Desert - Palm Springs - Palm Desert Civic Center Park
Touring * Beginner * Historic *
From Interstate 10 at Thousand Palms, take the Monterey Avenue exit and head south for five miles to Fred Waring Drive, just past the College of the Desert. Turn left on Waring and then left again at San Pablo Avenue, next to the civic center. Turn right halfway up the block and park at the Community Center parking lot.
You won't find many community parks that are as beautiful (or as well funded) as Palm Desert Civic Center Park. To make up for the necessary functional design of the north side's many tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts and four well-appointed baseball diamonds (what happens when the kids all take up roller hockey?), the park's planners embellished it with a pond--complete with lily pads and two bridges--a variety of large sculptures, two colorful children's sandlots, a Holocaust memorial, and an impressive amphitheater that almost reflects in shape the silhouette of Mount San Jacinto, visible in the distance. This park even has a "Canine Common," a fenced-in area (supplied with ample tennis balls) where dogs are allowed to roam off leash. Unruly pooches and female dogs in heat are specifically forbidden according to the rules posted outside. All of this civic bounty is spread out in an oasis of diverse and interesting trees, shrubs, cactus, and lawns. The more exotic floral varieties are labeled with small descriptive signs. When you add in the extra-wide version of those ubiquitous perfect Palm Springs sidewalks and good nighttime lighting, Civic Center Park becomes a skater's dream. But, just like the dogs, skaters must obey certain restrictions: make sure you stay off the ramps of the amphitheater and don't go out on the basketball and tennis courts, where a clearly posted sign states that skates are not allowed. As you roll along the sidewalks, at every intersection you will see directions that are well marked on large chunks of rock that are decorated with renderings of ancient Indian paintings. Beware of slippery concrete--there is always a sprinkler turned on somewhere. Take the sidewalk on the east border of the park north to the edge of the date palm grove. The trees here are oddly short compared to most that you see in the Coachella Valley. After your tour of the park, if you feel a need to stretch out on the open space of wide asphalt streets, skate on Magnesia Falls Drive next to the date palm grove or take a few laps around the median divider strip on San Pablo Avenue; traffic is light there when the College of the Desert is not in session.
Aug 1, 1995
Aug 1, 1995