They may look like ground hornets, but the large wasps you see flying around the parks are Cicada Killer Wasps. The male wasp does not have the capacity to sting. The female wasp is very docile and will not sting unless provoked. The female wasp makes a nest about 10 inches into the sand. She will then catch and sting adult cicadas to serve as food for their larvae during development.
The lifespan of these cicada killer wasps is 2-3 weeks.
To learn more about one of the largest wasps in North America, please click here.