Omar Torrijos Park in Panama City

Sunday, March 05 2006 @ 05:22 PM EST

Contributed by: Don Winner

In the middle of Panama City there is a large oasis of shade, trees, open space, and fresh air. The Omar Torrijos Recreational Park is located next to Via Brazil in San Francisco. It's a very large park with lots of areas for all kinds of sports; soccer, baseball, bike riding, walking or running, and tennis. There are several large playgrounds with cool things for kids to climb on, and there's a very nice large swimming pool to cool off after you're done exercising or playing. I ran into several groups using the park to practice martial arts, sports teams working out with their coach, a summer company picnic, and a church group playing a pick-up softball game. There are stages for musical events and presentations, and a library. The park is a nice place to spend the day, whatever you like to do.
The Omar Torrijos Recreational Park, known locally as "Parque Omar", is located in San Francisco, just off of Via Brazil. The best way to get there is to take Calle 50 and turn left on Via Brazil. The park will be about a half mile down on your right hand side. Turn right into the main entrance and park in the main or lower parking lot. If you plan on going to the swimming pool, its better to continue straight up the hill after you enter the main gate and park near the library. Then you have to walk through the community center and over the bridge to get to the pool. For most other activities, parking in the main lot is your best bet.


There was a karate class taking place at the main bohio next to the parking lot. Apparently this class comes out to the park every Sunday afternoon to show off their stuff for friends and family.


This girl was roller-blading her way around the karate kids. The picture makes her look pretty good, but in fact she was flirting with disaster the entire time. The guy in the photo is the only thing keeping her up.


There's a bunch of little kioskos next to the bohio that sell hamburgers and hot dogs, sodas and other junk.


This shaded walkway leads up into the main part of the park from the lower area near the parking lot and the bohio.


There are a couple of soccer fields that have probably not had grass growing on them in twenty years. You can actually see the bare spots on the satellite image of the park. There were at least three or four games going on, and people of all ages and skill levels playing in different places.


There were a lot of families just hanging out and doing the picnic thing in the shade under the trees near the playgrounds. The park is very big, and there was a lot of space for everyone. This guy was just dying to show off his baby for the camera, but she was a lot more interested in getting back to mom...


This is the kind of "jungle gym" that we used to have in the parks when I was a kid, but thanks to lawyers and broken bones have since been removed for friendlier (and not so tall) options. Imagine if little Jimmy takes a flier from the top of this thing...


This guy has been selling "raspa'o" in the park for years. On a slow day he'll take in $15.00 but on a nice, hot sunny Sunday (like today) he'll earn more than $60.00. There were at least five of these guys in the park.


There's a special area for bike-riding, with kid sized roads, traffic lights, and warning signs.


The future "Mariano Rivera" makes his pitch... What are they all throwing at?


A dunking booth. This guy hit the water about once a minute while I was there. For a good cause, I'm sure.


The dunking booth was there as part of the Annual BMW and Nissan Summer Picnic for their employees. They had all kinds of things going on, very nice set-up.


A bunch of kids and adults from a nearby church group had a pick-up game of softball going on. This guy just smacked a double.


And there is a nice tennis court, two courts actually, and both were being used.


There's a large library right next to the park, but it was closed so I'll have to check it out some other day.


There's a very nice swimming pool sort of "behind" the library. You can park at the library and walk to get to it, but there's no way to drive right to the pool. The pool is open every day from like 6:00 am until 6:00 pm, except for Monday mornings which are used for scheduled maintanence. They open at 12:00 noon on Mondays. The cost is $.50 (fifty cents) for kids and retirees, and $1.00 for adults. The water was very clean, the filters were working and running, and the place was in surprisingly nice shape. There was no one using the pool when I was there because a private (birthday) party had just finished, and they were about to re-open to the public.


This is from the mural that's painted on the wall behind the stage near the parking lot. There's a place for concerts or events. The artwork just caught my eye.


Maybe it was the fish...

Anyway, the park was very nice, clean and safe. There were security guards in several areas around the park, and I didn't see anything concerning from a security or safety point of view. I would not recommend wandering through here after dark, but during the day when there are a lot of other people running around you probably won't have any problems at all. Enjoy!

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