.

Mini goldendoodle Wilson poses with the sign at Forrest Bluff Park in St. Petersburg.
Mini goldendoodle Wilson poses with the sign at Forrest Bluff Park in St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

That wasn’t such an easy feat. They found inconsistencies on the list and map of parks on the City of St. Petersburg’s website. Crozier and George are both fairly new to the city, so they spent as much time figuring out logical routes as they did on the walks.

Lake Vista Park in St. Petersburg.
Lake Vista Park in St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

George created a spreadsheet with locations, routes that might encompass 3 to 5 miles and parking information.

They began with Abercrombie Park and were delighted by the boardwalks and water views.

Wilson enjoys the boardwalk at Abercrombie Park in St. Petersburg.
Wilson enjoys the boardwalk at Abercrombie Park in St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

From then on they walked together twice a week, beginning at 5:30 a.m. They completed their mission to walk every park in March, ending with the Treasure Island Beach Trail. They logged 148 miles total.

Rachel Crozier, her mother Amy George and Crozier's dog, Wilson, pose for a photo at Treasure Island Beach Trail, where they completed their mission.
Rachel Crozier, her mother Amy George and Crozier's dog, Wilson, pose for a photo at Treasure Island Beach Trail, where they completed their mission. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

“It felt like we saw every inch of the city,” Crozier said. They discovered new neighborhoods, murals, museums and restaurants.

The Fountain of Youth in downtown St. Petersburg.
The Fountain of Youth in downtown St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

One surprising find was the Indian mounds they encountered near Pinellas Point.

Signage for the Calusa Indian Mound in Pinellas Point in St. Petersburg.
Signage for the Calusa Indian Mound in Pinellas Point in St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

Some of the parks on the city’s list were tiny, like Harbordale Park on Sixth Street S.

Harbordale Park was one of the small "parks" Rachel Crozier and Amy George found that is maintained by the City of St. Petersburg.
Harbordale Park was one of the small "parks" Rachel Crozier and Amy George found that is maintained by the City of St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

They came to recognize the telltale trash can and bench that are found at most of the parks maintained by the city.

Edgemoor Park in St. Petersburg.
Edgemoor Park in St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

“We enjoyed seeing that you don’t have to go very far in this city to find some kind of park,” George said.

She carries a baton on her walks, mostly for protection in case she has to “bop something on the head,” which hasn’t happened so far. She sometimes twirls it as she walks.

George said that while it was difficult for them to pick a single favorite park, they never would have found “new favorites” Coquina Key, Dell Holmes Park, Clam Bayou, Historic Round Lake and Pinellas Point if they hadn’t set out on their mission.

Clam Bayou in St. Petersburg.
Clam Bayou in St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

They also saw fellow walkers who would always smile at Wilson, who Crozier says is in “the best shape of his life.”

Roser Park in St. Petersburg was one of many that Amy George and Rachel Crozier walked over the past year.
Roser Park in St. Petersburg was one of many that Amy George and Rachel Crozier walked over the past year. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

But it was the mother-daughter bonding time that was the most special.

“It’s time to chat,” Crozier said. They had intimate conversations that she said at some point became “what happens on the walk, stays on the walk.”

Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg.
Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Amy George ]

“I got to spend all this time with my daughter, which was the best,” George said.