They’re always just a bit different, from novel playground equipment to wide open spaces that feel far removed from the city. We recently checked out Rhododendron Park in Kenmore, and it was a great place to explore.
The park sits on 13-acres of lush grass, trees, and yes, Rhododendron bushes. The reason for the park name? A wealthy Seattleite Reginald Pierce developed the property for his family home in the 1920s, and he had a passion for the bright blooms that are our state flower. Pierce developed several breeds with his wife, and their nursery became a national success, attracting east coast buyers for years. The property was developed as a park in 1971, but it has been renovated as recently as 2009.
There are still hundreds of Rhododendron breeds in the park, some that have endured since Pierce’s death in the 1960s, others have been added in the years since. While seeing the blooms in the spring is surely a gorgeous sight, we found plenty to entertain us at the park off-season.
Both the toddler and big kid playgrounds had lots to do, with loads of slides and creative climbing structures. The grounds were also lots of fun, with many trees and bushes to explore. It gave my toddler the feeling of being on a hike in the woods, and I could let her run wild a bit on her own because the sightlines were so good. Despite the tall trees surrounding the park, the large playfield gets a lot of sun, and was the perfect place to let the kids work out the sillies.
There’s also a basketball court, shelter and a decent-sized parking lot. It’s all you need for a great morning play session or a relaxing afternoon picnic.
Other great parks just outside Seattle: