Friday, July 31, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: North Creek Park

Photo by Life Lyn Style

Mill Creek, WA 98012

North Creek is well into the depths of suburbia, combining an exquisite park area with a public-utility-functioning nature preserve of sorts.  You won't end up here on accident, yet it's well worth planning an extended visit.

Wetlands Nature Walk

The unique feature among all of the parks on our tour is the 3/4 mile boardwalk through the semi-tamed wetlands, abundant in less familiar wildlife and flora.  The park's official website links to a gallery of the resident fauna (we only saw a black snake, some bugs, and some wiggling in the water) but unhelpfully does not include this park guide.  Signs are posted at several spots (with benches for rest and observation) to explain points of interest and explanation.  One of the signs has a cool explanation of how the wetlands act as the area's kidneys.  The kids were a bit nervous about walking on the boardwalk, but it's really well-constructed and safe.  Parents of toddlers might want to keep them restrained as guard rails are in short supply.


There aren't any formal sports areas, though there is plenty of space for soccer, football, Frisbee, etc. There are two sheltered picnic areas, one adjacent to the play area and one further down the trail, a picnic table under a tree by the play area, and one random isolated picnic table, probably designed so teenagers can have a place to discreetly break up with their significant others.

Drawbacks of an Otherwise Great Park

It doesn't matter for most of the year in the Seattle area, but there is a serious lack of shade in the play area. Lazy dads trying to read 20-year-old Tom Clancy novels while their small kids play have to sit at that one table at the right time of day or they will roast.

The biggest drawback is the lack of real bathrooms.  The playground is suitable for a variety of ages, but having only Sanicans is a major deterrent for kids and people who don't enjoy being trapped in a little box full of other peoples' waste.

Play Area

As alluded to above, the primary play structure has features for both older and younger kids.  The quasi-castle has some weird appendages that were interesting to see our kids figure out. Fake climbing rocks and other surfaces didn't get too hot.  This area was immaculate.



North Creek Park is a visual treat and a great time.  We normally like to get out some balls to kick and throw around, but we didn't even get to that with so much to do and see.  On the boardwalk, the grass is often so high you really can't see much, but it was still fun and informative.  We found it a great place to play, although we can't help but dock serious points for not having a bathroom.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: Daleway Park

19015 64th Ave W
Lynnwood, WA 98036

Daleway Park is located right where commercial and residential Lynnwood converge, featuring "features a spray park, large active play areas, a basketball court, and picnic facilities. The east side of the park is forested and includes a neighborhood trail connection to 60th Ave W."


A quick view of the map reveals several parks in the area (all of them fine in their own right), but only Daleway possesses the coveted spray park.

Photo by City of Lynnwood

The Lynnwood spray parks are open from "June" until Labor Day, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., but rumor has it the hours go from a bit earlier than that to a bit later.  The spray park is perfect for lazy fathers who don't want to actually take their children swimming; it's also safe for toddlers and other non-swimmers.

Daleway also offers wide spaces for rest, play, eating, or pretending you're a medieval person. Bathrooms are adequate and right next to the spray/play area.  Parking is plentiful.

Shielded behind the trees surrounding the main play area is a wooded picnic area and short walking trail.


Play Area

The main playset is old and not easy on the eyes, but there's plenty fun to do and it's in good shape. The basketball court has two regulation-height hoops and one slightly lowered for children and the athletically aspirational. Hopscotch and foursquare are also charmingly available. 


Daleway Park is a bit of a mixed bag aesthetically - naturally beautiful, clean, well-maintained, but shows its age, especially in design - but it's hard to complain about a space so diverse and functional in use.  The spray park was busy yet not inundated like North Lynnwood Park often gets.  Daleway is probably best used for a small group gathering or a family outing to picnic, play, and in the summer, cool off.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: Paine Field Park

11928 Beverly Park Rd 
Everett, WA 98204

Paine Field Park is located in south Everett just east of Mukilteo Speedway/525 on Beverly Park Road; it even has it's own traffic light.

This location supports four baseball/softball fields in regular use by Little League and is publicly available with reservation.  There is, however, one caveat:

You and your pets will have to live out your Air Bud dreams elsewhere

Parking is abundant, including plenty of overflow parking.  The covered picnic area is reserve-able for $60, or you can just show up extra early to snag the table for your event, such as your son's sixth birthday party; some of the benches are in sub-par shape, but it's usually clean.  Bathrooms and water fountain are convenient and non-scary.

Play Area
There is a field graded for soccer (no lines or goals or anything) and some grassy areas for running around.  The play structures have a bit of flight/science theme to them and are really cool:

Climbing structure where dads can challenge their acrophobic children
Rocking toys where you can sort out your feelings

Photo courtesy of

The coolest toy of the summer: climb-able merry-go-round
How Arvo Part composes his music

Western Washington Parks' Obsession with Hideous, Pointless, and Expensive Art

Photo courtesy of via
This sculpture is calling "Landing Zone" and apparently is award-winning.  Snohomish County requires that 1% of construction projects that cost more than $100,000 be allotted for the arts; this was the winning project in this case.  We did see the giant "X" be profitably used by two young men filming razor scooter stunts on it.


Paine Field Park is pretty great: easily accessible even in bad traffic, persistently clean and well-maintained, offers a variety of activities, and has fun and inventive play structures.  Our kids always have a great time here, it's rarely overcrowded (even during sporting events or weekends), and it's about 6 minutes from our house, so we strongly endorse it.


While looking up pictures for a review of another park, we came across these pictures from Paine Field Park from a previous visit and thought they'd be fun to add, along with a video of Jason expressing love for his father.