Thursday, November 5, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: Scriber Lake Park

In one of our departures from playground-seeking, we had a nice stroll at Scriber Lake Park, a two-year-old ecological preserve/urban forest/wetlands. In a apparent nod to illiteracy, the lake is named after Paul Schreiber, one of the Alderwood Manor's founders. This park is connected via the Scriber Creek Trail to Sprague's Pond Mini Park, a hidden gem in the Lynnwood park system. The city provides this handy map to navigate your way around. We found the totally not sinister-sounding master plan, which includes descriptions, pictures, and diagrams which demonstrate how these civic projects work and how far the area has come.


Scriber Lake can be accessed on foot off of 196th St SW, but drivers have to navigate down to 198th St SW and find the entrance tucked away on the left (it's one of the reasons we try to include pictures of the entrance signs when possible). Right by the adequate parking (where we saw several police cars for some reason) are a drinking fountain and nice bathrooms. Also near the entrance are a handful of picnic tables and some decorative benches.


The park's primary features are the boardwalk and walking trails (the official site lists it as 0.8 miles long). Along the way are benches, areas for fishing, and signs describing the wildlife. We've included some of Jason's photography of our walk.


Scriber Lake Park is serene place to have a nice walk. It'd be tough to navigate with an umbrella stroller or another stroller with smaller, harder wheels, but the terrain is flat and well-maintained. Bathrooms and stuff in the car are pretty far as you move around the lake, so be prepared for that if you have little ones. The upgrades add to a scenic experience with an added bonus of being able to pretend you learned something while you were there.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: Olympic Sculpture Park

Don't mind the children, they're just drunk
When you're done enjoying the pure delights of driving on Seattle roads, make sure you stop by the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park, an art shrine apparently dedicated to honoring marine industrial decay. Seriously, Wikipedia suggests, "The idea of creating a park for large, contemporary sculpture in Seattle grew from a discussion in 1996 between Seattle Art Museum director (and wife of William Gates Sr.) Mimi Gardner Gates and Martha Wyckoff while stranded on a fly fishing trip in Mongolia due to a helicopter crash." Bored super-rich people have the best taste!


OSP isn't just a place to wonder why rich people and government employees love buying expensive eyesores, it is also a place you can meet your friend to kill time when she has a narrow window to hang out in her brief visit to Seattle. There's also an air-conditioned building where you can cool off and use the nice bathrooms. Navigate the park with this map and guide. But if you find your party or other gathering isn't sufficiently expensive, you can host your events here.

The indoor multipurpose room/art lab and outdoor amphitheater/terraces are available for between $1000 and $3000, depending on your timing. The pavilion and covered terraces are available for $4000 and $5500, based on peak season. We poke fun, but there are some surprisingly affordable wedding packages.

Stuff I Didn't Pay Attention to When I Was There

In weekends during the summer, the restaurant TASTE offers "seasonal-inspired pastries, espresso, assorted sips, and organic snacks." Every single square foot of the park has a corporate or foundation sponsor, so make sure you think of Boeing first next time you're buying a jumbo jet or satellite.

Other Considerations

For parking, it's in downtown Seattle, so we recommend teleporting there. The building has a water fountain and bathrooms and is attached to a parking garage where you'll spend at least $6 to visit the free park.

The Art!

As a fan of rusting metal and perilously hanging logs, this place is right up our alley. Seattle Times ran an amusing article on which pieces you should touch or not (summary: don't, unless you can sit on it). Rather than make cracks about pteranodons, asterisks, adult products, the futility of wind power, and disintegrating pizza cutters, we'll mostly just let you behold the work for yourself.

We were excited to the head part of the foot statue from Lost.

This piece summarized our thoughts on the visit
The Park Next Door

Right alongside Olympic Sculpture Park is Myrtle Edwards Park, which was originally going to be the name of Gasworks Park. We found a nice little rocky beach where the two parks converge.


The grounds and building are really nice. If you are an admirer of large-scale sculptures, you'll likely enjoy the visit. If you are an unsophisticated dork from Universal City, TX who plays fantasy sports and thinks Steven Seagal is one of the great comedians of our time, this may not be for you. The walking space is very stroller and wheelchair friendly, but it is highly unlikely your little kids will appreciate the works and they will definitely not like not touching anything (our children immediately sprinted to play with the wavy metal things).

