Shelley Lake Playground

img_2656With our weekly trips (if not more frequent) to Shelley Lake for Stroller Strides classes, I finally took pictures of the playground area.  Shelley Park is conveniently located in central North Raleigh at 1400 W Millbrook Rd.  There are two entrances on Millbrook Road – one large parking lot near the Sertoma Arts Center/playground and the other just down the street with a smaller parking lot for jumping right on the walking trail around Shelley Lake.  To reach the playground, park in the Sertoma Arts Center parking lot and walk down the paved trail where you’ll see the playground on the right.

The playground area is rather large with separate jungle gyms for ages 2-5 and 5-12 that are covered with wood chips.  The tot playground has several slides, a few climbing structures, and nearby teeter totters in the sandy area.  The youth playground has a climbing wall, steeper slides, a suspension bridge, an enclosed slide, and several climbing structures.  There are also four tot swings and four regular swings in the large sandy areas.

Other than the playground the park has picnic tables, basketball courts, a walking/running trail around the lake, and an arts center with lots of programs for people of all ages.  Ashley took a Mini Monet art class when she was about 18 months old and had a great time – while there wasn’t a lot of painting, it was a great introductory class to colors, shapes, sensory objects and following directions!

As most parks indicate, please lock and hide all valuables or take them with you – I have a friend whose car was broken into at this park.

Thumbs up: tons of picnic tables, suspension bridge on large jungle gym, shady, variety of slides

Thumbs down: not much for non-walking kids to play on, frequent trash around basketball courts (c’mon folks, throw your trash away in the nearby trashcans)

Shelley Lake

Shelley Lake is a large park in the North Raleigh area. It is located at 1400 W Millbrook Rd and is a popular place to walk and run, especially in the evenings. The lake is surrounded by a portion of the Bent Creek greenway trail that is 2.08 miles. The Lake Park trail (unpaved .42 miles) also connects off the greenway.  A lot of the trail is shaded, but there are also long stretches of full sun.  When you pull into the parking lot follow the snaking trail to the left where you’ll connect to the greenway.

As we walked around the trail we came across several different things this park has to offer.

The parking lot off Millbrook Rd and signage about the park


Condition of the trail
Pier and boat house
Access to the fishing pier
Restrooms on one side and scenic views on the other
Water fountain outside the restrooms

Beautiful viewing area overlooking lake


Continuing on, you’ll notice that the signage throughout the park is pretty thorough. This park has a lot to offer and it could be easy to get lost along the way. Luckily we didn’t have to leave bread crumbs to help us get back to the parking lot.  The signs direct you to the Lake Park Drive (the unpaved section of the greenway), the Sertoma Arts Center, restrooms, and the Shelley Lake Trail around the lake.  We didn’t venture up to the Arts Center, but it has a plethora of adult and youth art classes available.

As you continue on the trail, you’ll come across a wooden bridge where you can stop to take pictures and visit with the ducks and geese.  Here are some pictures of Ashley with her own Duckie Wubbanub.

In addition to the amenities listed above this park also contains benches along the trail, workout stations, large open fields, and additional access to the other portions of the greenway trail.  Here are some more spectacular views of the lake and open fields.

Thumbs up:  spectacular views, great jogging trail, signage, access to other greenway trails, art center

Thumbs down: popular spot so it’ll be busy, litter in the lake