Location (maps at the end of the post)
Community: East Village – 1300 Zoo Rd. NE (you can access it by car through the South Zoo parking lot)
Parking: Pay lot parking
Park Features: Playground, washrooms, river wading area, large hill for tobogganing, plaza, picnic areas, pathways.
Overall: St. Patrick’s Island was an under utilized park for many years. Located right next to the South parking lot to the zoo, many Calgarians didn’t even know the park existed. The park has now reopened after an extensive renovation revealing a park that is now an inner city jewel. This park has something for people of all ages and is sure to become a new favourite.
If you are coming to St. Patrick’s Island Park by car, you can park on the East side of the park. The lot is an extension of the South Zoo parking lot.
Beside the parking lot is a lovely plaza area with benches and small tables.
There are some nice views of the river and downtown.
The bridge to the south of the plaza will take you to an elevated boardwalk through wetlands (this area is not 100% complete yet). Beyond the bridge you can access a pathway where you can walk along the river on the south side of the island.
The washrooms are located on the North side of the plaza. You can just see the building in the picture below.
The Northern pathway goes directly to the playground and through the picnic areas. My son was very impressed by this long bench.
The benches throughout the park were locally made and are very unique.
The wetland area wasn’t actually wet yet when we were there.
Along the south side of the park is a little cove and a pathway that has some lovely views of the river.
To the west of the wetlands are the picnic areas.
You can find picnic tables and a few little grills too.
A little further east you’ll find the playground. It’s really different from any other in Calgary right now. My 3 and 6 year old loved it. I was surprised that even my 3 year old was able to navigate her way up the triangle structure and across to the slides. (check out my review of the St. Patrick’s Island Park playground itself)
The photo below is the playground with the new sunshade
Next to the playground is ‘the rise’. A large hill that will be used for tobogganing as well as seating for movies in the park and community events.
There are steep steps on one side.
And a fire pit at the very top.
If nothing is going on the hill is also great for running or rolling down.
Looking back up the slope.
The section between the hill and the wading area is a nice forested area.
And a great view of the Calgary skyline.
At the West end of the island is a look out point and a huge piece of art that is also a light.
You can also access the West side of St. Patrick’s Island on foot or by bike via the St. Patrick’s Bridge.
The Seasonal Breech is a a shallow wading area where people can wade out into channel of river water.
There’s long cement blocks for seating as well as a rocky beach area.
There is not a ton of shade so you may want to bring an umbrella or other sunshade with you.
The wading area itself is truly a natural playground. My kids may have enjoyed this area even more than the playground.
Walking on the rocks can make your feet a bit sore – my kids preferred to walk with their rain boots on. The water moves slowly and both of my kids could easily walk all the way across to the island in the middle.
A bridge separates the wading channel from the rest of the channel shown below.
Have you been to St. Patrick’s Island? What did you think?