Encanto Park

Phoenix Point of Pride

 

2605 N. 15th Ave.
15th Avenue & Encanto Blvd. (602) 261-8991

Boating Concession (602) 254-1520
Reservations (602) 261-8991
Enchanted Island (602) 254-2020
 

Encanto Park has been named on Forbes Magazine's list of America's Best City Park. This 222-acre oasis with picnic areas, a lagoon, boat house, swimming pool, nature trail, urban fishing and two golf courses. The park is an emerald-like jewel just a few blocks from the busy central corridor. The municipal golf courses offer modest fees and are busy all year long. The lagoon offers paddle boats and canoes as well as fishing and an opportunity to observe ducks and other waterfowl. The facility also features a softball diamond, and basketball and tennis courts. Encanto (Spanish for "enchanted") Park is a favorite Valley spot for weekend picnics and cookouts.

Amenities include lighted handball/ racquetball, picnic area, playground, pool, lighted softball, recreation office, restrooms, lighted volleyball, lighted tennis courts, grills, fishing lagoon. The Park also is home to Enchanted Island Amusement Park with a host of rides for children ages 2 to 10 years old.

Park Hours: from 5:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.
 

 

Sports Complex-
Regular Hours
7 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week.
Hours may vary on City Holidays, call (602) 261-8443 for holiday updates.

Summer Hours (Memorial Day - Labor Day)
Open 6 a.m.-12 p.m.
Closed 12-5 p.m.
Open 5-10 p.m.
Hours may vary on city Holidays, call (602) 261-8443 for holiday updates

Encanto Park

Picnic Areas
If your get-together is less that 50 people, you are providing your own supplies and are not having alcohol, inflatable jumpers, amplified sound or any other special equipment you do not need a reservation. Most of the picnic & gathering areas in the park are first come first served and you are welcome to use them whenever they are available. *Radios and MP3 players with small portable speakers are OK at all picnic areas. Sound must not impact any other park users or park neighbors.

DJs, microphones, large speakers need a sound permit and are allowed on Amphitheater Island only.

If you are (any of the following): expecting more than 50 people, having beer at your event, bringing an inflatable jumper, having amplified sound, using a vendor to provide anything (tables, chairs, food, stage, sound, tents, lighting, etc.), using a generator for power, inviting the general public to attend, advertising the event on any media (on-line, radio, TV, newspaper, etc.) you must seek prior approval of your event by submitting a Special Activity Request. Permits, fees and reservations may be required. Click here to see more information on planning a gathering at a Phoenix Park.

There are two reservable picnic areas at Encanto Park. They are located on Amphitheater Island and are called Amp Island 1 & Amp Island 2. They can be reserved separately or together. Each side is comprised of 6 picnic tables and a grill. Amplified sound is allowed at this location with a permit. Reserved together the two picnic areas can accommodate up to 300 people. Currently there is no charge for reserving AMP Island. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance.

There is no access to electricity in the park. Animal activities like pony rides and petting zoos are not allowed at Encanto Park. Water activities like dunk tanks, water balloon fights and slip-n-slides are not allowed at Encanto Park.

Encanto Park Contacts:

Sports Complex

2121 N. 15th Ave

(602) 261-8443

Park Manager's Office

2605 N. 15th Ave

(602) 495-5608 

Norton House

2700 N.15th Ave

(602) 262-6412

Enchanted Island

1202 N. Encanto Blvd

(602) 254-1200

Boat Rentals

1202 N. Encanto Blvd

(602) 254-1520

Valley Garden Center

1809 N. 15th Ave

(602) 252-2120

Encanto 9-hole Golf

2300 N. 17th Ave

(602) 262-6870

Encanto 18-hole Golf

2745 N. 15th Ave

(602) 534-6823

Encanto Pool

2125 N. 15th Ave

(602) 261-8732

Natural Resource Office

2705 N. 15th Ave

(602) 495-5458 

Reservation Line

(602) 261-8991

Park Foreman Office

(report safety issues)

(602) 261-8992

Encanto Park Clubhouse

Encanto Park - The Enchanted Place

Encanto Park is a 222 acre oasis in the heart of Phoenix that was the brainchild of William G. Hartranft, a millionaire philanthropist and president of the first Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board, who envisioned a park on the scale of Balboa in San Diego or Gold Gate in San Francisco. To that end he convinced the parks board to acquire some 200 acres of property outside the city limits (at the time) in the area of 15th Avenue and Thomas Road.

The property was purchased from J.W. Dorris, owner of the Noble building in downtown Phoenix and substantial property owner in the Encanto and Palmcroft areas.

 

Encanto Park Clubhouse circa 1936

The remainder of the park property was purchased from Dr. Norton, a Phoenix veterinarian, whose home and carriage house at 2700 North 15th Avenue are now used as offices for the Parks and Recreation Department.

Construction of the park began in 1935. The clubhouse, lagoon, boat dock, 18-hole golf course, band shell, playground areas, tennis and horseshoe courts and archery range took three years to complete.

