Community: Hillhurst – 800 12 St. N.W (South of SAIT)
Parking: reasonably priced street parking as well as a pay parking lot on the north side of the park (You can only access it from 8th avenue from the west). There is also a small free parking lot if you follow the road past the North parking lot. Expect this lot to fill up fast on a hot day.
Park Features: Picnic sites, washroom (seasonal), water fountains (seasonal), concession (seasonal, independently operated). Riley Park wading pool and accessible playground, Senator Patrick Burns Memorial Gardens at the NE corner of the park; Stage with free concerts during the summer; home to the Calgary cricket league.
Overall: Riley Park is a very popular spot for families during the summer. We’ve been there a number of times to play at the park and wade in the pool. It’s my favorite wading pool in the city in large part due to the plentiful shade. I’d never explored the park beyond those features until this summer, but the rock gardens are definitely worth taking a look at.
There is small free lot further along past the pay lot at the North end of the park – it is right behind the wading pool.
The wading pool had varying levels of depth, an island in the middle and lots of trees (full review of the Riley Park wading pool).
To the west of the wading pool, you can find lots of trees, grassy areas as well as some benches and picnic tables.
To the South West end of the park, you’ll find a stage where summer concerts are performed as well as the playground (full review of Riley Park playground).
In the centre of the park to the East of the wading pool, is the home of the Calgary Cricket Club and a cricket pitch.
In the South East corner there are beautiful flower gardens with some seating.
The view from the flower gardens towards the rock gardens.
This picnic table is at the bottom of the rock gardens. You can either enter the rock gardens by climbing the hill behind it, or you can walk along 10th St and there are a number of entrances from the sidewalk.
The rock gardens were constructed in the 1950s and are named after Senator Patrick Burns, one of the Big Four who founded the Stampede. The gardens used more than 20,000 pieces of flagstone from his mansion as the rocks for the garden.
I hadn’t thought this would be a great spot for young kids, but I was pleasantly surprised. Gordie loved walking up the uneven flagstone walkways. The walkways wind around and are pretty interesting to explore.
There’s a seating area with a couple of benches part way up the hill.
View of 14th St. from the benches
This is the pathway down to the picnic table at the base of the rock gardens.
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