Thank you to everyone who took the time to take the Kings Grant Park survey!  We had a great response and gathered a lot of good information.   We took your feedback, combined with staff recommendations on what we can realistically provide and maintain, and came up with a plan to revitalize Kings Grant Park.  Our hope is to turn it back into a gathering spot for families to play, exercise and build community.  The plan includes:

  • Resurfacing the basketball court
  • New playground elements
  • Adding an outdoor gym/fitness station for ages 13+
  • Removing the picnic shelter

Of course, all of this is dependent on funding, so we have applied for several grants to help make this project a reality.  We expect to know more about funding by early summer.

While we wait for funding, our staff has been able to get a head start on the project.  You may have noticed that the chain link fencing has come down around the ballfield.  Our plan is to replace the old fencing with new fencing and turn the ballfield into a recreational multi-purpose field.  We believe this will allow the field to be used for a wider variety of activities and as a result will serve more citizens.

Thank you again for your participation in helping us improve New Hanover County’s parks!

Airlie Gardens is honored to be part of the 64th Annual Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour©.  An official event of the North Carolina Azalea Festival, the tour is one of the longest running and most popular garden tours in the South. Gardens are open 10:00 am until 6:00 pm daily Friday April 13th-Sunday April 15th (Airlie is open Saturday & Sunday only) and children under 12 are admitted free with a paid adult. Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Belles© will welcome visitors to each garden throughout the three-day tour.

Garden Tour Dates

  • Friday, April 13th (Airlie Gardens CLOSED for private event)
  • Saturday, April 14th
  • Sunday, April 15th
  • Open 10am-6pm (Airlie Gardens last admission 5:30)

*Airlie will be closed to the Garden Tour & General Public on Friday, April 13th for a private Azalea Festival Event


  • Tickets are $25.00 (plus $1.25 postage), good for all three days (Airlie open Saturday & Sunday Only)
  • Purchase tickets ONLINE or at any of the locations listed below. They will also be available at each garden during the tour(cash or check only).
  • Please note:  This ticket is NOT valid for the Queens Luncheon at Airlie Gardens on Friday, April 13th.  Please visit for more information about the Queens Luncheon and other Azalea Festival events.

A Proper Garden – 2 Ann Street, Chandler’s Wharf – 910-763-7177
Ace Hardware – 3516 College Road – 910-395-1904
Azalea Festival Ticket Office – 5725 Oleander Drive, Suite B-7 – 910-794-4650
Barnes & Noble – 850 Inspirations Drive, Mayfaire
Beautiful Flowers by June – 250 Racine Drive, Suite 10, Racine Commons
Crabby Chic – 4107-B Oleander Drive
Craft Hardware – 7002 Wrightsville Avenue,  Wrightsville Beach – 910-256-4782
Dragonflies –  4106 Oleander Drive –  910-796-9997
Farmer’s Supply – 2025 Oleander Drive – 910-763-4664
New Hanover County Arboretum – 6206 Oleander Drive -910-798-7660
Occasions….Just Write – 313 North Front Street, The Cotton Exchange – 910-343-9033
Pender Pines Garden Center – 20949 US Hwy 17, Hampstead – 910-270-2706
The Plant Place – 6114 Market Street – 910-791-9594
The Stone Garden – 5726 Market Street – 910-452-1619
Sweet Nectar’s Florist – 473 Olde Waterford Way, Leland – 910-371-2224
The Transplanted Garden – 502 S 16th Street – 910-763-7448
Wild Bird & Garden – 3501 Oleander Drive, Hanover Center – 910-343-6001

 Click here to preview the 2018 Gardens!

The spring athletic season is just around the corner and Parks & Gardens is introducing a new way to notify the public of athletic field closures due to weather.  With “Rained Out,” field closure notifications can be delivered directly to your mobile phone by text or your email inbox.  Join Rained Out today by clicking on the logo below and entering your mobile phone number or email address.  Remember- field closure decisions are typically made between 12-1pm each day.  You may unsubscribe at any time.


