Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Saturday (or any day) in the Park- Murray Park

When you get to be my age (ok, I'm not that old) reaching back into your childhood becomes an exercise in selective memory. Those things you tend to remember are those that had the biggest impact on your life- good or bad. Among some of my fond memories are the many visits that I made to Murray Park with family, friends and one or two dates.

I learned to ski there (mostly I learned how to fall off my skies). I remember playing on the old World War II airplane, sliding down the twisty slide and hiding in the cement igloos. We went to the Salt Lake County Fair at the park and swam in Little Cottonwood Creek on hot summer days and ice skated in the winter. I took a date on a picnic to the park once and forgot to bring along the food.

The old airplane is gone, as are the twisty slide and cement igloos. The Salt Lake County Fair has been moved to a new location in the valley, but, Murray Park has only gotten better with age.

The park is somewhat hidden from the main streets that surround it and when you're in the park you feel like you are nowhere near a urban area. No matter where you are in the park, you can only see small portions at a time, making the park seem deceptively small. This is a park that literally has surprises around each turn in the path.

There is a rose garden and statue of Chief Wasatch at the State Street entrance to the park. Just a little further in is a large Gazebo (which can be rented for parties) surround by a large grassy area and a beautiful arboretum with walking paths winding through it.

Across the road from the arboretum and grassy play area is the Park Center, an aquatic and fitness center (there are extra charges for using the facilities). Just up the road is the outdoor ice rink (available only in the winter) and a great children's playground- even the a. Across the street from the playground is the outdoor pool that has a large waterslide (entrance fee applies).

The wide expanse of park behind the outdoor pool is one of my favorite areas of the park. It has several large, open areas for playing football, soccer or flying a kite. The the area is broken up by a large hill in the west-central area. Kids love this hill for running and rolling down in the warm months and sledding down in the winter. That hill is where I first strapped on a pair of skis.

This is the area that has some more fun playgrounds and pavilions with picnic tables. To the south of this area is the amphitheater, hidden back among the trees. During the summer, plays and musicals are performed in front of large audiences.

Murray Park has been around for a long time, as attested by the huge trees all through the park that offer shade for picnickers and parents resting while their children play. With the popularity of this park in the center of the Salt Lake Valley, I look for this park to just get better with age.

Place: Murray Park
Location: 296 East Murray Park Lane, Murray, UT
Phone: 801.264.2614 (Murray Parks Department)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Cost: FREE- some activities in the park do have associated fees, such as the Ice Rink, Swimming Pools, and the Amphitheater.

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Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 9.0 miles
Ogden: 44.4 miles
Provo: 37.2 miles
Logan: 89.1 miles

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