About

Durham Parks and Recreation (DPR) provides opportunities for the Durham community to Play More: Connecting our whole community to fun, wellness, the outdoors, and lifelong learning. Guided by the City's Strategic Plan, we strive to help residents discover, explore and enjoy life through creative and challenging recreational choices that contribute to their physical, emotional and social health.

DPR manages:
  • 1,800 acres of parkland
  • 68 parks
  • 2 heritage parks
  • 2 city lakes
  • 9 recreation centers
  • 2 indoor pools
  • 3 outdoor pools
  • 5 special use facilities
  • 29 miles of paved trails
  • 56 playgrounds
DPR is a nationally accredited agency.

Mission
Durham Parks and Recreation provides opportunities for our community to Play More!

Vision
Durham Parks and Recreation will be Durham's leading resource for recreational choices to help citizens enjoy life while contributing to their health and well-being. 

History
Public recreation was started in Durham during April of 1924 by a City Council Resolution which stated, "It has been recognized by the Council that playgrounds are essential to proper growth and citizenship."

In accordance with this observation the Council, in July 1924, appropriated money for summer playgrounds. On July 1, 1925, the Council appropriated money to organize a Recreation Department with a full-time director. Durham became the second recreation department in North Carolina. C.R. Wood was selected as the first Director.

Awards
2015 Awards
  • Received 7th year designation as a Playful City USA
2014 Awards
  • Received 6th year designation as a Playful City USA
2013 Awards
  • Received 5th year designation as a Playful City USA
  • Developed a new 10 year department master plan
  • Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell was selected to participate in the 1st Playful City USA Summit in Bethesda, Maryland
2012 Awards
  • Received 4th year designation as a Playful City USA
  • Chosen to host the North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association (NCRPA) - Therapeutic Recreation Conference at the Holton Career and Resource Center March 19‐20, 2012
  • 2012 Golden Leaf Awards (community appearance / design award):
    • Merit award winner - The Leaf at Durham Central Park
    • Merit award winner - Walltown Park Recreation Center
2011 Awards
  • Received 3rd year designation as a Playful City USA
  • The Bimbé Cultural Art Festival was selected by the National Recreation and Park Association to receive the 2011 Dorothy Mullen Arts and Humanities, Class II Award
  • Bethesda Park was selected by the National Recreation and Park Association to receive the 2011 Park / Facility Design, Class II Award - shared with Landscape Architect Susan Hatchell
2010 Awards
  • Received 2nd year designation as a Playful City USA
  • Received a KaBOOM Community Build project for the renovation of Burch Avenue Park
  • Received the 2010 Arts and Humanities Award from the North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association for our 3rd Fridays Concert Series
2009 Awards
  • Designated as a Playful City USA for the 1st time