Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: Willis Tucker Park

There is so much to do at civic megafacility Willis Tucker Park that we're getting winded just blogging about it. Tucked away deep in suburbia, Willis Tucker is a destination worthy of consuming an afternoon or even longer with your family and canine companions.


We'll attempt to hit the highlights of the options available, but we'll strongly recommend you go to the official website for updates on events which are plentiful.

Picnic Shelters

Several picnic shelters are available for reservation, though only one has access to water and power. The various types of shelters are reserved by several different means for the convenience of the user.

Sports Fields

We're not impressed with half-court hoop area with no fencing, but at least they have one. Two nice baseball/softball fields are also available for reservation via yet another process.


You can also reserve the amphitheater where the county hosts its summertime Movies at the Park series. The official site suggests that the field seats 1200. It's also fun for your children to pretend they're putting on their own concert or production and useful to have a lunch that's a little quieter and protected from the elements somewhat.

Spray Park

It's hard to express how great these spray parks are for the parents of non-swimming children. There are occasional malfunction issues (i.e. no water is spraying) and water doesn't continuously come out of all of the devices, which creates crowding and jostling.


Willis Tucker Park, named after Snohomish County's first county executive, serves as the headquarters for the county's parks department. We're just going to barely mention the rentable activity center and conference rooms or the off-leash dog area. We recommend a look at the park map to get a feel for where the walking trails and other offerings are relative to each other. Bathrooms and outdoor showering off facilities are right next to the play area and the spray park, and more bathrooms are available in the administration building. Along the walking trails, we also found a structure presumably not built by construction crews, and is pictured below.

Play Area

The prominent feature of the play area is this climbing structure where children can enjoy learning the thrill of rope burn. Also available are swing/tot swings, rocking toys, merry-go-round, a large sandbox, and seesaws.


Nitpicking first: the play area is slightly underwhelming. It would be nice to have some slides and areas for littler kids to climb. This place is too well-maintained, too versatile, too pretty and too useful to get hung up on those details. Willis Tucker is a great place for events from family-size to huge, and it's a great place to just show up and hang out. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: North Lynnwood Park

Tucked among virtually all of the city of Lynnwood's municipal facilities (library, police station, courthouse, fire station, rec center, etc.) is North Lynnwood Park, commonly referred to as Dragon Park since Game of Thrones frequently films there. Or it's because of the dragon-shaped water dispenser at the spray park, but you can decide which explanation you prefer.

Dragon Park hosts one of the city's two spray parks, an excellent swimming substitute for parents with very small children or are just too lazy to go to the pool. Our pictures of it seem to have disappeared, so here's one we stole from the city's website:
On the north side of the park there are two picnic shelters available for reservation. Having not actually counted, there are an estimated 427 picnic tables elsewhere in the park; this place is primed for masses to eat outdoors. Surrounding that are several open and lightly wooded areas for picnic and play, but with a major caveat: running through the center of the park is a drainage creek, creating a perpetual marsh line and water hazard for receivers going long for that pass or your children who have no ability to pay attention to what's two feet in front of them.

Decent bathrooms with a water fountain are next to the play and spray areas. The park's biggest annoyance is parking. The "main" parking area has about a dozen spots off of 44th Ave, which are usually filled in this high-traffic facility. The park's map shows entrances from the neighborhood on the north and west sides if you care to park residentially. Parkgoers' primary alternative is to park at Lynnwood Elementary and walk over. The walk isn't itself that onerous, provided proper gates are open (which they usually are, or you can walk along 44th to the east entrance) but it can be a pain if you're coming with strollers, toddlers, swimming gear, coolers, etc.

A unique feature of Dragon Park is the "performance area" though our seven seconds of Googling didn't yield any hits of anybody performing there.
The park has points plotted out as part of an orienteering course, which we don't know anything about, so we'll direct you to the Cascade Orienteering Club. Ambulators will find the standard loop-around-the-park walking path.

Dragon Park also boasts a basketball court (full court if not regulation dimensions) and a hopscotch/four square area.

The main playset is decently friendly to smaller kids, but is often very crowded. Adjacent are a set of tot swings and standard swings. It's all in pretty good shape, especially considering the volume of business this park sees.
Our kids were fascinated with idea of climbing the fake boulder (unlike the real one at Martha Lake Airport Park), but their apartment-bound lifestyle apparently doesn't lend itself to mountaineering success.

We have made many trips here and enjoy it a lot. Being close to the police station and elementary school limits the number of teenagers and other criminals, which keeps the place pretty clean and relatively weirdo-free. If we're nitpicking (and we are, since it's our blog), the parking situation is annoying if you have any cargo, the forever swampy areas are a nuisance, and it is frequently crowded. But it's crowded because it's a cool park that's well-maintained, so all but ignore our complaints.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: Logan Park

Most drivers won't stumble upon Logan Park, a gem buried deep in residential Lynnwood; it's not really on the way to anything and the entrance isn't that obvious. Those who do make their way here will find a facility where people of all ages can play and relax. We would have included more pictures of our outing, but we were too busy having fun.


If there is a knock on this place, it is the lack of real bathrooms.  For those who oppose taking advantage of running water, sanicans are available.  Sufficient parking is available in the lot which in near, though not too near, the basketball court.  A handful of picnic tables are available adjacent to the court and slightly downhill by the play area and a few randomly stashed away in a little grove on the east side of the park. Surrounding the park is a gentle jogging path.

While lacking outfield fencing (something has to contain all of our home runs), the baseball field is in pretty good shape for a publicly accessible facility. There is plenty of grass in the outfield and beyond to run and play.


It's pretty obvious which part of the park was built in the 1970s and which section was part of the 1990s upgrades. We actually prefer the 70s play structure (does that make us a play structure hipster?) since a lot of the newer stuff is a bit weird.  The newer section is half art, half 2 to 5 y.o. play area, plus the rope climbing polyhedron like they have at Paine Field Park, a four-seater see-saw, swings (including baby swings), and this tilted spinning ring that you can sit or walk on.

This thing below you can sit a bunch of kids in and spin them, but it's really heavy and maintains no momentum.  It was a big disappointment.


The temperature was sweltering hot on our visit, which did not prevent us from having a ton of fun. The setting is pretty and somewhat secluded, and the park is nicely maintained.  The area designed for littler kids is a bit hard on the eyes and somewhat impractical, a contrast to the ton of great toys in the rest of the area.  We spent a long time in the play area before we got in a game of kickball; Jason even found a softball.  We found Logan Park an excellent place to stretch your legs and wear yourself out.