Florence Ely Nelson Desert Park

Original post by Jana Tingom (April 2016), update by Kim (October 2019)

Located in north Scottsdale, Florence Ely Desert Park is a fun place to visit. You can take a little nature walk, play basketball, cool off in the spray pad, play in the playground and coming soon play lighted volleyball. We visited in October 2019 and the volleyball court was under construction for play coming soon.

Spray Pad

The city of Scottsdale calls this a  “spray pad” however I would say more like spray misters. Honestly I love them! You can cool off without having to get too wet. If you want to get soaking wet, this is not the place you want to go.Like all water in Scottsdale, you push a button to turn the water on. This particular location does not stay on long. Just long enough to cool off.


There is a separate big kid playground and little kid playground. The big kid playground has three slides, stairs, rope for climbing and a fun bridge. The shade cover seems to provide a lot of shade throughout the day. The little kid playground has a slide, rock climbing style slide, stairs and fun games. The spray pad is in between the two playgrounds for a quick cool off if needed. There are swings, two toddler, two big kid, located next to the big kid park making it slightly more difficult to push one toddler on a swing while the other climbs, but no complaints.



Four drop in ramadas as well as numerous other picnic tables throughout the grounds. There are shaded ramadasalong the nature trail as well as in the playground area.


The park features 9 acres, picnic areas, four drop in ramadas, lighted basketball court, reservable multipurpose room, restrooms, soon it will have a lighted volleyball court and a desert botanical nature trail. All amenities are available when the park is open, unless otherwise noted. There are restrooms available and located conveniently next to the entrance which is between the nature walk and playgrounds. The park amenities are all first come first serve. If you are planning on having a catered event, inflatables or any specialty item they ask that you call the facility in advance to verify the company’s insurance information.

Getting There

This park is easy to miss. It looks like you are going to park in the back of a strip mall, but the park is tucked nicely behind it. Look for the “Florence Ely Nelson Park Desert Center” sign and follow the concrete path.

Florence Ely Nelson Park
8950 E. Pinnacle Peak Road
Scottsdale, AZ 8525

Kim is a chef, dishwasher, dry cleaner, housekeeper, landscaper, snack fetcher, photographer and personal assistant to toddler twins. Curently homeschooling her three year olds and loving teaching preschool. She loves exploring everything with her kids and photographing every minute of it. Follow her on Instagram @phoenixwithtwins.

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