There are parks in Centennial Hills and then there are parks: giant, multi-acre, multimillion-dollar green spaces appointed with water features, amphitheaters and in one case, an F-22 Raptor fighter jet.
Of these, Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs, northwest Las Vegas’ biggest park at 9200 Tule Springs road, is City Councilman Steve Ross’ favorite.
At 680 acres, complete with stables and four fully-stocked fishing ponds, Ross guesses that Floyd Lamb might be the area’s most popular park, with the grounds playing yearly host to a massive Boy Scout convention and the Las Vegas Celtic Society’s annual Festival and Highland Games.
But Floyd Lamb isn’t just an oasis for suburb-dwellers. Among the peacocks, Shetland ponies and wild geese, the former celebrity divorce retreat also qualifies as the one of the wildest, most secluded places this side of Mount Charleston.
It’s certainly rugged enough, Ross recalls, for a family camping trip.
“I remember camping there since I was 8 years old, back when it was on the very edge of town, and driving there felt like driving to Carson City,” he said. “So maybe I have a little bit of a childhood sentimental attachment to it.”
The difference between city-owned parks such as Floyd Lamb and more than a dozen humbler, developer-built parks in the area has something to do with jurisdiction but a lot more to do with stature.
Many of the 15 Centennial Hills parks are named for farmers, business owners and other historic pillars of the community.
Ross said he and officers at nearby Creech Air Force Base even looked into naming facilities and playground equipment at the Thunderbird Sports Complex after squadrons stationed at the base.
Soon enough, they stumbled upon one important exception.
“An officer at Creech heard about it and told me you’ve got to name one after Predator (squadron),” Ross said. “I paused for a second, then I asked him: ‘Would you take your kid to Predator Park?’
“He just laughed. Guess he hadn’t thought about it.”
The other half of northwest Las Vegas’ nearly 30 public parks — the smaller green spaces Ross calls “pocket parks” — generally share the names of much more creative pronouns.
Among Forest Fire, Water Bucket and Radiant Ruby Park, what the city’s homeowners association-maintained public spaces lack in size and amenities, they seem to make up for in character.
And, as Providence Homeowners Association board member Jason Thompson notes, convenience.
Thompson’s favorite, Knickerbocker Park, at the corner of Shaumber Road and Dorrell Lane, happens to be on his block, the newest of three parks planned for the Focus Property Group’s ever-growing Providence development.
It’s also, he said, one of the city’s most beloved, drawing 5,000 residents from well beyond beyond Providence to its annual Fourth of July fireworks display.
“The park itself isn’t huge, 15 acres or so, but it’s user-friendly,” Thompson said. “The view is spectacular. You can see the entire Strip from up there. It also has an amphitheater, which is kind of unique, and I think that’s part of the appeal.
“It’s part of the community. People take a great deal of pride in it.”
Six-year Providence resident Walt Dittrich agreed.
“One of the great things about Knickerbocker is they keep adding things,” Dittrich said. “It’s only two years old, but they’ve already added a gazebo for barbeques and get-togethers, (and) they’ve expanded the south end.
“The HOA is really very responsive to resident requests, and that’s one of the big things I love about it.”
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter James DeHaven at email@example.com or 702-477-3839.