|Address:||1414 E. Johnson St.|
|Hours:||4:00am - 10:00pm|
|Shoreline On:||Lake Mendota & Yahara River|
Park DetailsWith its friendly atmosphere and impressive display of storybook scenery Tenney Park serves as a place to socialize, a peaceful recluse, and a place to just be. It's an excellent place to watch boats launch, seagulls flock, let the children play at the park, or just catch up on some reading. Under the narrative trees share a picnic on the plush, green grass while enjoying the seemingly endless horizon of Lake Mendota. Tenney Park is also a fantastic place to toss out a line for fishing, swim at the beach, or play a game of one of your favorite sports such as soccer, softball, or volleyball. Take stroll down the winding paths by foot, by bicycle, or rollerblades. In the chilly winter months, after gliding across the frozen lagoon, rejuvenate with a snack in the warming shelter. With its beauty and versatility in every season, this historic park is sure to be a favorite throughout the year!
Alternate addresses: 402 N. Thornton Ave. (shelter); 1330 Sherman Ave.; 1501 Sherman Ave. (boat launch parking)
Alcohol is prohibited in this park. For more information, see the Madison General Ordinance 8.24. In order to have alcohol in this park, you must have an alcohol permit, which may be obtained through the Parks Administrative Office.
Bird & Nature Outing: Explore this area with a FREE, guided nature walk offered monthly.
The Tenney Locks are owned and operated by Dane County Parks. It is open May - October. Please see the Dane County website for permit fee information and schedule.
The John Wall Family Pavilion is used as a City of Madison polling location and during elections is closed to all other activities.
At this Park
Madison Parks ranks #1 in the nation for the number of basketball hoops per resident, come check out the hoops in your neighborhood! Most of the basketball courts are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you are planning a new league or tournament see Athletic Field Reservations.View all Basketball Courts
Tenney Park - Basketball CourtSurface: Asphalt
Number of Courts: 1 full
Tenney Park - Basketball CourtSurface: Asphalt
Number of Courts: 1 half
BONUS BEACH LIFEGUARD DAYS - May 27-29View all Beaches
If the weather and water quality cooperate, we'll have lifeguards Memorial Day weekend at Warner and Vilas Beaches. 11am to 7pm, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 27-29.
LAKE WATER QUALITY
Public Health Madison & Dane County performs lake water quality testing from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Results are automatically posted on this page with "OK" or "CLOSED." If CLOSED, the beach area and park remain open but the water is closed for swimming. If OK, the water quality is approved for swimming, however, it does not mean a lifeguard is on duty.
NOTE: Due to mechanical issues, the Warner beach filtration system installation is delayed and is anticipated the first week in June.
SWIMMING - NO LIFEGUARDS ARE ON DUTY
Due to lifeguard priorities at the Goodman Pool, and limited staffing resources, we are unable to offer lifeguard service again until Labor Day weekend, when the Goodman Pool is closed for the season. The beaches, with good water quality, remain open with many locations providing swim ropes.
Beach restrooms are open daily approx. 10am to 8pm, May 27 - Sept. 4. See RESTROOMS to view locations.
Dogs are prohibited in all designated beach areas. Before your beach visit, please read the RULES.
Tenney BeachPublic Health Water Testing:Address: 1330 Sherman Ave.Open
Drinking Water: Yes
Parking: Parking Lot
Amenities: Picnic Tables, Playground, Volleyball
Swim Ropes: Yes
Tenney Beach Details
ACCESSING THE LAKES
A daily or annual permit is required year-round at designated sites to launch a motorboat, sailboat, iceboat, canoe, kayak, or ATV (see locations below). Piers are available from spring through fall. Installation and removal are dependent on the weather and lake conditions.
TEMPORARY 2023 CLOSURESSpring Harbor Park Boat Launch - Summer 2023Spring Harbor Boat Launch will be under reconstruction in the summer of 2023 and the launch will be closed during the project. While the exact dates are unknown at this time, the project is expected to last up to 6 weeks. Also, closely related and anticipated at the same time, Lake Mendota Drive will be under reconstruction. See Spring Harbor Boat Launch Project.Marshall Park Boat Launch - September 6-10, 2023
Due to a permitted event, the Marshall Park boat launch will be closed to the public from 4am to 3pm each day, Wednesday, September 6 through Sunday, September 10.
LAKE ACCESS PERMIT (Ordinance 8.215): See Purchase Permit
DESIGNATED CITY OF MADISON LAUNCH LOCATIONS BY LAKE
- A daily or annual permit is required year-round to launch a motorboat, sailboat, iceboat, canoe, kayak, or ATV.