 

Early image of the bandshell with band shell in background

 

 

In 1946, members of the Valley Garden Center struck a 99-year deal with the City of Phoenix to lease a 3-acre strip of land just south of Encanto Park of $1. In 1948, they raised the money to build the center, opening it in early 1949. With two large gathering rooms, a kitchen and nearly 3-acres of lush, mature grounds, and a 100 year old mesquite tree, the garden is a popular setting for club meetings, weddings, receptions and business meetings.

The swimming pool, more tennis courts and a softball field were added in 1951. In 1956 two lagoon bridges were added.

Originally, a fine dinning room was planned for the clubhouse. However, citizen opposition to the granting of a liquor license killed the idea and a coffee house was created instead. The remaining space was used as a private banquet room available by reservation for parties and catered events, until it was closed for refurbishing in 1981.

Renovation of the clubhouse was the first stage in the park's redevelopment and included the addition of an elevator. Exterior stucco was removed to reveal the original brick walls of the building.

The park's south side was renovated in 1982. New game courts replaced the archery range and parking and play equipment were added.

Reconstruction of the north side began in 1986 and included revamping the lagoon and channel systems, building new restrooms, sidewalks, and a boathouse and adding lights and play equipment. The band-shell burned down in December of 1986, arson was suspected.

The Sports Complex received new paint, benches, tables, restrooms fixtures and court resurfacing in 2007. Ongoing renovations at Encanto Park include; Enchanted Island complete re-roofing, a monument and fence project in cooperation with the Friends of Encanto Park and a campus wide sign package to unite all components of the park.

 

Historic Norton House
 

Norton House 1912 c

*It was just a small town of 8,000 people, city limits from seventh Street to Seventh Avenue and from Van Buren to Jackson Streets containing 31 saloons - - Phoenix, 1892.

But even in those days, its bright sun and clear air were attracting new citizens. Among the new arrivals that year was Dr. James C. Norton of Ames, Iowa. He left a position as assistant professor at Iowa State College to come west for his health and in the ensuring years become one of the area's outstanding residents.

Today hundreds of cars daily stream by 2700 North 15th Avenue, his lovely home that once stood in the center of his 200 acre dairy ranch in the countryside west of town.

Dr. Norton was a son of a prosperous Iowa cattle grower. After finishing first in his class of veterinary medicine, he stayed on as an assistant professor until he moved to Phoenix and opened his practice here. That same year he married his Iowa sweetheart - Miss Clara Tufts.

In 1912, he resigned as territorial veterinarian to establish the Norton Dairy. The spacious home was built shortly after for his wife, sons James, Oakley, and the late Victor, and his late daughter Marietta.

The cool green spacious front lawn was a frequent setting for croquet, and to the rear of the home was a large fruit orchard of plum, peach and apricot trees.

One enters the house over a wide porch. Double doors are topped with fan windows of Georgian period. The living room entry had a fireplace of gray stone on the east wall. To the south was a library and north, beyond sliding doors, a roomy dining room. Here the wainscoting, large built-in buffet and beams echo the mahogany woodwork of the other downstairs rooms. Over the buffet, light streams through a leaded glass window highlighted with stained glass sprays of grapes and vines. The same motif is repeated in all paints on the dark beams of the ceiling.

A walk-through pantry and china closets separate dining room and kitchen. Also on the first floor were a Maid's room and bathe and rear screen porches.

Upstairs were five bedrooms, one of which had its own fireplace, and a large bathroom off a wide center hall. Two screened sleeping porches ran the length of the house across the back.

To the west of the home was a large two-car garage and laundry room. It was roofed in Spanish tile to match the house.

Before Dr. Norton sold his property, the house boasted one of the country's earliest coolers. This was a large bin effect covered with coke and fiber glass which was kept wet. Electric fans inside drew the dampened air through a basement window into the home.

A June 7, 1934 issue of the Arizona Republic shows figures for the proposed Encanto Park land purchases with labor to be done by the Public Works Administration. The Norton property to be bought by the city was 104 acres and the price of $250 per acre, and the remainder of the property as subdivided into the Del Norte Estates.

The City of Phoenix, Parks and Recreation took over the property in the spring of 1935.

 

Encanto Park Bandshell

 

Encanto Park History - Bandshell

From Arizona Republic January 1, 1987

Arson suspected in Encanto band-shell blaze
The Encanto Park band shell, a 50-year-old Phoenix landmark scheduled to be razed during the park's renovation, was destroyed Wednesday morning by a fire that authorities say may have been a case of arson.

The structure, visible from Encanto Boulevard near 12th Avenue, was rubble just minutes after Phoenix Fire Department units were sent to the park about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, said Gordon Routley, an assistant to the fire chief.

"The band shell was just roaring, the whole thing was going, including the palm trees around it," said Routley, who arrived before the first engine because he was already on duty in the area, arranging for emergency crews to stand by at the Fiesta Bowl parade. 

"The arched roof over the top was coming down just about the time I got there," he said. "It was very obvious from the first sight we had of it that the band shell was a bye bye."

Routley said the band shell apparently was torched.

"Officially, the cause is under investigation," he said. "There is a possibility that a flammable liquid was used, but there has been no official determination at this time."

