People walking outside chavis park carousel

Crowd walks outside the historic carousel at John Chavis Memorial Park.

John Chavis Memorial Park

Jump To:

Community Center Playground Water Feature Historic Allan Herschell Carousel Past to Present Exhibit Outdoor Track Fields Rentals Hours

Year 1937 | Acres 28.87 | Landmarks Near Shaw University

Home to the Allan Herschell No. 2 Special Three-Abreast Carousel since 1937. In April 2016, John Chavis Memorial Park was added to the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places. The park includes a half-mile section of the Capital Area Greenway Trail.

John Chavis Memorial Park Bond Project




Director Dana Brown 
Assistant Director Madison Phillips
Assistant Director Vacant

Get Directions
Know Before You Go


John Chavis Memorial Park
505 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Raleigh, NC 27601



Community Center

John Chavis community center

The newly renovated at John Chavis Memorial Park includes artist David Wilson’s “Chavis Reclaimed” artwork glass collage. 

Center Programs

Community Center Amenities

  • Lounge with conversational seating featuring artwork by David Wilson: “Chavis Reclaimed” glass collage
  • Outdoor balcony with spectacular views of the downtown Raleigh skyline and plaza
  • Youth lounge with comfortable seating and gaming stations
  • Bathrooms including a family restroom with a baby-changing table and accessible shower

The community center has a variety of rooms available for rent. See rentals and rates.

View the virtual 360 community center tour.​​

Fitness room

Fitness Room

The fitness room has rubberized fitness flooring, fans, multiple machines, and a spectacular view of the plaza and downtown skyline. The equipment includes 3 treadmills, 2 upright bikes, 2 recumbent bikes, a rowing machine, dumbbells, kettlebells, suspension trainer, resistance bands, and equalizer bars.

View monthly pass information.

Interior of locker room with showers and bench

Locker Rooms

The locker rooms have accessible showers, restrooms, lockers, and baby-changing tables. 

Inside of gymnasium with wood floors, bleachers, basketball goals, and second floor indoor track


The gymnasium features maple flooring, 8 low-rise bleachers with spacious foot treads, 2 main basketball goals, and 4 side basketball goals. There are game lines for basketball, volleyball, and pickleball. The gym is available for rent for $85 per hour.

The gym features a second-floor indoor track. Sixteen times around the track equals a mile. The track has a rubberized track surface with multiple lanes, reversing travel patterns, and a rest/stretching zone that overlooks the plaza and downtown skyline. The track is available for rent for $75 per hour.

View other court locations.


Wide shot of playground at John Chavis Memorial Park
  • The playground features rubber safety surfacing. The natural play areas have playground mulch.
  • The playground is designed for all ages. The playground includes areas for ages 2 to 5 years and 5 to 12 years, and several features are inviting for teenagers and adults. 
  • The playground has adult exercise equipment, a skywalk climbing feature, and nature play elements.

Water Feature

Kid in water feature splashing around
  • The splash pad operating hours are 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday - Sunday.
  • The water feature is disabled during inclement weather.
  • No lifeguard is on duty. Use at your own risk. Children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult.
  • Children who are not potty trained must wear swim diapers.
  • Age-appropriate attire is required.
  • In the event of an emergency, call 911. Use the address of 505 Martin Luther King Boulevard.
  • No running or rough play is permitted. 
  • No pets, food, drink, or glass containers are permitted.
  • No bathing, showering, or washing of clothes is permitted.
  • Visitors are required to dry off after using the water feature before entering the community center and be in dry clothing before riding the carousel.
  • To report concerns or non-emergencies, please call 919-996-6590.

Historic Allan Herschell Carousel

Family with two girls smiling on the carousel horses at chavis park

The carousel, circa 1923, was purchased in 1937 for $4,000. The band organ is a Wurlitzer 146A with an ornately carved and decorated facade. Carousel hours vary depending on the season and may close early due to inclement weather.

  • Tickets are $2.00 for all riders 1 year of age and older.
  • Riders 12 months and younger are free with a paying adult.
  • Riders must be 42 inches tall to ride unaccompanied.
  • Ticket sales close 10 minutes prior to closing.
  • Masks are  strongly suggested while in the carousel building and riding the carousel.

Tickets can be purchased online in advance on RecLink or in person at the front desk in the community center. For more information, call 919-996-6590.

Past to Present Exhibit

Standing outdoor exhibit of two panels leaning against each other surrounded by green trees

John Chavis Memorial Park: Past to Present

John Chavis Memorial Park: Past to Present is an outdoor exhibit interpreting events that impacted the development of the park while highlighting community stories from the park's earliest days up to the present. The outdoor exhibit is located by the historic carousel house and playgrounds.

Learn more about the exhibit, planning process, and history of John Chavis Memorial Park.

Outdoor Track

track lanes with grassy field at chavis park
  • Walking track with sprint lanes
  • Lighted
  • Water fountain and benches
  • The track is 330 meters (five times around the track measures a mile)


dirt baseball field surround by grass outfield and lights at chavis park

Youth Baseball Field #2

  • Distance: 185 ft.
  • Lighting: yes

Multipurpose Field

  • 300' × 210'
  • Field not lighted (lighting on track only)

 View other field locations.

Request your field rental online using RecLink or by contacting Athletics at 919-996-2154.

Take note: Requests will be subject to staff approval. Upon approval, payment will be required to confirm the reservation. Your reservation is not finalized until you receive confirmation of your payment.


medium sized round picnic shelter with grass and flowers in bloom around it.

John Chavis Memorial Park has meeting rooms, fields, a reception hall, picnic shelters, a gymnasium, and more available for rent. 

Find rates and rental information.


Community Center

10 a.m.–9 p.m.
10 a.m.–9 p.m.
10 a.m.–9 p.m.
10 a.m.–9 p.m.
10 a.m.–9 p.m.
9 a.m.–3 p.m.
1 p.m.–6 p.m.


11 a.m.–8 p.m.
11 a.m.–8 p.m.
11 a.m.–8 p.m.
11 a.m.–8 a.m.
11 a.m.–8 a.m.
2 p.m.–6 p.m.

Upcoming Events