- Purchase permit ONLINE or by calling during regular office hours. Onsite kiosks are not available.
- The permit is valid for the issue year through March 31 of the following year.
- Permits for the following year may be purchased starting November 1 of the previous year.
- The permit should be displayed on the inside driver's side windshield.
- The permit is valid at designated launch sites throughout Dane County. MAP
- LAKE MONONA: Law, Olbrich, Olin
- LAKE MENDOTA: Marshall, Spring Harbor, Tenney, Warner
Daily $8 Annual - Dane County Resident $50 Annual - Non-Resident $60 Annual - Dane County Senior (65+) & Disabled $25 Annual - Non-Res Senior (65+) & Disabled $30 Military/Veteran (New!) $25 Duplicate/Replacement $20
2023 permit is available Nov. 1 and is valid from the time of purchase through March 31, 2024.
2022 permit is valid through March 31, 2023.
TENNEY LOCKS NOTICE updated 04/06/2023The Tenney Locks, managed by Dane County Land & Water, is anticipated to open on Thursday, April 27, 2023. See DCLW for updates.
OLBRICH BOAT LAUNCH CAUTION ADVISORYBoaters are advised to use caution navigating the narrowed channel where the Starkweather Creek meets Lake Monona due to low lake levels and creek sediment. READ MORE
LAUNCH AREA PARKING RULES AND TIPS (Ordinance 8.16):
- Long stalls are for parking vehicles with trailers only.
- Regular-size stalls are for parking vehicles with no trailer only.
- Parking on the grass is prohibited.
- When the launch parking lot is full, you must find an alternative launch site
- Violators are subject to a citation.
In partnership with Dane County Parks, a Lake Access Permit is NOT required on the following days:
- Saturday - Sunday, January 21-22, 2023
- Saturday - Sunday, June 3-4, 2023
Tenney Park - Boat LaunchLake Access Permit Required: Yes
Notes: 1601 Sherman Ave.
Canoe & Kayak Launch Site
Madison Parks offers various locations to launch a canoe or kayak and is allowed at all of Madison Parks motorboat launch sites. Additionally, the parks listed below have a specially designated area for launch.
If you are looking to store your kayak or canoe in a park, please visit the storage webpage.
View all Canoe & Kayak Launch Sites
Canoe & Kayak Rental
Interested in getting out on one of Madison's lakes but you don't have your own watercraft? No problem! We have partners at locations throughout the city offering these great lake amenities!View all Canoe & Kayak Rental
Madison School & Community RecreationTelephone: (608) 204-4581
More Information: Madison School & Community Recreation
Notes: Available: pontoons
Canoe & Kayak Storage
Watercraft Storage SpacesExplore Madison's beautiful lakes, rivers, and creeks by paddle and store your canoe, kayak or paddleboard on the shores of your favorite park. All storage racks are outdoors and uncovered. The annual storage period begins each year on April 1 and ends on March 31 of the following year.
How to Reserve:
- You may be placed on our waitlist at no charge by calling (608) 266-4711 or EMAIL. Please include your name, phone number, email address, and any order of preferences on storage location.
- Current users will be able to renew their watercraft storage beginning in late winter/early spring each year and must renew by April 1.
- As spaces become available, those on the waitlist will be contacted after April 1 and given the opportunity to reserve a space.
City of Madison Resident - Annual, single watercraft $130 City of Madison Resident - Annual, 2 watercraft, same space (100# max) $195 Non-resident - Annual, single watercraft $240 Non-resident - Annual, 2 watercraft, same space (100# max) $360
Watercraft storage rules include:
- Watercraft must not exceed 100 pounds, 18' length, 42" width or 24" height.
- Storage is for permitted watercraft only. No personal property.
- Watercraft must be secured to the boat storage rack. The owner accepts all liability for theft or damage to their property.
- Parks Staff reserves the right to cut any lock and remove any watercraft, under any condition it deems necessary for the function of the boat storage program.
- View all Agreement Rules.
