Do lush green grass, trees, emerald green lagoons and waterfalls fit the description? Or, how about an island with an amusement park specifically for the entertainment of children, paddle boats for the family, picnic areas, golf courses, a nature trail, and even a place to fish? You don’t have to die and go to heaven to enjoy this Paradise, because Encanto Park is located a few blocks from the sky-high buildings of downtown Phoenix.
Originally the concept of William G. Hartranft, who helped convince the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board, of which he served as President at the time, to design a city park similar to the likes of Balboa Park in San Diego, or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The Board shortly after acquired land in the vicinity of 15th and Thomas Avenues from J.W. Dorris, an affluent property owner of the area, and Dr. Norton, a Phoenix veterinarian whose house and outbuildings occupied the property at 2700 N. 15th Ave.
The City of Phoenix assumed ownership of the property in 1935 and initiated construction on the clubhouse, lagoon, boat house, golf course, play areas, tennis courts, horseshoe area, band shell and archery range with labor provided by the WPA. Three years later William Hartranft’s dream became reality.
In 1981 the City of Phoenix called for a refurbishing and started with the clubhouse. The red brick exterior, originally covered with a coat of white stucco, now reveals the solid structure of the building.
The band shell, on the other hand, consisted of substandard materials left over from the original (1935) construction. But sadly, as would be expected, fire consumed the band shell in 1986. Arsonists were believed to be responsible for the total loss of the structure.
Today full grown palm trees shimmer in the balmy Arizona breeze and dot the lush lawns surrounding the lagoons and waterfalls of this 222 acre paradise. Encanto Park glimmers like a jewel in a treasure chest, and continues to beckon residents into it’s lair of verdant pleasure throughout the entire year.
Park Hours: from 5:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Coordinates: 33.47628°N 112.089163°W
2605 North 15th Avenue, 15th Avenue & Encanto Blvd. (602) 261-8991
Boating Concession (602) 254-1520
Reservations (602) 261-8993
Enchanted Island amusement park (602) 254-2020