I can't tell you how many times I've driven by Walnut Street Park in Cary on my way to Cary Towne Center and various other stops in town.
I finally stopped at the park last month on a slow weekday morning with my girls. As with most Cary parks that I've been to, I'm glad I finally went!
This 11-acre park on Walnut Street between the Crossroads shopping area and Cary Towne Center features a paved trail; playgrounds; and open space for picnics and general running around.
The play area for older kids, in particular, stands out because it features a newer style of play equipment with ropes for climbing and pieces that spin kids around. When I look at pieces like this, I have no idea what to do. When my seven-year-old sees it, she immediately hops on and is crawling all over it like a monkey.
Across a landscaped area and paved walkway, you'll find a play area for preschoolers. This side is much more traditional with small slides; a sand area; balance beams (which I wish we saw more of); and belt and bucket swings (there are belt swings also on the side for older kids).
My only complaint about the playground here: It's hard to keep track of two kids (or more) if each want to play on an opposite side of the play area.
Another plus with this park: The paved loop trail. A brick walkway takes you from the playground to a large 1.4 acre open space lawn (a great place for balls, cartwheels, somersaults and picnics). From there, it leads you to a brick pedestrian promenade (which sits right off very busy Walnut Street). The brick walkway turns into a paved trail that passes through a forested area and to a small boardwalk where you can view wetlands.
According to Cary's website, one mile equals 2.5 trips around the loop. If you're a runner, this would be a great place to take the jogging stroller and do some easy laps before stopping for some playtime. There is plenty of parking here in a lot off Lawrence Road, along with bathrooms right next to the play area for younger children.
For a closer look, watch my video tour. Walnut Street Park is located at 1420 Walnut St., Cary.