For the sixth year in a row Airlie Gardens, in Wilmington, N.C., is excited to host their summer art exhibit, July-October 2018!   Airlie Gardens invites artists or teams of artists to decorate, paint, and otherwise adorn one of the 15 oversized 5-foot-tall fiberglass Garden Gnome models. These Garden Gnomes will be placed throughout the grounds for guests to enjoy as part of their garden experience. The hope for this outdoor exhibit is it will be a collection that appeals to all. An artist’s design will be selected based on creativity, craftsmanship, use of materials, the ability to appeal to all age groups, outdoor sustainability and durability.

Click here for Artist Application & Guidelines


Selection panel review will begin as soon as artist’s proposals are submitted. Airlie Gardens encourages all artists to submit proposals as soon as possible so we may assemble a sizable and diverse portfolio for sponsors to review.

  • Artist application Deadline- February 28th 2018
  • Artists Notification/Commission- March 15th 2018
  • Fiberglass Gnomes available for pick up- April- Specific date TBD
  • Deadline for Return of Finished Gnomes- June 15th 2018
  • Exhibit Opens to Public- July 6th 2018
  • Exhibit Closes- October 26th 2018

For more information contact Rebecca Pearce by email or (910) 798-7709.

Click here to learn about Sponsorship Opportunities

New Hanover County Parks and Gardens is encouraging citizens who live in or around the Kings Grant area to take a brief survey regarding Kings Grant Park and its amenities.

Click here to take the survey

Construction is complete and the playground at Ogden Park has re-opened!

Updates to the Ogden Park playground will begin November 27th.  The playground will be getting two new features, as well as, a shade structure.  The playground will be closed Nov 27th through expected completion in January 2018.







During construction, park users are encouraged to visit one of the nearby playgrounds at:

Parkwood Park
4827 Canetuck Rd
Distance:  1.9 miles

Smith Creek Park
633 Shenandoah St
Distance:  2 miles

Northern Regional Park
4700 Old Ave, Castle Hayne
Distance:  7.7 miles

Construction on the new playground at Northern Regional Park in Castle Hayne is complete and the playground is open! You may recognize some familiar faces on the playground- the fish and the frog were part of the original playground at Hugh MacRae Park.  The playground was removed in order to build the inclusive playground and was upfitted for its new home at Northern Regional Park.  The park is located at 4700 Old Avenue in Castle Hayne.


A New Hanover County tradition since 2005, guests from around the world have visited Airlie Gardens from Thanksgiving to Christmas to take in the sparkling sights and festive sounds of the season. Guests will experience a 0.5m stroll through the Gardens, on a self-guided walking tour while feasting their eyes on a spectacular array of lights and holiday displays. Also in attendance, Santa Claus himself, and a few local food and beverage vendors with hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies, beer, wine and more!  Tickets often sell out in advance so reserve yours early! 

Questions about the event?  Click HERE to check out our FAQ page!

Times & Dates: 

  • There are two run-times per evening: 5:00-7:00PM and 7:00-9:00PM
    • 5pm-7pm ticket holders may arrive no earlier than 4:45pm & no later than 6pm.  You must exit by 7pm.
    • 7pm-9pm ticket holders may arrive no earlier than 6:45pm  & no later than 8pm.  You must exit by 9pm.
  •  Enchanted Airlie will run the following nights
    • November: 24th & 25th
    • December: 1st & 2nd, 8th-10th, & 13th-22nd
  • To ensure parking is available for all guests, please adhere to your ticket date and time.  If you choose to arrive early we can not guarantee admission or parking will be available until your reserved ticket time.Guests must leave by the ending time on their ticket. Any guests staying past the time indicated on their tickets may be subject to an additional ticketing fee.

 Click HERE to Purchase Tickets!

