Monday, July 17, 2017

Aparkolypse: Forest Park

There is so much to do at Forest Park other than creatively name major civic venues. Our family has taken swim lessons, petted farm animals, attended a wedding, hiked, played in a spray park, and shot hoops all in this same place. Carve out a half of a day and get up to the immensely busy recreational epicenter of Everett.


Getting here is okay. Forest Park, in good weather and especially the summer, is busy. You'll find a parking spot, but it might not be especially close to what you're there to do, so keep that in mind if you're hauling a lot of stuff for kids or food. There are some pretty mediocre bathrooms (with showers!) in the middle of the park, which aren't especially close to anything in particular, other than maybe the tennis courts.

We'll try not to leave anything out in this section. This place is loaded.

Open Fields

Nobody even seems to use them, so they're likely available for your use.

Animal Farm

From late June to late August, Forest Park hosts its Animal Farm, where kids can come and interact with standard farm animals. Pony Rides are available at select times (see the link) for a suggested $3 donation. And for a $29 fee, you can take care of a bunny for 3 days. Volunteers for the farm are encouraged.

Rental Halls

If you're looking to host your event indoors adjacent to the outdoor fun area, Forest Park has some nice options. The nicest is Floral Hall, which offers hardwood floors and wood paneling, a stage, projection screen, chairs, tables, podium, full kitchen, and a walk-in fireplace (it's that big). Spruce Hall looks like a dance or fitness studio, with hardwood floors and a mirrored wall; it also only cost $34 an hour to rent. Lions Hall looks like it was designed to host the world's most boring corporate presentation.

Swim Center

One of the key attractions here is the highly utilized Swim Center, the mostly indoor pool facility (there is an outdoor tot pool). They keep it pretty toasty in there, so swimming is available year-round. There isn't a ton of time where you can just drop in and swim; be sure to check the schedule. The swim center is available for parties, swim lessons, and a variety of classes.

Picnic Areas

Forest Park is definitely equipped to host large outdoor events. For most of the summer, it is hosting multiple camps at once and gets very crowded. You can reserve the well-equipped picnic shelter (BBQ grill, electricity, running water) for pretty reasonable rates.

Walking Trails

Experienced hikers will not be challenged by the pleasant little trail through the woods, which is mostly gently sloped (there are some stairs or steeper slopes, but you can just loop back if those aren't an option for your group/equipment).

Sport Courts

The park's website alleges there is a baseball field here; we and the satellite imagery beg to differ.
You will find an aggressively mediocre tennis court and basketball court with little street hockey goals. There is a unique sporting feature here: a place you can play horseshoes! Horseshoes are all the rage.

Water Playground

If your kids are non-swimmers, water playgrounds are the perfect solution for cooling down on a hot day. Forest Park's is open from late May to late September from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Being the site of a thousand summer camps, Forest Park has a gigantic playground, with plenty to do for bigger and smaller kids. The toys are fun and fairly traditional with plenty of seating for chaperones on the periphery.


Forest Park gets high marks for its versatility alone. If your group gets bored doing one thing, there are a dozen other options to move on to. The setting is beautiful. The main drawback is that it is always at least busy. We recommend taking advantage of it for drop-in visits, bigger events, and lessons.