I went to Tempe to visit a friend who was in town briefly before she caught a plane. We ate free breakfast at her hotel and gabbed for a couple of hours before she had to check out of her room and head for the airport. As I was driving away from our visit, I decided to stop at Papago Park.
Papago Park is on the corner of East Curry Road and Collage Drive. It is actually on two corners of East Curry Road and Collage Drive. East Curry Road splits the park in two. I visited the side of the park with the pond and the large playground. I could see the other side of the park from across the street, and it has a much smaller playground, but larger open areas.
The park has a good size parking lot with spaces for many cars, so finding a place to leave the van was not a hassle.
I needed to use the restroom, so I headed over to the restroom building.
The building housing the restrooms is near the parking lot and NOT in the middle of all the park action. It’s closest to Curry Road, away from the places people in the park congregate. The women’s room is on the left.
As I walked into the women’s room, someone in the men’s room (a man, I presume) took a half step from behind the partition which keeps people from looking into the men’s room. (I think the partition blocks the view of the urinals.) The guy stood there and watched me walk into the women’s restroom. I’m not usually nervous about using public restrooms, but this guy freaked me out. I didn’t know what to do. I really needed to pee. I should have gone back to the van and used my pee bucket, but I didn’t have that idea until later. I decided that if the guy followed me into the toilet stall, I would start screaming and carrying on. Thankfully, he didn’t follow me.
What was he looking for? I don’t think it’s normal behavior to hang out just inside the doorway of a men’s room. I suspect he was either waiting for his drug dealer or he was waiting for another dude, someone with whom he could have some public restroom-gay sex-afternoon delight.
Unfortunately, the park was littered with trash the day that I visited. I don’t know if a bunch of trash had blown out of a can that morning, or if people had recently thrown a whole picnic’s worth of paper plates and bottles onto the ground, but there was a lot of rubbish on the grass and in the pond. Yuck! There were several trashcans around the park; I don’t know why people didn’t used them. (Don’t look for pictures of the trash here, because I didn’t spend my time taking any.)
The pond was cool, although a pond in a desert is a little weird to me. I guess Papago Park is supposed to be an oasis. My favorite features of the pond were the ducks
and the No Swimming signs. (Who decided that a bald, gender nonspecific person with his/her hands in the air would communicate a ban on swimming?)
Papago Park has a large playground for kids.
There are also two sand volleyball courts and a dog run.
I counted twelve picnic tables under ramadas which protect from sun and rain (mostly sun, I’m guessing). There were several other tables scattered around, not under protective covers. This park also has wide open spaces for running around and/or tossing or kicking balls.
I was in the park at midday on a weekday, so there wasn’t a lot of action. Some office types were using picnic tables for their lunch break, and an older man and his physical therapist were exercising with a large ball.
Papago Park is also the trail head for at least two trails. I didn’t hike either of the trails (too hot, no water, wrong clothes, wrong shoes), but I did see this rock formation when I stood at the trail head.
While trying to review Tempe’s Papago Park for TripAdvisor, I discovered that there is another Papago Park in Phoenix, at 625 North Galvin Parkway. (Lord knows why they didn’t give these two parks different names.) It looks like that Papago Park is near the Desert Botanical Gardens, and photos show that park also has a (apparently much larger) pond. An attraction of that Papago Park is Hole-in-the-Rock, which looks to me more like a hole in a mountain.
By the way, I searched “Papago” and found on https://www.google.com/search?q=definition+papago&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 that it means:
1. a member of an American Indian people of southern Arizona and northern Sonora.
2. a dialect of the Uto-Aztecan Pima-Papago language.