Ticket pricing and information:

  • Ticket sales will begin October 10th
    • $27/Carload Ticket(car, truck, SUV & Mini Vans ONLY)– Ticket includes onsite parking and admission for all passengers in your vehicle.  All guests must arrive in the same vehicle
      • NO limos, mini-buses, trolleys, coach or school buses with this option, groups coming in limos or buses, please contact Airlie Gardens for special reservations:  910-798-7700 / 
    • $55/ XL Van Ticket(10-15 passenger or conversion vans ONLY)-  Ticket includes onsite parking and admission for all passengers in a 10-15 passenger van.  All guests must arrive in the same vehicle.
      • NO limos, mini-buses, trolleys, coach or school buses with this option, groups coming in limos or buses, please contact Airlie Gardens for special reservations:  910-798-7700 / 
    • Large Vehicles including Limos, Mini-Buses, Trolleys, Coach or School buses, please contact Airlie Gardens for special reservations:  910-798-7700 /

PLEASE NOTE:  Enchanted Airlie is a walking experience.  Tram  service is NOT available during this event.  The tour is wheelchair accessible.  Wheelchairs are available for check out on a first come first serve basis.  All parking is onsite- no walk-ins or bicycles are permitted.

The map below shows available parking for the athletic fields at Veterans Park.  We’ve installed a new sidewalk (in red) that makes it even easier to get between the athletic fields and the parking lots.

The Ogden Skatepark has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo).  The awards program recognizes innovative county government programs that result in improving the quality of life for residents.

Parks and Gardens is one of six county departments to receive an Achievement Award this year.  Click here to learn more.

The TNT show Good Behavior will be filming at New Hanover County’s Hugh MacRae Park this week on July 11 and 13. Several areas of the park will not be accessible to visitors during filming.

“We welcome filming in New Hanover County and are pleased that Good Behavior chose one of the county’s parks to film in,” said Brett Cottrell, New Hanover County’s production coordinator.

The following areas of the park will be used for filming on Tuesday and Thursday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.:

  • The playground, including the adjoining picnic shelter and parking lot;
  • Tennis courts;
  • Baseball fields and adjoining parking lot; and
  • The equestrian area parking lot.

Intermittent traffic control from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office will be present to help with traffic flow around the filming. The park will remain open to visitors except for the areas noted above.

To learn more about filming in New Hanover County, visit the county’s film website.

There are many benefits to protecting open space, high quality natural areas, tree canopy, watersheds, and shorelines.  According to the 2016 Parks and Gardens Master Plan survey results, the community would like to see the County work to expand environmental education, outdoor recreation opportunities and interpretive programs as well as to explore opportunities to increase public access to beaches and the waterfront.  An article by the National Recreation and Parks Society, “Conservation Leaders in Our Community,” states that parks and recreation agencies should take a leadership role in the community to promote conservation.  A core mission of public parks is to protect land and water assets and to be stewards of our natural resources.  Parks departments should establish a strategic vision for preserving open space and conserving important landscapes and natural features.  In an effort to take the first step in this process, the Parks and Gardens Department is establishing several “park preserves” throughout New Hanover County.  These spaces will offer an outlet for providing environmental education and nature programs to students of all ages, promote biodiversity and open space preservation, allow us to monitor wildlife populations, restore habitats for endangered and threatened plant species, and conserve natural communities such as the longleaf pine ecosystems, wetlands, maritime forests, and offer passive outdoor recreation opportunities compatible with the protection of the natural area.  These spaces will provide great opportunities to learn, explore, and discover what nature has to offer.

Over the past few decades, the County has acquired properties which will be excellent candidates for the preserve program.  Some of the sites were purchased through grant resources and have development and use restrictions.  Due to these limitations on development of the parcels, we feel this is the highest and best use for public benefit.  Allowable activities at the preserves include:  Hiking, walking, jogging, wildlife observation, bird watching, educational activities, picnicking, fishing, and canoeing/kayaking.

The first preserve to open will be the Smith Creek Park Preserve located at 633 Shenandoah Drive- Opening Date TBD.  The preserve area will be open from 8am until sunset each day.  No motorized vehicles, including ATV’s are allowed at the preserve.  Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.  Please be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.  The preserve is home to wildlife and we want to respect their habitat.  We will continue to work to reintroduce native plants and expand educational signage as we grow the program.

