Playgrounds in the Mat-Su

     One of my kids’ favorite past times is exploring playgrounds.  In the Mat-Su Valley we have many playgrounds to explore.  Every elementary school has one, which are mostly open to peruse during the summer and evenings during the school year.  Here are some of the local public playgrounds we have visited:  Iditapark, Nunley Park, Meadow Lakes Park, Newcomb Park Wasilla Lake, Lake Lucille Park, Matanuska River Park, and Jay Nolfi Fish Creek Park.

Meadow Lakes Park - 1205 N. Kim Dr., Wasilla, AK 99623

     This is the newest park we have visited, only two years old.  Senior housing overlooks this playground, which is surrounded by a soccer field, baseball field, basketball court, and tennis court.  While we were visiting, there was only one other family at a time.  This place is a hidden gem.  My kids loved the swing sets “Underdog, please.” and the seat that spins in a circle, also the tire swing and the music instruments they could play.  

"Underdog, please."

My Kids

Nunley Park Wasilla - 250 E Swanson Ave, Wasilla, AK 99654

     Wasilla has a couple great parks right in the city.  Nunley Park is my favorite for being in the city and not crowded as the other playgrounds can be, as well as having a train for the kids to climb on, and having good visibility of where your kids are on the equipment.  The pavilions at the parks in Wasilla can be reserved if you want to have a family BBQ or birthday party.  To reserve you drop by City Hall and fill out paperwork, most of them are free to reserve.  

Newcomb Park Wasilla Lake - 891 E Parks Hwy, Wasilla, AK 99654

Wasilla Lake Newcomb Park is in the heart of Wasilla.  Traffic passes nearby.  The lake calls and on a sunny day many families can be seen enjoying the shores of Wasilla lake.  This playground sports a smaller and bigger kid area, a merry-go-round for four or more, a music making stand, and an open field to toss frisbee’s (sp?) or play tag.  This is where I learned from whom the town of Wasilla got it’s name and where I look as I drive by to see the fire danger in Wasilla.  This is where I daydream I will bring my kids and future kayaks to while away an afternoon.  In the past there have been stand up kayak rentals, cardboard boat regattas, crew regattas, and yoga in the park events held here.  

Jay Nolfi Fish Creek Park - 4132 S. Casey Dr., Big Lake, Ak

     Do you know what is even better than a park named after a person who made a difference, dedicated post humously? A park recognizing someone who has made a difference dedicated while they are living.  This Big Lake playground is such a park, honoring Jay Nolfi for her volunteer and leadership over the years to the Big Lake community.  Fish Creek runs out of the South End of Big Lake and quickly slows down and makes s-curves, as the land is gently sloping.  One of my bucket list items is to float or kayak the creeks up here.  

     This park has three pavilions, two smaller ones and one large one near the entrance, each with picnic table(s) and a bbq.  The water is on the edge of a grassy clearing.  There are life jackets for kids if you forgot to bring yours.  There is usually a dock lookout, but in 2019 it was falling apart and was taken out, and hasn’t been replaced yet.  There is a grassy clearing between the volleyball court and the slides.  There are tire swings and my daughter’s favorite swings, with the leg holes so she isn’t in danger of falling out.  

Matanuska River Park - 925 E Arctic Ave, Palmer, AK 99645

Lake Lucille Park - 1401 S Endeavor St, Wasilla, AK 99654

Iditapark - 594 W Nelson Ave #220, Wasilla, AK 99654

     My kids love this park.  It is my least favorite playground.  When I was in a rhythm and running 3-4 miles most days with my baby in a stroller, I loved Iditapark because it is a compound with playground, volleyball courts, tennis courts, bike/skate ramps, pavilions, basketball courts, had a Wednesday market, and all this was surrounded by a mile of sidewalk I could run around three times.  The reason I don’t like this playground is because of the castle railings and multiple routes.  I’ll be watching my kid and they will go down a path and I’ll lose them, they’ll pop out of an unexpected area 10-30 seconds later, but in the mean time my paranaoid Mom side worries.  I have event BBQ’s every year at one of the pavilions, which you can reserve at Wasilla City Hall, for no charge.  On this day, we stumbled on MEA’s (our local electric company) customer appreciation icecream social!  They hired The Original Gourmet Icecream Bars, Inc. to give out icecream to folks for two hours, spoiler alert, it was yummy!