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What’s to Love: I visited this park twice with my son in June, 2008, and I know we’ll be back again soon. I was looking for a park with plenty of open green-space to launch our model rocket (see video below). I noticed that Memorial Park looked like the biggest park in the Wilsonville area, so we headed over to check it out. I don’t think I’ve ever been so shocked by the quality and design of a park. I highly recommend visiting this park!
Because Beaverton and Wilsonville are filled with automobile dealerships, fast-food restaurants, parking lots, chain restaurants, and a plethora of other undesirable, suburban realities, I guess I never expect too much when visiting their parks. This bias that I have has been completely destroyed time and time again. These two suburbs have some of the nicest parks around the greater Portland area.
With that, Memorial Park offers plenty of open green-space with gently rolling hills, plenty of parking, the nicest public restrooms I’ve ever seen at a public park, “…4 softball fields, 1 baseball field, 3 soccer field overlays, 2 tennis courts, 1 aboveground skate park, 1 ½ basketball courts, 1 outdoor volleyball court, sheltered, reservable group picnic areas, 1 central non-reservable picnic shelter, boat dock, children’s play area (2), community garden, dog off-leash area, natural areas, picnic tables, restoration sites, restrooms, and a paved, trail system.” (source). WHEW!!!
This park has it all! There are some of the most interesting/unique play structures for kids (see pictures). There are two volcano-shaped mounds that kids can scramble up, and then slide down into giant sand pits. There are cement climbing structures with rock climbing holds, and a modified, jungle-gym using ropes instead of steel bars – very nicely designed playground. My son had a blast riding his bike around on the skatepark ramps (see video). The park has plenty of paved-paths for beginning bikers, and one of the nicest water parks for young children (see video below).
Front section of Park including “volcano climbing structures.”
Spray/Water Park at Memorial Park in Wilsonville, Oregon
Launching a Model Rocket at Memorial Park
Bike riding at Memorial Park Skate Park
Caveats: This is quite a drive from Portland, but definitely worth a trip if you’re in the area – perhaps at Bullwinkle’s Family Fun Center, or Wilsonville Lanes. Memorial Park is very close to both of these places. No built-in grills.
Distance from Portland: This is about 20 miles from downtown Portland.
Recommended Ages: All ages. There is just so much to do at the park. Older kids might enjoy the skatepark or fishing in the river. Younger kids will enjoy the two playgrounds.
Parental Stress Factor: Despite being so close to the very busy – Wilsonville Rd., the park was practically deserted on a Monday afternoon. There appeared to be groups of high school kids walking through, but we didn’t see many people at all. It appears to be a low-stress park. I’m unsure of what it might look like on the weekend. If someone reads this and has a better idea, please comment below… thanks!
Physical Difficulty: Fully accessible paved-paths, picnic areas, public restrooms, etc. It’s easy to get around this park!
Family Fun Factor: I’m going with a “high” ranking here. The cool playstructures make this place a lot of fun for kids. Bring all your sporting goods, and you’ll have a blast.
Pet Friendly: Yes! Memorial Park appears to be a great place to walk dogs. There is also one of very few off-leash areas.
Weather Considerations: Open year round from dusk ’til dawn. However, this is a great “sunny day” park.
Insider Info: Much of the main park area is unsheltered by trees. If you bring a picnic and/or sit out on the lawn, be prepared for intense, direct sunlight. The “Barn, Community Garden, Off-leash Area, riverside trails, and skatepark” are all a bit off the beaten-path. To find them, continue south beyond the parking area – down closer to the river. There is parking closer to the older playstructure, skatepark, fishing, baseball fields, etc. – just follow the signs for the “athletic fields.”
Family Tips: No grills, but the picnic tables are like new (very clean). The entire park is spotless and very well maintained by groundskeepers. Definitely bring a picnic here and sit on one of the grassy hills, or eat down by the water. Keep a close eye while you’re kids are on the jungle gym. It’s very easy to get to the top, which is a lot higher off the ground than similar playstructures.
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