This hidden treasure of green space, picnic area and playground in Kenmore has so much to offer on it’s 13 acres of space, but unless you’ve heard about it, you’d never know it was there. Rhododendron Park is a great alternative to your local playground. With a little something for everyone, it’s no wonder why this sweet family destination is a favorite hidden gem. 

When to go:
To see the rhododendrons in bloom, go in late spring to summer with warmer weather and longer days. But enjoy the park anytime on dry, temperate days. It’s a park that has something for everyone looking to get outside soak up the sun.

Travel time:
Located at the top of Lake Washington, 13 miles NE of downtown Seattle in Kenmore, it will take 20-25 minutes in normal traffic.

What to see/do:
Kids can play in one of two areas on new, colorful play equipment designed for tots or older kids.  Ringing the two play areas is a paved walkway that can double as a scooter, trike or bike track. Behind the tot’s play area is a natural sandbox with a covered picnic area and large open green space nearby for throwing Frisbees, playing tag, enjoying a picnic or spinning in circles while singing “The hills are alive…”.  But if you want to practice your free throw shots, bring your basketball as there is a basketball court on the far side of the green space. There are also pedestrian access trails and walkways which add to the charm of this park. Lastly a deluxe heated bathroom with a diaper changing station is a welcome luxury on cool days.

Need to know:
The tot play area gets a lot of direct sun so test the slides for heat on hot, sunny days. Even if it isn’t so sunny, it’s still a good idea to bring sunscreen to protect against the not so fun UV rays.  There is a small parking lot which can fill up at busy times or on weekends.

Possible lunch spots:
You really have your pick of lunch spots all along Bothell Way which is just north of the park.  But for some kid-friendly and budget-friendly ideas, try Kenmore Safeway to get picnic supplies, Jet City Pizza, Pagliacci Pizza or Kidd Valley Burgers all within a mile of the park (on Bothell Way). But if you feel like the day calls for a family picnic complete with basket and blanket, there’s plenty of space on the grass for that.

How to dress:
Layers are always a good plan for any outdoor Seattle-area park. Just make sure they’re comfortable clothes so you can move around for those impromptu games of tag.

6910 NE 170th Street
Kenmore, Wa 98028
Online:  (scroll halfway down)

— Kali Sakai