Shreveport and Bossier City have some amazing parks where you and the family can spend a sunny afternoon. And with all the rain and wintry weather the Ark-La-Tex has been experiencing lately, we can't wait to get out in the sun.

Shreveport's Mardi Gras celebration and parades are underway, but what do you do when the Mardi Gras season is over? Shreveport is home to 50 recreational parks and 16 recreation centers according to Shreveport Parks and Recreation (SPAR), so there is always something to do.

RiverView Park and the R.S. Barnwell Memorial Center

RiverView Park and the R.S. Barnwell Memorial Center is seated on the west side of the river downtown along Clyde Fant Parkway and features the beautiful atrium of flowers and plants, and the beautiful artwork on display in the art center. The lighted roses that line the riverfront, and the plush green gardens with the waterfall and spray-ground top off this lush park.

If you're down on Clyde Fant for the Krewe of Gemini parade this Saturday (February 9), be sure to check out RiverView Park.

Colombia Park

Columbia Park in Highland will be hosting a concert in the park just before the annual Krewe of Highland parade that is set to begin at 10 a.m. and will conclude at the start of the parade at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 10. It is located at 600 Columbia Street in Shreveport.

A.C. Steere Park

A.C. Steere Park is located on Youree drive, and is known as the "Leaps and Bounds" park because it is Shreveport and Louisiana's first boundless playground. It features amenities such as two lighted ball fields, two tennis courts and a 3/8 mile trail as well as the playground, spray-ground, and picnic areas.

In addition, this "unique playground offers universal playground modules that meet the diverse needs of all children, including the mental and physically challenged individuals."

The Duck Pond

East Kings Highway Park, a.k.a. "The Duck Pond", is a favored park among the little ones due to the large amount of ducks that live on the pond. There is even a place to sit and feed the ducks. Playground equipment is available, picnic tables and a gazebo. This park is along the Krewe of Gemini's Parade route, also.

Betty Virginia Park

Betty Virginia Park is one of Shreveport's Top Visited Parks. It is 23 acres of fun, including a playground, picnic area, walking trail, recreational ball field and a multi-purpose building. It is located at 3901 Fairfield Ave. in Shreveport.

Stoner Avenue Skate Plaza

If you have a skateboard fan in your house, Stoner Avenue Skate Plaza is the place to go. The park includes a 12,500 square ft. area designated for skateboard enthusiasts.

Developed and designed by a cooperative collective of SPAR members, local skaters and Rob Dyrdek and the DC Shoes Skate Plaza Foundation, it's located on the Shreveport Riverfront at the end of Stoner Avenue and Clyde Fant Parkway.

The skate park was originally built in 2006, but underwent extensive renovations back in 2011 by California Skateparks through a generous gift from the Rob Dyrdek Foundation.

The Stoner Avenue Skate Plaza was designed to mimic the downtown area and features urban elements such as: steps, benches, ramps and handrails. The City of Shreveport was only the second city in the United States to create such a place for the skateboarding community.

Other great parks in the area include C. Bickham Dickson Park, Cargill ParkFord ParkFairgrounds ParkWildwood Park and many, many more.

SPAR also hosts local events such as "Movie Night in the Park" that takes place the first Friday night of the month from April through September. SPAR and the Robinson Film Center team up for this event, which rotates through different parks each month. Volunteers are welcome and very much appreciated at these events.

Events are sponsored by local organizations who request a permit through SPAR's office at least 45 days before the date to secure their use of the park.

Other events taking place currently include the SPAR & Academy Sports & Outdoors 2nd Annual Slam Dunk Contest that is running through February 22, 2013, and the SPAR 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Basketball Tournament, and the Randle T. Moore Center hosts several Art Classes and the Shreveport Art Club. These are just a few of the upcoming events on the calender.

For more information on local upcoming events or obtaining event permit applications, please contact SPAR at (318) 673-7727 or visit their official website.