2019 NRPA Conference Updates

The NRPA Annual Conference is one of the premier annual meeting of the park and recreation community. The three-day event brings together more than 8,000 park and recreation professionals, citizen advocates ands industry suppliers for amazing networking opportunities, hundreds of education sessions and the industry's largest trade show showcasing the products and services of nearly 400 exhibitors.

Highlights from Incoming President Paul Simmons:

There’s nothing like boarding the plane to NRPA and seeing it full of park professionals and vendors from across our region. It’s almost as if the conference and networking starts in the terminal. 

I had an amazing time in Baltimore for this year's Annual Conference. Here are a few of my favorite things:

  • Awards:
    • Our state was well represented in the Gold Medal Awards.
    • Congrats to Washington State Parks for being recognized as one of the top four state park agencies in the country.
    • Metro Parks Tacoma has brought home the gold! Those of us who have been to Tacoma lately know that they there are truly the cutting edge of our profession, it was great to see them receive this national recognition on the big stage in Baltimore. WRPA is very excited to announce that this year's Annual Conference & Tradeshow will be hosted in Tacoma, WA!
  • Pacific Northwest Social: A special thanks to our WRPA Platinum Sponsor Northwest Playgrounds Equipment, Inc. for hosting the Pacific Northwest Social. It was great to see all the people from Washington who were able to attend, while also getting to know some of our neighbors in Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.
  • Educational Sessions: We learned about leadership, marketing, park design, emerging trends, equity, and arts. It was a real challenge narrowing down which great session to go to.
  • The People: More than 8,000 park professionals descended on the city. We even took over Baltimore Ravens stadium for the Opening Session. This great event was followed up by the Landscape Structures who invited us into Camden Yards for their social. It was a great mix of historical sports facilities and professional networking.
  • Speakers: There were many exciting speakers including, Cal Ripken JR was the keynote speaker!
  • Kayak Tour: I got to tour the inner harbor in Downtown Baltimore. It was the perfect mix of seeing a series of historical features and restoration efforts, all from the water with 60+ other kayakers.

If you’ve never experienced the NRPA Annual Conference, I’d highly recommend adding it to your professional bucket list. The next four years are already planned out - 2020 Orlando, 2021 Nashville, 2022 Phoenix, 2023 Dallas. Every park professional should experience the NRPA trade show at least once. From full-scale playgrounds to custom sock vendors for your local ice rink, there literally is a vendor for every sector of our profession.

Videos from NRPA Conference 2019


Future NRPA Annual Conference Dates and Locations

  • Conference 2020: October 27-29, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL
  • Conference 2021: September 21-23, Nashville Convention Center, Nashville, TN
  • Conference 2022: September 20-22, Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, AZ
  • Conference 2023: October 10-12, Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center, Dallas, TX
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