Thursday, November 26, 2015

Aparkolypse 2015: Wilcox Park

Couldn't decide which picture should be the cover, so we picked both

Right on Lynnwood's busiest and most important road, Wilcox Park provides tremendous recreational opportunities right in the heart of the city. Decorated with its distinctive flags and in a great location, Lynnwood has another fine park within close proximity to several other fine parks.

What's With the Flags?

Wilcox Park is often called Flag Park as the 27 U.S. flags mark the location easily for motorists. Why 27 flags? The official site says they represent "the thirteen colonies and the incorporation of states," whatever "the incorporation of states" means. Are there states that they don't recognize? States joining the union after Florida don't count? #allstatesmatter #exceptWyomingdownwithWyoming


Wilcox Park is great for casual play, smaller group gatherings, and even larger events. Parking is available right off of 196th St, but it can be tricky to access coming from the west, so we turn up 52nd Ave W and park in the back lot. Do NOT park at the private property next door, where you'll be greeted with countless threatening signs. We may or may not have parked there anyway once out of sheer rebellion and then hung around by the basketball court next to that private parking lot out of sheer cowardice and paranoia.

At the north end of the park, you'll find a reservable picnic shelter with running water and possibly electricity, but we can't remember about the power situation. Parkgoers can also enjoy the large, expensive memorial stone commemorating those who donated the shelter. There is plenty of level space around the area. A little further south you can reserve the gazebo/bandstand, or just live out your air guitar performance dreams for no money down. Personally, we play the air kazoo. The northern part of the park is wooded and slightly hilly, the southern part with tons of open space and flat ground for field sports (we saw peewee soccer practices being held there). Show off your LeBron-like skills on the solid basketball court.

Tables and benches are scattered throughout the park. There is a real bathroom available, but it isn't especially near the playground area or anything else of consequence.

Play Area

In addition to so much open space and wooded area to run around, Wilcox Park has a very commendable play area. Play structures are present for smaller and bigger kids. If you enjoy your children being covered in sand without actual water around, a sandpit is there for you too, like when your eight-year-old forgets she's not a toddler and givers herself a full-on sand bath.


We really like Wilcox Park. It's hard to complain about the convenience of location, offering of amenities, diversity of play opportunities, and overall loveliness. We recommend it with little reservation, other than our personal hatred of sand play areas.

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).