Wednesday, August 22, 2012

El Cariso Regional County Park

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
My Cost: FREE!

13100 Hubbard Street
Sylmar, CA 91342

After visiting the Sun Valley Branch Library I decided to take a short drive up to Sylmar. It's not too far, but far enough to give the tired kids a little nap. And Sylmar is my old stomping grounds - the first place I lived (not counting my grandparents' guest room for three weeks,) when I moved to Los Angeles in 2005. I rented a bedroom in a manufactured home park on the hill  that was so small I slept on an air mattress so I could prop it against the wall during the day and have room to play trombone. I used to jog over the Pacoima Canyon wash and around LA Mission College and the park. I remembered the park as large and grassy, and I thought, "what the heck - let's see how it looks now."

I was totally not expecting to find what I did - El Cariso Regional County Park has undergone some major improvements! (Either that, or having kids has trained me to appreciate parks and their amenities much more than I used to, lol!) It... looks... wonderful! I know the Los Angeles area has some beautiful parks, and Griffith Park (famous for the Greek Theater and the Griffith Park Observatory,) and Brookside Park (which surrounds the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena,) are two of the largest and most well-known, if only for their famous landmarks. But what they have here in Sylmar is totally on par with those two parks as far as amenities offered, size, and space. The only thing it's missing is it's own famous landmark. (I suppose the closest thing to a landmark would be Los Angeles Mission College, which is adjacent.)

From the moment we pulled into the driveway I kept looking around going, "Wow, they have that? And that? And they're building a new one of those? And there's another one of those? And the park keeps going?" Seriously, the park is so large that just strolling from our van to the toddler playground and back, (well, taking a small detour, but not much,) we saw:

5 baseball fields (one of which looks college-team worthy)
11 tennis courts 
4 basketball courts 
1 swimming pool
4 playgrounds
1 executive golf course (El Cariso Golf Course) and driving range next door

I'm looking at Google Maps Satellite View right now to see if I can tell what else I might have missed, and mostly seeing just tons of picnic areas. The website says its 79 acres and has a new Fitness Zone with outdoor exercise equipment. And there is a very long list of activities offered. Here is the link again.

I don't know if all County parks are like this, because I can only find one other county park in a 10 mile radius. (Yes, out-of-towners, Los Angeles is the name of the City as well as the County.) So let me just show you a few pictures so you get the idea. This is a park worth going back to!

Looks like a beautiful new community center is underway!

Trying to capture a good view of the tennis courts, and not doing a great job.

More tennis courts with the new building in the background.

Equipment on the toddler playground.

Vivi loves her some swinging!

The pool and adjacent locker-room building, plus beautiful mountains!

Trying to capture the massive feel of this park, plus the basketball courts are in the background.

Another of the playgrounds - this one with equipment for older kids.
Don't forget, I saw two others that I didn't even get close to!

This really is a wonderful park. It feels so wide open. There are plenty of sidewalks for tricycle training too! And I got to practice my Spanish with una abuela who was watching her granddaughters play on the playground with Vivi. All in all, turned out to be a pretty good day!

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