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Del Valle Park 'Airplane Park'

Del Valle 'Airplane' ParkDel Valle Park is home to the Lakewood Youth Center and the location for many concerts throughout the summer, www.lakewoodcity.org/concerts. It is also the site of the annual Patriot Day Concert.

Lakewood Residents: $20 per hour
Non-residents: $36 per hour
Deposit: $250
Processing Fee: $10

Capacity: 40 persons

Athletic Fields Non-lighted (2)
Lakewood Residents: $20 per hour
Non-residents: $35 per hour

Athletic Fields Lighted (1)
Lakewood Residents: $35 per hour
Non-residents: $50 per hour

5939 Henrilee Street


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Del Valle Park is located on the corner of Arbor St. and Woodruff Ave. in the center of Lakewood. The park was dedicated in 1957 and is named after Jose del Valle, a liberator and statesman of Honduras. This popular park is also known as “Airplane Park” for the Douglas F3D "Skyknight" jet fighter proudly displayed on the southwest corner of the park. This 12-acre park is also home to a summer concert series.

Del Valle Park
5939 Henrilee St.
(562) 429-0545

(See Google map)

Special Features:

    • Meeting Room
    • Athletic Fields (Lighted)
    • Game Courts (Lighted)
    • Picnic Shelters with Barbecues
    • Tot Lot Playground
    • School Age Playground
    • Wading Pool (Seasonal)
    • Horseshoe Pits
    • Memorial
    • Summer Concerts in the Park
    • Rentals


The jet in 'Airplane Park'

Memorial Day at Del Valle ParkIt seems fitting that Lakewood’s memorial, in the form of a Marine Corps jet fighter from the Korean Conflict, should be a decommissioned Douglas Aircraft Company F3D “Skynight” fighter -- originally a gift from the Defense Department. It began its history in Lakewood as a giant play structure for youngsters at Del Valle Park.

The jet came in 1959, painted black from its night fighter role but stripped of its operating gear and engines, and delivered to Del Valle Park as a contribution of the Navajo Freight Lines company (which explains why, for many years, the company’s logo of a Navajo portrait was painted on the sides of the plane).

Some youngsters, like Dennis Lander—whose poem “The Boys of Del Valle Park” is now part of the memorial—remember playing on and in the jet as it lay on the park grounds. But, jets aren’t jungle gyms, and the plane soon began to deteriorate and become a source of concern regarding playtime injuries. In 1963, the refurbished plane was lifted on to a concrete pylon, nose up as if taking off over Woodruff Avenue, and repainted in Marine Corps colors and insignia. On Memorial Day 1964, the jet and pylon were officially dedicated as a memorial to those from Lakewood who had fought in the Korean Conflict. With the help of American Legion Post 496, Del Valle Park then became the location for annual Memorial Day programs.

In 1972, as the Vietnamese War began drew to a close, the city council honored Captain Darrel Pyle, then a captive of the North Vietnamese government, and placed a plaque recognizing his prisoner of war status near the pylon. He safely returned from Vietnam at the war’s end in 1973.

The city also began the tradition of recognizing the young men of Lakewood who had fallen in Vietnam at the Memorial Day observances jointly sponsored by the city and Lakewood’s veterans organizations.

Memories of all of America’s conflicts in the twentieth century eventually gathered at the Del Valle memorial. A generous contribution from the family of the Reverend Dr. John Bonner provided a plaque that specifically recalled the contributions of World War II veterans.