Stephenson Park: New & Nostalgic

If you’ve driven past Stephenson Park lately, you’ve seen the dramatic change that has occurred since its $7 million renovation. The once-sedate park is now crawling with people!


Playground Equipment
The most visible new feature is the tall climbing structure leading to two, spiraling, tube slides. The design was selected for its space-age theme, a nostalgic nod to the park’s beloved Rocket Ship Slide from the 1960s. The new playground also has a lower climbing structure for younger children, swings, and musical elements. Surrounding the playground equipment are various chairs and benches for watchful adults.

The arched pavilion is a multipurpose structure, serving primarily as a gathering place with café-style tables, but with the ability to convert into a performance venue on occasion. A large grassy knoll in front of the amphitheater is the perfect place to set up lawn chairs to enjoy a show or hear live music.

As more housing units are built in the area, Stephenson Park is expected to grow in its role as a “walk-through park.” The park’s proximity to residential housing is inviting to locals who wish to stroll or walk their dogs, but the nearby restaurants and museum also draw people who drive from a distance. More than 50 new parking spaces now line the north side of the park.

Other Amenities
Stephenson Park offers a variety of community spaces for families and friends, from the improved basketball court to walking trails and picnic benches along 5th street. A large stone water feature trickles near the amphitheater and the park is lighted at night. The largest cost to the park’s remodel is unseen, however, because it is underneath the new grassy areas: upgraded water lines and improved stormwater management.


The Stephenson Park remodel came after years of discussion about how to best upgrade the park, while retaining its historic character. Despite being the oldest park in Edmond, dating back to 1892, its only major renovation occurred in the 1930s. During the Great Depression, government workers built the stone National Guard Armory and American Legion Hut, plus the rock bridges and entries. Care was taken to preserve these structures in the park’s new design, along with many of the old-growth trees.

The Rocket Ship was also saved. The beloved icon, a remnant of the moon landing craze, now has a place of honor as an art piece at the northeast corner of Stephenson Park, where it is easily seen from the road and is lit up at night.


Now that the park is fully open, it is obvious that the remodel has breathed new life into the once-quiet green space. Not only is the increased foot traffic evidence of its success, events are making their way back to the park after many years. The amphitheater hosted its first musical performance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in April, and the Edmond History Museum will host the first park-wide event, The Route 66 Blue Hippo Festival, on June 15th.

According to Ryan Ochsner, Director of Community Quality for the City of Edmond, remodeling the park was a responsive move to the development of the surrounding neighborhood. “Stephenson Park is unique, with its location near downtown and its close proximity to restaurants, businesses, and residential communities. We look forward to seeing how the community uses the park in new ways, and I hope that it’s a place where families can have memorable moments together.”

Stephenson Park is located on S. Boulevard, between S. Littler Ave and East 4th Street.

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