A Stunning Jewel: Exploring Knightdale Station Park

Knightdale Station Park playground with red barn and silo structure and accessible ramp
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There are so many beautiful parks in the Raleigh area and throughout Wake County.  But if there is one that I could highlight as being one of my personal favorites, it would have to be Knightdale Station Park.  Come find out why this beautiful park is the town’s crown jewel!

Knightdale Station Park’s Location

Situated at 810 N. First Avenue in Knightdale, NC, Knightdale Station Park is in the heart of Knightdale’s Old Downtown district.  According to the Knightdale Parks and Rec website, the park is approximately 71 acres and used to be farmland and a plant nursery.  The Norfolk Southern railroad runs alongside the southern portion of the park, although the line is inactive. 

Because of the park’s central location within Knightdale, it is relatively accessible to all towns on the eastern side of Wake County including east or northeast Raleigh, and a short drive from multiple spots on the eastern side of the Triangle. Plenty of parking is available, including EV charging stations and designated food truck parking stations.  Not a moment goes by where I haven’t walked or driven by to see someone out and about on the playground, in the athletic fields, or walking along the greenways.  You can tell it’s the town’s pride.  Now, let’s start diving into some of the amenities!

Is Knightdale Station Park good for kids? Check out The Playground

Because of the history of the land upon which the park sits, the town of Knightdale created Knightdale Station Park to honor its railroad and agricultural legacy with a fun farm and train-themed playground.  If you have a younger train enthusiast in the family, this park is the place to be!  There are so many amazing amenities in this park, but the one that my family and I go to the most (and that is the most requested) has always been the playground. 

A large silo tower that leads to a twisty-turvey yellow slide, a handcrafted natural wooden pergola, chicken coops, railroad tracks along the pathways, a younger children’s train play area, a sandpit with tractor tires, swings (including some more accessible swing options), rocking horses, swivel seats to make kids laugh and then get ridiculously dizzy, it’s all here.  

I’ve got to be honest: when I knew I was going to write about this park, I went out to the playground multiple times to snap pictures, and it was really difficult to get pictures without anyone else’s kids in them because this place is always filled with children and families.

Adjacent to the playground is a pond that is fenced, although it is a post and rail-style fence so this does not prevent kids from getting near the water.  But the pond adds to the ambiance, and as a bonus, today, my son and I saw about 20 baby frogs that must have just cycled out of tadpole status hopping around by the water.  He was thrilled! 

The one other warning that I should mention about the playground is that because of the play structure for the older kids being so solid and enclosed by the silo, sight lines are not the best in that section and can be a bit stressful when your child doesn’t come out when you call for them (most likely because they are distracted with having so much fun)!  However, the remaining areas have better visibility.  

Numerous benches with sail shades or trees provide adequate shade for a hot or tired person to sit and rest while the kids play.  Restrooms are conveniently placed right by the playground, as well as an official parks and recreation communication board announcing all of the upcoming community classes and events.  Do you have a climber with you? If so, plenty of smaller rock boulders align the walkways leading to the playground for those kids who might want to feel the thrill of tackling their first ”mountain.”

The food truck parking is right by the Knightdale Station Park playground, making it convenient if you want to run over to grab a snack (it would be hard to resist a Sunshine Slushies on a hot day)!  There is also the PSNC picnic shelter close by for covered seating, and it is available to rent.  I think I see a birthday party being set up in that thing every weekend of the year when the weather allows it.  

Are The Kids Hot?  Let Them Frolic Through the Splash Pad!

Located right by the playground, the Knightdale Station Park splash pad is a newer addition to the park. Unfortunately, at the time of my posting, it isn’t open yet, so I don’t have pictures of it in all its fountain-like glory, but this place is so fun! It’s a great way for the kids to cool off while playing without having to worry about the logistics and safety of taking them to the pool. The area also contains benches and shade structures for those watching the kids. 

My only caution is that this is an open play space for all ages, which means bigger kids might be playing with one of the sprayers or quickly whizzing right by a toddler.  This amenity is also located close to the bathroom for quick wardrobe changes before or afterward.  According to Knightdale’s website, the splash pad will open soon on May 22nd, and will be open daily from 10 am-8 pm.  By the way, did I mention that access to this great space is FREE? <3

This Sounds Great!  Is There a Knightdale dog park?

Located at 716 N. First Avenue lies the Ashley Wilder Dog Park towards the southwest of the park. Unfortunately, our sweet golden retriever passed away before we moved to North Carolina, and we haven’t had the energy to get another dog yet, so I haven’t had any personal experience with this amenity yet. But I have walked by a few times, and I am impressed with the size of the running area. 

There are two separately fenced sections for larger and smaller dogs.  Further towards the back of the park, there are mature pine trees that provide some nice shade and a few boulders where I occasionally see a brave German Shepard or Husky climbing those rocks with ease.  A pup water fountain is located outside of the gated area.  The park is open from dawn to dusk. 

Outdoor Amphitheater and Open Lawn Space

If you would prefer to have some space to run, lay on a picnic blanket, watch the clouds, practice yoga, etc., open lawn space is abundant in and around the outdoor amphitheater.  This space is used at all of the town festivals to host musical and dancing acts and listen to greetings from the Mayor. Speaking of festivals, I will show you some pictures toward the end of this write-up from the Latin American Festival that just took place here at the park.  It was so much fun!

