Leslie Knope made us giggle endlessly on Parks and Recreation but there’s nothing funny about the immense joy a new park can bring to a town. That’s exactly what Encinitas Community Park has done for our favorite seaside city. Located at 425 Santa Fe Boulevard, this 44-acre park features a giant, fun-filled playground, walking paths, a skate plaza, ballfields, recreation areas, a (soon-to-be-opened) concession stand, and the incredibly scenic 2-acre Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park. While its contents will keep you and your family endlessly busy, the scenic dry creek, granite pathways, boulders, and landscaping will be what leave you in awe. This isn’t just a park – it’s an experience! While it’s already lovely, the park will reportedly be a field of green in about ten years when its 1,000 trees are expected to mature. With everything from palm trees to sycamores, this will be a dream for all of us outdoorsy types.
Parents will love putting this in regular rotation with the kiddos, as it’s a one-stop-shop for entertainment. Located at the north side, the skate park alone is 13,000 square feet. This impressive area for one of San Diego’s most revered sports includes a skate bowl and an urban plaza area with platforms, ramps, and specifically designed planters. Word of warning to our skating friends: Helmets, elbow pads, and kneepads are required to use the park or you risk a fine. Hey, that’s just how they roll (groan). Plans are underway for city-offered skate programs, so make sure to check their website for info.
With modern takes on old favorites like the see-saw and jungle gyms, the playground will please the pickiest of players. And the best part? There are two restroom buildings (one at the northwestern end and one in the southeastern area)! As any parent knows, the urge to go with kids can strike at the most inconvenient times, so this is a huge bonus for caretakers. Dog owners will unleash a lot of happiness in the enormous dog park, as there is a show circle and an area for large, small, and shy dogs. Sensitive Sadie and Gargantuan Gus don’t have to play together, and all is sure to be harmonious in the canine world.
The word has spread like wildfire about this amazing park, so it can be quite busy. Fortunately, there are five paved parking lots and two entrances – one off Santa Fe Boulevard (just off the Vons parking lot) and one off McKinnon Avenue. Early risers and late owls will also appreciate the park’s hours, as it is open seven days a week from 5 a.m.-10 p.m. The skate park, dog park, and athletic fields are exceptions to this, however, as they are open from 8 a.m.-dusk on a daily basis.
While the soccer field and multi-use fields will often by in use by local leagues, the park has plenty of open-turf areas for unrestricted play. While some had thought the park might eventually get lights for nighttime play, this is reportedly untrue. Daytime leagues are available, however, for baseball, softball, soccer, and rugby, making the park a flurry of activity.
Thinking of throwing a party for your bitty birthday boy or girl? If you have 25 guests or more attending, Encinitas Municipal Code Chapter 6.11 requires you to secure a permit. That’s a small price to pay to spend time in this palatial park, as there is nary a better setting for a party than under the Encinitas sun. As for city-sponsored events, there are sure to be a lot of fun outings here but, as of now, the only thing on the calendar is an egg hunt in the park.
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