If you are interested in assisting with volunteer opportunities associated with our Park Preserves Program, please contact Jodi Rich at

The Health of Our Community:  Current Health Profile & Future Priorities- March 27, 2017
A recent public forum that included local government, schools and university, the health care system, transportation planners, and others served as the kick-off for a county-wide collective impact initiative that will bring together community partners who share common goals.

New Hanover County’s Parks & Gardens 10-Year Master Plan Update was presented to the Board of County Commissioners and adopted on January 23, 2017.  This plan will serve as a guiding document for the provision of public parks and recreation services to residents of New Hanover County over the next ten years.  Click on the links below to read the Executive Summary and/or the entire Master Plan document.

Executive Summary

NHC Parks & Gardens Master Plan

Skateparkpic1Grindline Skatepark staff will be here to officially begin construction at the skatepark Tuesday morning, May 31st.  We have already done some site preparation in advance of their arrival, but we are excited for them to be on site and officially start the construction! They will be developing the entire park (phase 1 & 2) at the same time and we anticipate the project will take six months to complete.

Check back here for updates or follow us on facebook.

Star News:
Upgrades turn Castle Hayne Park into new Northern Regional Park, Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 4:57 p.m.

UPDATE (3/24/16):  The ribbon cutting will be held on Saturday, May 21st at 10am.

UPDATE (2/4/16):  We are getting close to the finish line!  The actual completion of Phase One of the Northern Regional Park project is just a month away in March.  We will hold an official ribbon cutting ceremony in the Spring.  Check back here for details.

* Disc golf course holes #3, 4, 5 & 6 are currently closed due to construction of the new park entrance.

11.6.15 (6)

11.6.15 (11)11.6.15 (4)

UPDATE (7/20/15):  We are making progress on Phase One of the Northern  Regional Park at Castle Hayne expansion project.  The two existing multi-purpose fields now have lights and construction of the new entrance on Castle Hayne Road and two new multi-purpose fields is well under way.  Check out more pictures on the County’s flickr site.

Construction 2Construction 3Construction 4






UPDATE (5/27/15):  Disc golf course holes #3, 4, 5 & 6 will be closed until further notice due to construction of the new park entrance from Castle Hayne Road.

Castle Hayne Expansion

Expansion to the existing Castle Hayne Park, located at 4700 Old Avenue, will begin in February 2015.  The project will be completed in two phases, with phase one completion expected in Fall 2015.  Phase one will include a new, more visible entry road along Castle Hayne Road (just before the Hermitage House), making the park more easily accessible to visitors.  In addition to lighting the two existing athletic fields, two new lighted multi-purpose fields will be constructed.  Beginner bike trails will also be added as a new park feature.

The County intends to keep the park open to visitors during the expansion project though some areas may need to temporarily be closed for safety purposes.  You can follow us on Facebook for updates and closures.  There will be some impact to the disc golf course due to the new entry road, but the two impacted holes will be replaced.

Phase two of the project will include the addition of several more lighted multi-purpose athletic fields, a 1.5 mile paved multi-purpose (walking/biking) trail, a basketball court, tennis court improvements and a new dog park.  Upon completion, this 112 acre park will be well suited to serve as the Northern Regional Park.


Hugh MacRae Park
Inclusive Playground:  Demolition of the current 5-12 year old playground will start the week of May 9th to make way for the new inclusive playground.  Expected completion of the playground project, including adult fitness stations and splashpad, is late Summer 2016.  The current playground elements will be recycled and used to update Northern Regional Park.

Basketball Court:  The new outdoor basketball court is complete!

Northern Regional Park
Construction is almost complete at Northern Regional Park in Castle Hayne!  Join us on Saturday, May 21st at 10am for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new multi-purpose fields.

Odgen Park
Skatepark:  Grindline Skateparks will start construction on the New Ogden Skatepark the last week in May.  The construction of both phases of the project is expected to take 4-6 months for completion.  The 10,000 square foot skatepark will include elements for a variety of ages.