Honoring Knightdale’s Veterans

Next to the amphitheater is Knightdale’s Veterans Memorial.  According to the town’s website, “the Veterans Memorial is home to both the Knightdale Blue Star and Gold Star Memorials, honoring the brave men and women who served and died for our Country.”   Adjacent to the memorial is an American flag drop box where you can appropriately retire your American flags.  

Pavilions, Transit, and More!

Towards the front of the park is the Knightdale Station Park Wilder Plaza pavilion.  This covered space has restrooms and lighting and is the spot for all things vendor-related during any festival.  If you drive by later in the afternoon, you might see a Camp Gladiator boot camp workout class or a Zumba/line dancing class rocking it under the shelter.  There is also a transit bus stop right next to the pavilion for GoTriangle’s Route 33 bus line.  

Wilder Plaza in Knightdale NC with chalk drawings on the concrete
Wilder Plaza

Go Raleigh bus at Knightdale Station Park pavilion
GoTriangle 33

Knightdale Station Park’s Athletic Fields

The park has four athletic fields, two of which have lighting for night games and one operated by the Triangle YMCA.  A local soccer club, the Neuse River Futbol Alliance, practices and holds games here at the lighted field regularly.  When not used for an official game, you will almost always see the fields used for other sports practices or to kick around the ball and get some exercise.

The Triangle YMCA’s Pool at Knightdale Station Park

Owned and operated by the Triangle YMCA, this YMCA at Knightdale Station pool has an amazing slide and large swimming area.  I haven’t visited yet, but we plan to go here very regularly this summer now that my kids are getting a bit older and need to get more practice swimming.  Unfortunately, this is not a free amenity and typically requires either a YMCA membership or a fee to come for the day.  Check out their website for more info on dates and times of opening!  There is also another picnic shelter by the pool area that is for rent through the town of Knightdale.  Find out more info on rentals here.

Knightdale Station pool slide

Saving the Best for Last- Knightdale Station Park’s Nature Trails

I don’t know about you, but for me, there is something that just soothes the soul about taking a walk in nature.  While not very long and mostly paved, this park has some very nice shaded, canopied trail areas to enjoy a stroll through nature.  The other day, we watched a squirrel skitter on by, and we ducked right off of the trail to smell and taste some honeysuckle.  That’s how you know the month of May is here!  You will also get the chance to hear plenty of songbirds on your nature walk, thanks to the taller tree canopies. 

Along the way, you might pass by a large oak tree and a beautiful garden space maintained by Two Green Thumbs Gardening Club.  A wildflower meadow/monarch butterfly habitat is planted in an open field to enjoy.  Future developments that border the park plan to add more connections to the existing greenways, allowing for more pedestrian connectivity and giving residents access to more outdoor recreation. 

There is one greenway trail that connects the Knightdale Station residential neighborhood to the park as well, which allows for extended biking and walking options.  In the near future, the town also plans to extend the greenway trail from Knightdale Station Park to eventually run past Harper Park and connect it to the Mingo Creek greenway trail.  I love the planned future pedestrian connections! 

Looking to the Future of Knightdale Station Park

The great thing about the town of Knightdale is that it is always forward-thinking and planning for the next improvement or ambition.  While this park is already amazing, additional amenities are planned for the near future, including the linked greenway trail mentioned above, more lighting for the athletic fields, and a disc golf course (to name a few). Check out more information on their Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Master Plan here.

**Update on Disc Golf- July 17, 2023**

I explored and snapped some shots of Knightdale Station Park’s first 9-hole disc golf course! It is located toward the back of the park, close to the Monarch way station and walking trails. This 9-hole Gauntlet course is now open for all to enjoy!

concrete pad in forest for disc golf course at Knightdale Station Park

Knightdale’s Latin American Festival 2023

If there is one thing that this town loves to do, it is to use and enjoy this space as much as possible.  Festivals and events are constantly being planned and held at Knightdale Station Park.  For the most up-to-date information, check out Knightdale’s Parks and Recreation FB page.  But if you would like to see a glimpse of a recent festival, check out some of my pictures from the Latin American festival that was held on May 7th, 2023. Co-hosted by La Grande Music Station, this event was a blast.  I also learned that my kids LOVE horchata from the pop-up tent La Brisa.  We can’t wait to come back next year!

The Compassion Box Project 

Before you head home from such a fun day filled with play and exploration, stop by the Northside Community Church to check out their Compassion Box project, which is located right across the street from Knightdale Station Park at 621 North First Avenue. Housed right outside of the church building, the Compassion Box is a free community resource available 24/7 for anyone in need.  Dried foods, toiletries, and baby product donations are always needed.  If you would like to learn more, check out this 3-minute video produced by East Wake Television.

After a long day of enjoying the park and all of its beauty, I recently got to do something with my kids that I had been meaning to do for a long time. I spent some time picking up some items earlier in the day and brought my kids over here to drop them off after a very full and busy day.  I wanted to make sure that I took a moment to teach my children that giving when we can is important, to be kind and compassionate to our neighbors and fellow humans, and to live with gratitude in our hearts.  It just felt like a perfect end to a beautiful day. 

Taylor
Author: Taylor

Taylor, the founder of Eastern Wake Love and resident of Knightdale, NC, created the platform to celebrate Eastern Wake County’s community and lifestyle. Driven by the lack of substantial information about the Eastern Wake communities during her move to Knightdale, she wanted to create a resource for this beautiful area's potential and current residents and visitors. In her spare time, she’s chasing after her two young kiddos, getting involved in her community, and laughing with her husband about the chaos of parenthood.

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