As Pullen’s popularity has skyrocketed, its existing parking lots near the amusement center have become woefully inadequate. A parking deck is planned for a future park expansion, but construction isn’t likely to start anytime soon. For now, parks officials have arrangements with neighboring properties.
• Weekends: Visitors should park across Ashe Avenue in the lots at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. N.C. State also offers free parking a bit farther away at its parking deck on Cates Avenue – about a 10-minute walk down Pullen Road.
• Weekdays: The university and school have those lots reserved, so if the park’s lots are full, visitors must drive down Western Boulevard to Hunt Drive and the soccer fields at the Dorothea Dix property. From there, it’s a 10-minute walk back to Pullen on the greenway trail.
• The CAT bus: You can avoid the parking mess by taking Capital Area Transit’s Route 11 bus from Moore Square downtown, where multiple parking decks are close by. The bus runs every 30 minutes during peak times and hourly at other times, and it drops off along Pullen Road between Cates Avenue and Dunn Avenue on the N.C. State campus.
Staff writer Colin Campbell
A mom’s 5 best tips for Pullen Park
1 Go early. Get to the park by 9:30 a.m. The rides don’t start until 10 a.m., but the playgrounds will be open. Your child can play on the swings or the slides until the train is running. Bonus: The main parking lot is rarely full at 9:30 a.m. – even on the weekends – so the closest parking spaces are still available.
2 Buy extra tickets. The ride tickets never expire, so don’t just buy the tickets you will need for the day. Buy $10 or $20 worth of tickets at a time and leave them in the diaper bag, your purse or a backpack. The next time you’re at the park, you can skip the ticket line.
3 Sand toys. Bring your own beach toys – especially a shovel and pail. The sand-and-water area is one of the most popular spots at the park. You can make it more fun by bringing a few toys to make it feel like a trip to the beach.
4 A change of clothes. Speaking of the sand-and-water play area, it’s a good idea to pack an extra pair of shoes, socks and clothes. If your child really enjoys playing in this area, you might want to do a quick change before placing him or her in the car. Or at least keep a clean towel in the car to cover the car interior or booster seat.
5 Too crowded? If Pullen Park is too crowded, head to John Chavis Memorial Park, a mile farther east along Western Boulevard (505 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.). The 28-acre park has several playgrounds, an outdoor pool and splash area, as well as the restored Allan Herschell carousel that dates to 1923.
Staff writer Andrea Weigl
Before you go