#OnlyinTheBend Parks Pass Wins Awards in St. Joseph County, Indiana

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Need an incentive to visit more parks in St. Joseph County this summer? Maybe some you’ve never heard of or crossed off the list yet? Visiting South Bend Mishawaka obliges with a new challenge he has just launched. He selected 20 key parks. If you visit five, you win a pair of sunglasses. Visit all 20 and you get a red fanny pack.

The #OnlyinTheBend Parks Pass works with your smartphone or mobile device as you need to register at each park to get credit. It uses your location, so you need to be there or very close.

Tourism Board Content Manager Jake Brown explains, “It’s simple. It’s funny. We will give you prices.

The idea, he adds at a time of pandemic when parks have become an essential balm, is to “showcase the great outdoor spaces we have in the county.”

It covers all of the parks in St. Joseph County, but it includes two less visited sites: the Beverly Crone Food Court and the Chamberlain Lake Nature Preserve. There is also the Lydick Bog Nature Reserve and Military Honor Park and Museum near South Bend International Airport. There are also the more popular city parks of South Bend and Mishawaka and Potato Creek State Park.

But the “Parks Pass”, which is free, does not give you free access where and when there is an entrance fee (not all of them charge entry). Still, says Brown, there are a limited number of prizes – 140 sunglasses and 100 fanny packs. Once those run out, he says, the agency could order more if there is a huge turnout. Otherwise, you can still check in at the pass until the end of summer.

It’s pretty easy to follow. And, luckily, you don’t have to download an app. But it does contain simple instructions for the pass to appear on your device screen, providing a quick link to the internet program.

At the end of the summer, Brown says, Visit South Bend Mishawaka will re-evaluate to see if there will be a fall-winter version. He says the pass is managed by a vendor who may also create similar mobile check-in programs for other area attractions in the future.

Get started and learn more at explore.visitsouthbend.com.


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