Parks & Gardens
With many ways to rest, contemplate nature, learn, recreate or exercise, Yuma’s parks and gardens are each a mini oasis in their own right.
As green and flowering as Yuma is, it might be easy to forget it’s situated in the Sonoran Desert. It’s only because of the ample water available from the Colorado River that Yuma enjoys both decorative plantings in the city and agricultural crops growing in the fertile fields around Yuma. Within Yuma, there are many parks and gardens that feature desert plants for display and educational purposes.
Two gardens are open to the public. The Robert J. Moody Demonstration Garden is open during daylight hours all year and serves as a living guide to plants that thrive in this area. Both visitors and local homeowners can learn about working with desert plants and xeriscaping with little water. Native Sonoran Desert plants are featured at the Yuma Conservation Garden, open weekends from November to April. Feed the ducks and tortoises (just vegetables, no bread, please) near the pond or walk the paths near the outdoor classroom.
More than 30 city parks are dotted around Yuma, but the two that steal the show are the East Wetlands and West Wetlands, both along the banks of the Colorado River not far from downtown.
Family-friendly fun takes center stage at the West Wetlands, with the Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground (known as Castle Park), the pond stocked for fishing, and learning areas around the butterfly garden and hummingbird signage. Both the East and West Wetlands offer opportunities for wildlife sightings, and there’s plenty of room to run off some energy!
Families with kids can hit the beaches and dip their toes into the River at Gateway Park, Centennial Beach, and Playa Linda. Kennedy Memorial Park has a 212-foot slide and Valley Aquatic Center’s pool has a zero-depth entry and in-pool playground.
Take a ride on a 1/8-scale locomotive at the Yuma Territorial Live Steamers, located at Riverside Park, just below the Yuma Territorial Prison.
Smucker Park and the Wetlands are popular locations for joggers and exercise enthusiasts. Taking advantage of the warm and sunny weather, many people forego the gym to burn off their extra calories in the fresh air outdoors. Smucker Park includes a seven-station fitness course and one-mile walking loop. Tennis and Pickleball courts are available at several civic and private locations around Yuma.
Bike and local trail maps can be found at the Visitor Information Center or online. Connected pathways string together rides which encircle most of Yuma, from the Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex to the Wetlands parks to the canal running along Avenue A, down to the south edge of town and into “the county” where quieter roads are inviting to cyclists.
The wide-open spaces in and around Yuma lend themselves perfectly to outdoor adventures in the desert or on the Colorado River. Social distancing? No problem! Fresh air and nature? Lots of it! Sunny and warm weather? Undoubtedly, since Yuma is the Sunniest City on Earth, according to Guinness World...Read More