Walking Trail:  Ogden Park is also getting a new 10 foot wide asphalt walking trail!  Construction on the one mile trail starts in early summer and will take about a month to complete.  The trail will connect to the existing trail by the pond and extend around the athletic fields by Eaton Elementary School.

Like us on facebook for updates on these projects and more!

Grindline Skateparks will start construction on the New Ogden Skatepark the last week in May.  The construction of both phases of the project is expected to take 4-6 months for completion.  The 10,000 square foot skatepark will include elements for a variety of ages.

Ogden Park is also getting a new 10′ wide asphalt walking trail.  Construction on the one mile trail starts in early summer and will take about one month to complete.  The trail will connect to the existing trail and extend around the athletic fields by Eaton Elementary School.

Star News:
Coming soon – Ogden Park walking trail, skatepark
, Published: Monday, April 25, 2016 at 11:45 a.m.

Hugh MacRae-BoardTo provide inclusive play opportunities for people with all abilities and of all ages, we are building a new playground. This is thanks to a $750,000 grant from Trillium Health Resources, the agency that provides services to people with disabilities throughout southeastern North Carolina.

This inclusive playground will be built in place of the current playground, which will be recycled and its newer parts reused to enhance the playground at Northern Regional Park. This park, at 4700 Old Avenue, primarily serves the Castle Hayne and Wrightsboro communities.

The new Hugh MacRae playground will include elements for smaller children, ages 2 to 5, and a separate area for those 5 to 12 years old. Nearby will be fitness stations for adult exercise. In recognition of some challenges for outdoor recreation during the hottest summer months, we are installing a splash pad for water play on the site of the existing toddler playground. This will use a recirculating water filtration system to ensure safety, eliminate waste and minimize operating costs.

Demolition of the current playground will begin the week of May 9th and the new playground and splashpad will open in late Summer 2016.

Picture13New Hanover County Parks & Gardens is building a new ‪#‎basketball‬ court at Hugh MacRae Park. Construction starts the week of March 14 and will only last a week. The new court will be in front of the baseball field and no trees are being removed. Kids of all ages will be able to play on the court’s adjustable goal!

New Hanover County Parks & Gardens has partnered with Grindline Skateparks to design a 10,000-12,000 square foot concrete skatepark at Ogden Park.  We hope to begin construction in Winter/Spring 2016.

Support the Ogden Skatepark Project

Connect with us via social media for more information and updates.
Skatepark Site
Skatepark 2


Trillium Grant Check PictureTrillium Health Resources has awarded New Hanover County Parks and Gardens with a Play Together Grant.  The $750,000 grant will go towards constructing an inclusive playground at Hugh MacRae Park. Modifications will be made to the current facility and new accessible play areas will be added.  A check presentation ceremony was held on November 3rd,

New Hanover County Parks & Gardens will be hosting a Public Meeting regarding its Master Plan Update on Wednesday, March 16th from 6-8pm in the Oleander Room at the Executive Development Center.  The EDC is located at 1241 Military Cutoff Road, adjacent to the Northeast Library.  The public is welcome and encouraged to attend this meeting.

For more information regarding the Master Plan Update, contact

The survey is now closed.  Thank you for your participation!

New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington have commissioned a Parks and Gardens Master Plan Survey as part of an effort to update the existing plan.  Community input is an important part of this process and helps the county to best tailor the plan to reflect the community’s desires and needs.

A random sampling of residents have been invited to take a survey, and these responses will provide statistically valid results.  If you received one of these surveys in the mail earlier this month, it isn’t too late to respond.  In addition, the County invites all residents to provide feedback and input through an open-link survey available at (this survey is now closed)

The results of this survey will provide critical information in determining community values, satisfaction levels, needs and priorities, and demographics for the County’s long-term planning efforts.  Questions will be asked about what types of programs, facilities, and services residents want in their parks system and where priorities should be placed.

This project is led by GreenPlay, LLC with survey and data work done by RRC Associates.  A total of 3,750 households in New Hanover County were mailed a survey, and responses from these residents will comprise the statistically-valid sample.  The open-link survey will give all residents an opportunity to provide feedback, and their responses will be included in the final report.  While open-link results will be kept separate from the statistically valid responses, these responses will none-the-less provide valuable feedback when updating the New Hanover County Parks and Gardens Master Plan.

