Gilbert Parks: Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch

Climbing the Walls at Riparian Preserve

I like this park for several reasons. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a park-library combo. I love the public sculpture, feeding the ducks and the dinosaur dig area makes this unique. Did I mention it is free?

The 110-acre Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is a  public park in Gilbert, Arizona. It is behind the South East Regional Library. The library was designed to benefit from it’s proximity to the park with enormous glass windows facing the park.

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photo by AZDew found on Flickr

Why the funny name? Riparian Preserve? This park was designed to conserve water and provide a wildlife habitat. Read more about the intention behind the park.

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Great Egrets by BrainPie picture found on Flickr

In the fall and winter when we visit, my boys love to climb the winding walls that undulate along the hills of the park. Don’t forget to bring your digging tools and a little dustpan and brush for the Dinosaur Dig area. Your kids can uncover dinosaur skeletons if you bring the right tools while you sit on the bench under the ramada.

Check out the desert landscaping behind the dinosaur dig area. We always explore the climbing walls and dinosaur dig area first, but near the front of the park is an observatory and a lake with a pretty boardwalk. You can enjoy the ducks and admire the gorgeous wetland habitats. My scanty photos don’t do this place justice. This park is in our repertoire of favorite local parks. You could also try the Desert Path Walk provided by Nature Quest AZ.

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I stood still and he slowly worked his way toward me. He was well camouflaged with the bushes in the area. Riparian Preserve, Gilbert Arizona. Photo by AZDew found on Flickr

This park has a busy schedule year round. I encourage you to explore their website before you visit to make sure you take advantage of all it has to offer. I focused on activities for younger kids in this post but an older child will love the observatory, trying their hand at photography, the programming and maybe creating an addition to the park. I saw an Eagle Scout project as well as an addition from the Gilbert Leadership Program here. What can you dream up for your community?

Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is located at 2757 E. Guadalupe Road east of Greenfield Road, next to the Southeast Regional Library in Gilbert, Arizona.

Don’t forget your digging tools for them and book for you!


If you go to the park during the summer you can look for respite inside the library. The South East Regional Library has a small bookstore in the front of the library. Buy or browse the collection and sit along the back wall and look out on the pond. I suggest Last Child in the Woods. You can feel good about your parenting as you read it under the Ramada at the Dinosaur dig.

Where do you like to go to climb the walls?

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