The northern end of the park where the band shell was located, is fenced off for a major renovation project.

"There was not enough money to rebuild the band shell, but they were going to put down a footprint or foundation and then build a shell later, something that looked very similar to what we had," said Yvonne Garrett, a spokesperson for the Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library department.

"The consultant's report indicated that it was in very poor shape," she said. "Much of the material was poor when it was built in the 1930s."

Garrett said the band shell was substandard because it was built with whatever materials were on hand.


Art in the Park

Winged Horse bronze sculpture

Winged Horse
Artist: Snell Johnson
Completion Date: March 19, 1989
Medium: bronze

The Winged Horse bronze sculpture is located at the entrance circle to Enchanted Island. Sculpture Snell Johnson (creator of the worlds largest bonze sculpture; the MGM Grand Lion in Las Vegas) was commissioned to create the bronze as a gift to the City of Phoenix by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Southern Arizona as a reminder of the foundation's mission - giving wings to a child's dream.

 

World Progress through Scientific Research in the Laboratory
Artist: Charles Badger Martin
Completion Date: March 1957
Medium: cement bonded quartz, with lead & brass figurines

The World Progress through Scientific Research in the Laboratory brass sculpture is located facing 15th Ave between the entrance to the clubhouse parking lot and the golf course parking lot. Artist Charles Badger Martin created the sculpture that was bequeathed by Mrs. Helen B. Rogers to the City of Phoenix in 1957.

 

Mr. Potato Head Rises Over Phoenix

 

Mr. Potato Head Rises Over Phoenix
Artist: Peter Shire
Completion Date: April 1991
Medium: concrete, polychrome enameled metal

The project was designed collaboratively between landscape architects at Cell Barr Associates, Jones and Mah Architects, and artist Peter Shire, all of whom worked to ensure that the park would be accessible and safe while promoting the spirit of exploration. Children living in the Encanto area were asked to draw pictures of an adventure that they would like to take part in. The resulting sketches included rapids and rafts, ships which were connected by communication tubes, and a crow's nest made of climbing equipment, just to name a few. These ideas were then transformed into the features that now make up the features surrounding the playground.

Big Horn Sheep Petroglyph
Carved into one of the rocks along the waters edge is a petroglyph - see if you can find it.


Awards and Honors

 

America's Best City Parks, Forbes by Rob Baedeker 11.18.09

There's a unique sense of peace and quiet to be found in the middle of some of the country's busiest places.

Central Park, New York

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Grant Park, Chicago

Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Post Office Square, Boston

Audubon Park, New Orleans

Cal Anderson Park, Seattle

Boston Common, Boston

Encanto Park, Phoenix

Patterson Park, Baltimore

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta

Balboa Park, San Diego

Encanto Park, Phoenix
Listing this 222-acre space on its Points of Pride, the City of Phoenix calls Encanto an "emerald-like jewel just a few blocks from the busy central corridor." Harnik calls the park an "old-fashioned, modest park" with charming attractions including boat rentals and an amusement park. -Forbes


New Times Best Park for Pickup Basketball 2009
Encanto Park
2605 North 15th Avenue
602-261-8443

Some may take issue with giving this award to a place that charges for an activity that's typically free, but look at it this way: The hoopin' has gotta be good if it's all pay-to-play (not much, only a few duckets). Encanto is Phoenix's one-and-only spot for finding legendary pickup games that parallel those found in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Said another way, you'll rarely find armchair hoopers trying to work out their remote-control elbow on this concrete court. Basketballing hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

 

Phoenix Point of Pride

 

We are proud to present the 32 favorite Points of Pride in Phoenix. The Points of Pride locations are places you'd be proud to tell your friends and visitors not to miss when they're in town. Or you may want to take your family on an outing to enjoy Phoenix's most popular landmarks.
The Points of Pride consist of parks, cultural facilities, historic residences and mountain peaks. All these unique locations are found within Phoenix city limits and contribute to the quality of life in the Valley.
The first Points of Pride campaign kicked off in 1992 with the unveiling of the Points of Pride sign. More than 150 locations, suggested by the public, were narrowed to 40. Eventually 25 sites were selected, each displaying one or more signs on their property to recognize their designation. Four more campaigns were held in 1996, 2000, 2004 and the most recent in 2008.

The Phoenix Points of Pride program was initiated by the Phoenix Pride Commission, created in 1991 to foster a sense of community pride among Valley residents. For more information, call 602-262-7177.

#11 Encanto Park 
2745 N. 15th Ave., 602-261-8991
Encanto Park is a 222-acre oasis with picnic areas, a lagoon, boat house, swimming pool, nature trail, Kiddieland/Enchanted Island amusement park, urban fishing and two golf courses. The park is an emerald-like jewel just a few blocks from the busy central corridor. The municipal golf courses offer modest fees and are busy all year long. The lagoon offers paddle boats and canoes as well as fishing and an opportunity to observe ducks and other waterfowl. The facility also features a softball diamond, and basketball and tennis courts. Encanto (Spanish for "enchanted") Park is a favorite Valley spot for weekend picnics and cookouts.
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