Please share this link with anyone who resides in New Hanover County. It’s vital that we gather as much information form the public as possible to best meet the needs of the community.  If you have any questions, please let me know.  Thanks in advance for taking the tie to complete the survey.

TreeFest 2016 Offers Tree Seedlings and Native Grasses

(New Hanover County) – TreeFest, an annual distribution of tree seedlings, will be held Friday, Jan. 22 and Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or until trees run out, in the JC Penney end court inside Independence Mall.

Increase tree canopy and biodiversity in your yard by visiting TreeFest.  Choose any combination of trees or grasses from our extensive list, many of which are native to our area. Limit of 5 trees and/or grasses per household.

Tree species include Atlantic white cedar, bald cypress, black gum, black walnut, chikasaw plum, crabapple, crape myrtle, eastern red cedar, longleaf pine, overcup oak, persimmon, river birch and white oak.  Grass species include Indian grass, little bluestem and muhly grass. Please note:  species availability is subject to change without notice and are available first come, first serve.

A suggested donation of $3 per household will help ensure that TreeFest will return next year. TreeFest is funded by the donations received from participants during the event.

Your seedlings will be wrapped in wet newspaper and a compostable bag that may be reused or planted with your tree, then placed in a plastic bag for transporting. Please consider bringing a plastic grocery bag to reduce the number of new plastic bags in our community.

Because the trees and grasses will live a very long life, a little planning at home before you come to TreeFest can save you lots of time down the road.  Consider the size of your site, whether utility lines exist above and below ground, proximity to buildings and site conditions such as soil type, drainage or sun exposure.  There will be experts on hand to help you decide which tree or grass will work best for your site, as well as how to take care of them.

The trees and grasses are grown in Goldsboro at the NC Forest Service Nursery.  They should be kept moist and planted as soon as possible; ideally the same weekend as TreeFest.  Winter is a great time to plant trees and grasses in our area.

TreeFest began in 1997, after hurricanes Bertha and Fran destroyed many trees in the area.  The TreeFest Committee organizes the event; members and sponsors include Duke Energy Progress, North Carolina Forest Service, Keep New Hanover County Beautiful, UNCW, New Hanover County Department of Parks and Gardens, New Hanover Soil and Water Conservation District, Tidal Creek Co-operative Market, City of Wilmington, Wild Bird and Garden, What’s on Wilmington and Independence Mall.

For more information, contact TreeFest Committee member Jennifer O’Keefe at 798-7564 or

Skate Park Kicks Off Fundraising Effort on Giving Tuesday!


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – The Parks Conservancy of New Hanover County is kicking off its major fundraising efforts for the new skatepark that is being added to Ogden Park. This campaign will enable skater, bikers, and local supporters to help make the skatepark a reality! Support from donors is vital to the success of this project.

The Parks Conservancy will be offering a variety of ways to contribute- from crowdfunding on their IndieGoGo site, to special events and sponsorships. Individuals and businesses can sponsor the skatepark by contacting Janine Powell at 910-798-7703 or

Why a Skate Park?
Skateboarding has been a part of New Hanover County’s culture since its origins in the 1950’s. Nationwide, there are more than 12 million active skateboarders and here in our County, the numbers of skateboarders exceeds the number of safe, legal places for them to skate. A new skatepark will immediately fill a need for hundreds of avid skaters, especially skaters from the northern parts of the County including Wrightsville Beach. The closest skate park to this location is over 9 miles away in downtown Wilmington. The other skatepark in the area is located even further away in Carolina Beach.


The Parks Conservancy of New Hanover County was established to support New Hanover County Parks. The Conservancy’s only mission is to support the Parks and Gardens Department of New Hanover County.

New Hanover County – the model of good governance.

Release Contact:

Janine Powell
New Hanover County Parks & Gardens
(910) 798-7703

230 Government Center Drive, Suite 120 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7620 • Fax 910-798-7621