Monday, Sept. 10, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Summer is nearing its end, which in the Las Vegas Valley means it’s safe to spend time outdoors again.
What better way to take a break from the air-conditioned confines of the home and spend time with the family than a day at a park? With hundreds of parks spread throughout the valley, however, the options can be overwhelming.
To make the decision-making process easier, the Sun spoke with the Henderson, North Las Vegas and Las Vegas parks departments to find what they consider their most favorite parks. Here is a list of some of the most popular parks spread throughout Las Vegas:
O’Callaghan Park, 601 Skyline Road, Henderson
Sometimes all that’s needed for an escape from the confines of home is a field of grass. Henderson Parks and Recreation Department spokeswoman Kim Becker said O’Callaghan Park had the power to make its visitors forget they live in the desert. The park features a modest three-slide playground and some athletic courts, but the reason to visit is the 20 acres of grass and the trees. The area is a perfect place to play catch or let the children to run around, and later, enjoy a picnic in the shade.
Nature Discovery Park, 2627 Nature Park Drive, North Las Vegas
Unlike many other parks that focus on slides, jungle gyms and athletic courts, this park has dinosaurs … or at least a dinosaur-themed dig site. North Las Vegas Parks and Recreation supervisor Kim Leavitt says kids can dig for dinosaur bones while parents set up camp underneath one of the many picnic gazebos. There is also a large pond equipped with waterfalls. While Nature Discovery Park may be a bit of a travel for some families who don’t live in North Las Vegas, it is a trip Leavitt highly recommends.
Centennial Hills Park, 7101 N. Buffalo Drive, Las Vegas
At 120 acres, this mammoth-sized park offers a variety of activities for children to let off some excess energy while also sneakily educating them. City of Las Vegas spokesman Jace Radke said the playground was filled with giant flower structures and butterflies giving it an “Alice in Wonderland” feel. It also has a fossil trail along a dry riverbed where children can learn about the woolly mammoths and other extinct animals whose fossils were found there.
Sandstone Ridge, 1661 W. Hammer Lane, North Las Vegas
Located within the upper plateaus of the Lower Las Vegas Wash Detention Basin, Sandstone Ridge Park is perfect for children that love to skateboard or ride BMX, said North Las Vegas Parks and Recreation supervisor Kim Leavitt. The park also has lighted soccer fields, basketball courts and a baseball diamond. For families wanting to take a leisurely walk, the park is also the trailhead for the city’s Regional Trail System. With its unique location near the basin, this park is a hidden gem in North Las Vegas, Leavitt said.
Mission Hills Park, 551 E. Mission Drive, Henderson
While Mission Hills Park has a playground, field of grass and basketball courts, Becker said the real draw of the park is its splash pad. The pad is equipped with palm trees, mini arches and tiny holes in the ground for children to run around and get soaked to the bone. Meanwhile, parents can set up camp underneath a picnic gazebo just out of reach from the jets of water springing from the pad. It does not, however, offer protection from sopping wet kids.
Charlie Kellogg and Joe Zaher Sports Complex, 7901 W. Washington Ave., Las Vegas
Charlie Kellogg and Joe Zaher Sports Complex, with 11 lighted soccer fields, 23 tennis courts (including one with stadium seating) and a 2.5-mile track, might be one of the largest sports park in Las Vegas, said Jace Radke, spokesman for the city of Las Vegas. The park offers plenty of space and opportunity for children and parents to compete in a variety of sports or hone their skills. It also has three dog parks, perfect for the family pet to stretch its legs.