Friday, October 23, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: Maple Mini Park

Image courtesy of City of Lynnwood
In our discover tour of parks this summer, we discovered these municipalities' love of combining utilities/infrastructure areas with a park. Maple Mini Park is probably the most flagrant example of this: it's pretty much a backyard playset with major drainage. We bet you can't wait to take your kids on down to the "stormwater detention facility"! The official site indicates that the area is maintained by the Public Works department (and therefore not Parks and Recreation), which is a bad omen.

Getting There

For what it's worth, Google Maps doesn't recognize this as an actual park. There are places to park along Maple Road, but we recommend looping around to 179th Pl SW and parking in the cul-de-sac. At the corner of Maple Rd and 42nd Pl W, you'll see this inviting sign: 
It just screams, "Children, come play here!"

Does a drainage ditch count as an amenity? There is a bench and a picnic table, neither of which exactly impress. The picture at the top of this post does not lie: there has definitely not been any development since 2000.

Play Area

We're certain this is the same setup as built in 1989, during Lynnwood's apparent "ugly wood, beige, and awful blue" phase (see also Pioneer Park). You and your children may well enjoy the kitty litter play surface. There's a little bit of field to run around in, assuming you keep one eye on the ditch.



Do we need to even write this section? We hope Maple Mini serves better as a stormwater detention facility than it does as a park. Unless you live on this cul-de-sac, we recommend you instead go to one of the half-dozen much better Lynnwood parks which are within a five minute drive.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: Stadler Ridge Park

Photo by City of Lynnwood
If you were to get bored at Stadler Ridge Park, you could drive the two minutes north to Spruce Park, or two minutes south to Pioneer Park, or six minutes over to Alderwood Mall (also a single-minute drive to Wilcox Park, North Lynnwood Park, and a few others). But chances are you and your small group would be too busy enjoying the relative peace and quiet, the unique play experience, and the natural setting in this small and distinctive park.

At the park you can read about the illustrious logging history of Alderwood Manor and the Stadler family who were among the primary settlers (and current residents) but there are better things to do with your time here. Stadler Ridge incorporates many elements of current park design, including the mixture of landscaping/non-landscaping, a walking trail, wood-looking artificial picnic tables, and themed play structures.


There are 4-5 large parking spaces marked off on the side of the road, including a handicap permit spot. We don't recommend hosting your family reunion or church picnic here. There aren't any bathrooms/Sanicans or plumbing of any kind. We also recommend shooting accurately at the basketball hoop (with the behated backboard design); errant shots may roll downhill into some very prickly weeds. We decided to stick to dribbling practice and layups.

As is standard for the parks of our tour, there is a walking trail around the park, though the rocky and hilly parts make it stroller-unfriendly. The park's official website describes a walking trail of ".2 mi" and a "nature trail" (maybe the wooded part?) of ".14 mi", so those of you planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail might find a more suitable training ground elsewhere.

A reminder that the beach shelters on Lost were built by set designers, not regular people

The coolest aspect of the park is the three tiered slides going from the top of the hill down to the main play area.

There is a fairly wide play/picnic field with a handful of benches along the path around it, but steep slopes on the side make for somewhat perilous play. When we were there this summer, there were a ton of bees buzzing about the clover (or whatever flying/stinging/buzzing insects that we're too poor of a naturalist to identify), so we had to steer clear of them.

In putting together this post, we realized that we hadn't taken any close-up pictures of the play structure (the kids weren't interested in it that day), so we've borrowed these two images from


We spent a few hours here and had a great time. The basketball hoop setup is ill thought-out and feels tacked on. None of the park is really all that friendly to toddlers and small kids - the main play structure and the climb to get up to the slides require a lot of work, and the slope around the edge of the play field are a real tumbling/toy rolling away hazard. For the kids older than that, it's a fun place to be active. Visually, it's a satisfying blend of the natural and man-made, immaculate, and really cool to see those slides down the slope of the hill. Lynnwood has made good use of a few hilly lots and transformed them into a beautiful and fun refuge.