Cary Parks #4: Walnut Street

Part 4 in our Cary Parks series. 

Cary, NC — As one of the busiest streets in Wake County, Walnut Street is usually associated with traffic, stop lights, and shopping centers. However, in 2002, the Town of Cary decided to change that perception and purchased 11 acres of undeveloped land at the intersection of Lawrence Road and Walnut Street. The result is one of the most interesting and beautifully designed parks in Cary – Walnut Street Park.

Walnut Street Park

It is obvious to even the first time visitor that the Town of Cary paid attention to every detail of this park. The most notable feature here is the intricate brick trail known as the Imaginary Garden Promenade. Starting at the parking lot, guests can stroll down the bench-lined trail that cuts the park in half to arrive at a round pavilion facing Walnut Street.

The weaving brick patterns are truly a work of art, accented by sleek silver benches with similar curved lines.

Along the way, guests will notice a number of artistically painted birdhouses and large stone dice. Trails then continue from either side of the pavilion: one running along side Lawrence Road back to the parking lot, another circling the backside of the park and providing views of the natural wetlands left intact by the designers.

Adjacent to the parking lot are two sizable playgrounds, each with a picnic shelter.

However, sitting atop the rubberized surfaces are no ordinary jungle gyms. Walnut Street Park is the only park in Cary to feature Nexus playground equipment. These futuristic-looking apparatus provide children with new ways to climb, spin and play in ways traditional playground equipment cannot. Of course no good park would be complete without swings, of which six can be found.

A more conventional play set provides entertainment for toddlers as well as a large sandbox with metal digging scoops. There is also a set of three balance beams and a collection of plastic platforms to play on. Restrooms are close by along with a water fountain.

For the athletically inclined, a 1.4 acre open field offers plenty of space for full-sided games of football or soccer. Onlookers can relax at a handful of picnic tables at the top of a nearby hill between the field and playgrounds. A basketball court is in the works (as noted on the map at the park’s entrance), but as of this writing has not been completed.

Walkers and joggers are able to keep track of their mileage knowing that 2 ½ laps on the paved trail around the park equates one mile.

It is also easy to arrive here on foot or by bike as Lawrence Road is a short distance from the Pirate’s Cove Greenway, which is planned to be extended into the park in the future.

Even though the park is located on one of Cary’s most traveled thoroughfares, it is easy to ignore the traffic with so many fun things to do. With outstanding equipment, incredible amenities and abundant art Walnut Street Park is well worth a visit.

Inventory / Facilities

4 jungle gyms
Sandbox with 2 diggers
4 swings
2 bucket swings
3 balance beams
Plastic platforms for jumping
Padded surface
2 shelters, 4 tables
Water fountain

Brick courtyard, 6 benches

Open field surrounded by benches
3 picnic tables overlooking field

Parking: bike racks, lot, street


Walnut Street Park
1420 Walnut St.
Cary, NC 27511



Story and photos by Zach Hayes. Read more in our Cary Parks series.