Saturday, July 30, 2016

Aparkolypse: Pioneer Park

Pioneer Park is situated between a large apartment complex and a group of houses, down the road from Spruce Park and within tiny driving distance from Stadler Ridge Park and North Lynnwood Park. When we visited, it was a very popular spot to walk dogs.

The park's address says 36th Ave W (and you'll drive by the entrance sign pictured above), but you need to turn west on 184th St SW; the road dead-ends at the park's small parking lot.


Randomly, you'll find two of the nicer public tennis courts around. There's a water fountain but no bathrooms of any kind, with a solid number of picnic tables sprinkled throughout the park. Near the entrance, a small grill box stands near the tennis courts, a rarity for city parks. Most of the park is large grassy field, great for throwing/kicking a ball around. This map will give you an idea of the layout.

At the north end of the park, there's a short but steep nature trail leading to the entrance sign (there's no sign where you actually park your car).


The main philosophy of this series of blog entries is to go to parks with playgrounds in the area, and technically Pioneer Park qualifies, but the toys and swings are pretty aesthetically displeasing. Lynnwood has 3 or 4 parks with toys like this, and it takes away from otherwise really nice parks. Our kids were much more interesting in the dogs walking by.


Maybe we'd be more impressed with this park if we played tennis. There isn't much wrong here, though given how close several better parks are, maybe it's a destination because of thinner crowds.

Aparkolypse: Meadowdale Neighborhood Park

Our kids describe this as "the park with the zip line," and since it's on the way to Granny and Grampa's house, we know this place like the back of our hands. Meadowdale Neighborhood Park (not to be confused with Meadowdale Beach Park) is a fun place for kids and bored teenagers from the neighboring high school.


Getting there is easy enough; parking is a problem. The parking lot on the north side on 168th St SW is small and insufficient. A few spots are available on the street on the east side on 56th Ave W, not exactly convenient to the main play area and bathrooms.

Outside the bathrooms is a totem pole and bench sculpture called "Urbanization of Lynnwood" by artist Chris Vondrasek. Go a bit deeper into the park to find a standard basketball key, a handful of picnic tables and benches, and a paved walking trail that loops around the western half of the park. Take a zigzagging nature trail to the play lawn on the east side (excellent for throwing paper airplanes at the top of the bowl area) or go south to the hilly lawn area, where you can take the back entrance of the park down to the high school.  


The main area is divided into the standard tot lot/5-12 years toys. A handful of swings are located down by the cable glider.

The park's website describes it as a cable glider, but we call it the zip line. Kids can sit or stand on the seat, and it moves slowly enough to not be too scary. It's a unique feature in all the parks we've visited.


The play equipment is a little older (still in fine condition and lots of fun), but this park is just pretty. Not a few weeks go by that one of our kids doesn't insist "I want to the zip line park!" and we can't blame them. It's a fun place surrounded by beautiful trees and plants, close to us and the grandparents.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Aparkolypse 2015: Lynndale Park

Lynndale Park is a monster. It's so big with so much to do, we're going to talk about it like two parks. Located right where Lynnwood bleeds into Edmonds, Lynndale Park is the second-most feature-heavy park on our tour (after the vast and varied Willis Tucker Park). Just check out the map of the place. The main part of the park, which we're cleverly calling Part A, requires a little effort to find, whereas Part B, featuring the skate park, is easily accessible off of Olympic View Drive.

From a blogging perspective, we feel the need to apologize for our pictures: our phone (and therefore camera) was in its death throes during our first visit and we left Part A in a hurry because of a summer camp being held their, and in the second visit we forgot that the sun starts setting at noon in this part of the world during the winter.


What we're calling Part A is the area of the park off of 72nd Ave W, including the sports facilities, amphitheater, picnic facilities, and big playground. We'll also include the walking trails which connect the two areas. Parking is adequate in Part A, and actual decent bathrooms are available in the buildings next to the playground/picnic area.


Sports Surfaces

Lynndale Park boasts 4 tennis courts and 2 basketball courts; you decide if we're using "boast" a little tongue-in-cheek. We didn't do much surveying of the 3 lighted baseball fields or the soccer field, but they looked well-maintained.

Picnic Shelters

The park was clearly conceived with big events in mind, so there are tons of covered and uncovered picnic areas. Reasonably priced reservation information is available here.


Since we didn't feel like being the random creep taking pictures of the YMCA day campers who were using the amphitheater, this is all the picture we got:

So we'll steal this one from the city's site:

The amphitheater hosts Shakespeare in the Park each summer, which was among our first summer activities after moving up here from Texas. We couldn't really hear or see the play, but the exposure to Washington's fine soil in the midst of a place where we had no idea where we were in the dark was invigorating.

Walking Trails

At this point of the trip, our camera was dead. Unfortunately, nobody else seems to have many photos online we can steal, so check out the description with one actual picture of the trail on All Trails. The park's official website describes .7 miles of walking trails and .6 of nature trails, yet does not offer a differentiation. The trails are well-maintained and not too rigorous, okay for smaller kids and dogs. Fans of orienteering should check out this website from the Cascade Orienteering Club.


Here you'll find plenty for the kids to do: playsets for older and younger kids, plenty of swings, and a now-rare stand-alone slide. The area is neat and large with plenty of seating for parents who want their kids to get plenty of sunshine but prefer their light to be provided by Apple and Samsung products.


For the purposes of this post, Part B is the section of Lynndale Park off of Olympic View Drive, comprised of the skate park, the smaller playground, and the little basketball court.


Part B is a pretty solid park unto itself, which is why we were surprised to discover that it's actually just part of the larger park. Parking is sufficient and the bathrooms are pretty nice, being fairly new. Here is a map of Part B. Fans of skating and related sports will enjoy the skate park, which our kids didn't quite comprehend usually requires a wheeled device. Another "fun" fact: the steel railings are a sculpture called "Fluid Motion." In case you were tempted, the official website commands, "NO TAGGING!"

Not pictured is the basketball key, with one regulation height hoop and another lower basket, probably 7-8 feet.


If you were hoping for a somewhat nautical-themed playground in vaguely University of Washington colors, Part B has the toys for you! It's a well-maintained, standard area with a weird abacus thing, just in case you wanted to teach your children an ancient form of base 3 math or something.

Part B Update!

Shortly after posting this, we found a dozen or so more pictures from a later visit.



Lynndale took us two days to visit and a stupid amount of time to blog about; it is a monster with tons of stuff to do. We had a lot of fun in both parts of the park and found the facilities more than serviceable. The sheer volume of possibilities outweighs a lack of originality or interestingness.