- Brittingham Park: Brittingham Boats 608-250-2555
- Olbrich Park: Rutabaga Paddlesports 608-513-1308
- Wingra Park: Wingra Boats 608-233-5332
Wisconsin residents aged 16 years old or older need a fishing license to fish in any waters of the state. Nonresidents aged 16 years old or older need a nonresident fishing license to fish in Wisconsin waters with hook and line. Visit the Wisconsin DNR website for more information.Every year, the first consecutive Saturday and Sunday in June and the third Saturday and Sunday in January, are designated as Free Fishing Weekends throughout the state of Wisconsin. Residents and nonresidents of all ages can fish without a fishing license (and trout stamps) over these two days. Visit WI DNR
An accessible pier is located in Vilas Park, on Lake Wingra. From WI DNR: Lake Wingra is a 336-acre lake with a maximum depth of 14 feet. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, and Walleye.
MESSAGE FROM PUBLIC HEALTH: Eating certain fish can be harmful because they may contain mercury, PCBs, or PFAS. Follow advice for Wisconsin and Dane County waters to choose fish with fewer chemicals. Learn more about PFAS from Public Health Madison & Dane County.
Ice Skate News
As of Monday, February 20 - all designated ice rinks and lagoons, and skate rental locations are CLOSED for the SEASON.
Ice Skating in Madison Parks
19 ice rinks or lagoons are maintained by Parks staff and/or volunteers during the cold winter season. All are free to use and no reservation is needed. See Special Winter Fun Edition: Ice Skating for more information.
A big thank you to our many volunteers and the ADOPT ICE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM!View all Ice Skating
Tenney Park - Frozen LagoonLocation: 402 N. Thornton Ave.
More Information: Skating at Tenney Park - Frozen Lagoon
Tenney Park - Hockey RinkLocation: 1330 Sherman Ave
More Information: Skating at Tenney Park - Hockey Rink
Madison Parks are a unique blend of active recreation and passive recreation spaces. Open Fields are just that - open, not pre-designed as a softball diamond, or football field. These open fields are available in these parks to spark your imagination, play a game of tag, or follow the leader - or anything you can think of! Enjoy your parks!View all Open Fields
Tenney Park - Open Field Games
Parking lots in parks are available for park programs or events during regular park hours: 4:00 am to 10:00 pm. Please observe the following.
- Driving or parking motorized vehicles is not allowed on the grass or near a shelter and is subject to a citation.
- Three-hour limit in all parks, as posted.
- No parking after hours: 10pm to 4am. Overnight parking is not allowed.
- Conservation park hours are 4am until one hour after sunset
- Follow all onsite parking regulation signs.
- Violators are subject to a fine.
The parking lot located on the eastern side of Law Park, commonly known as the Blair Lot, is a metered parking lot, enforced by City of Madison Parking Division between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
View all Parking Lots
In addition to the dual stripped (tennis & pickleball) locations, Garner Park offers Madison's only dedicated pickleball courts. Learn more about the game and rules adopted by the USA Pickleball Association.View all Pickleball Courts
Pickleball courts may be reserved ONLINE.
Tenney Park - Pickleball CourtSurface: Asphalt
Number of Courts: 3
Notes: Tennis/Pickleball Courts
With more than 175 playgrounds throughout Madison, you are never too far from a playground. According to the Trust for Public Land, Madison ranks #1 in the nation for the number of playgrounds available. The traditional swings and slides are always an option, as are new play elements and fully accessible playgrounds.
PLAYGROUNDS FOR EVERYONE
Through the Madison Parks Foundation initiative, Madison Parks offers all-inclusive playgrounds in Brittingham Park and Elver Park, opening in 2019. The Foundation has a goal of 5 fully accessible playgrounds.
PLAYGROUND REPLACEMENTS: HOW AND WHENView all Playgrounds
Madison Parks is responsible for maintaining more than 175 playgrounds and began a system-wide replacement initiative in 2013. With current staff and funding resources, replacements are scheduled to continue through 2033. Playgrounds are routinely inspected to assess the equipment's conditions and repair any safety concerns. Based on the age of the equipment and current conditions, each is given an audit score. The number of playgrounds replaced each year is based on budget allocations, staffing resources, and using the current playground audit score for prioritization.
REPLACEMENT PROCESS: NEIGHBORHOOD INPUT
At the start of the replacement process, notices are sent to the District Alder, neighborhood association representatives, and surrounding residential addresses. Information is also posted to the project website. Generally, two public meetings are held to review surfacing and equipment options and make final selections.
If you have questions about a specific playground or see something broken, please let us know.
Tenney Park - Playground
Tenney Park - Playground
Open public restrooms are listed below. All portable restrooms are accessible.
Year-Round Restrooms - open daily, from approximately 10am to 8pm.
- Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park - North
- Elver Park enclosed shelter
- Owen Conservation Park
- Tenney Park at the John Wall Family Pavilion
- Warner Park Boat Launch
Most restrooms are seasonally open daily from approximately 10am to 8pm. Locations and dates vary. Typically season restrooms open no later than the first Saturday on or after April 20 and remain open into October. Beach restrooms are also open daily, approx. 10am to 8pm from May 27 through September 4, 2023.
Once winter recreation begins, in addition to the year-round locations, Vilas and portable restrooms are provided in select winter recreation locations, once the amenity is open for the winter season. Please check Winter Fun for the status of winter recreation at a specific park. View all Restrooms
Tenney Park at John Wall Family PavilionLocation: 402 N. Thornton Ave.
Tenney Park BeachOPEN
Notes: Open daily May 27 - Sept. 4, 2023
Shelter - Reservable
Reserve a Shelter
- See SHELTER PRICES for 2023 rates.
- BEFORE reserving, be sure to see Parks Projects. We are continually improving our park system and some of these improvements may impact a nearby shelter.
- RESERVE one of three ways
- Calling (608)266-4711
- In-person at the Parks administration office
- Full payment is due at the time of processing your reservation, along with any required permits.
- Credit card is the only accepted method of payment.
- All reservations are subject to our standard cancellation policy.
- Most shelters are open mid-April through mid-October (see exceptions below).
- The Shelter Reservations Guide provides details on seating capacities, and amenities such as outlets, fireplaces, and picnic tables.
- 2023 reservations open Tuesday, November 8, 2022.
- See Special Events for select 2023 dates/locations not available.
Shelter Open Schedule Exceptions:
- Open year-round:
- Open mid-April through mid-November:
- John Wall Family Pavilion in Tenney Park
- Elver Park (enclosed shelter)
- Warner Park
- Olin Park (through October)
- Picnic shelters may be reserved online or by calling -OR- if not reserved, are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Day of signage is posted at the shelter.
- Madison Parks does not guarantee absolute privacy to any group. Your reservation will reserve only the facility you are using, not the entire park or other facilities within the park. If you are interested in reserving the entire park, please visit Special Events.
- Alcohol is permitted in most Madison Parks. Glass is never allowed. There are a handful of alcohol-free parks. In these locations, if you would like to bring alcohol, you will need an alcohol permit, which may be obtained when placing your reservation. An alcohol permit, without a reservation, is not given.
- Public improvements and/or construction may be underway during the time of your reservation. The City of Madison Parks Division makes every attempt to schedule around events and shelter reservations whenever possible, however, this is not a guarantee. Please keep in mind improvements to parks and infrastructure continues throughout the year. Please visit Park Projects for a partial list of major capital improvement projects.
- Firearms or weapons are not permitted at any of the shelters. Violators may be considered trespassers and may be subject to forfeiture or arrest.
- The availability of Gates of Heaven may be checked online however, you will need to call to make your reservation.
- Reservations for the following year begin in November of the proceeding year.
Tenney Park at John Wall Family PavilionAddress: 402 N. Thornton Ave.
Capacity: Seats 120 people inside/60 outside patio
Restrooms: In shelter
Water: Available in shelter
Parking: Parking lot
Alcohol-Free Park: Yes – alcohol permit is required.
Shelter Details: Tenney Park at John Wall Family Pavilion
Slacklining and Hammocking
Slacklining or hammocking in a park is allowed following the guidelines below at specific times, on specific trees, and never in a conservation park. Always keep in mind, Park Rangers have the authority to remove or order the removal of any slackline or hammock which they deem as harmful to the tree or as a danger to the safety of park users. The best advice, WHEN IN DOUBT, DON'T.
Dos and Don'tsTethering to trees for the purpose of slacklining or hammocking is allowed following these guidelines:
- DO: Sunrise to 30 minutes prior to sunset
- DO: Temporary only and may never be left unattended or overnight
- DO: Only on trees greater than 1' in diameter and 4.5'
- DO: Tree protect is used at connection points
- DON'T: Never tether on Oak, Hickory or Birch trees
- DON'T: Never in any conservation park
Proper Tree ProtectionTree protection is required for tethering any equipment to help prevent damage to the tree's bark. Carpet, foam pads or towels make good protection. Make sure the fabric padding completely encircle the tree at the connection points and is a minimum of ¼" thick by 10" wide. For more information and examples, see TREE PROTECTION
Prohibited TreesNever tether on an oak, hickory or birch tree. When in doubt, don't For more information, see TREE IDENTIFICATION
When in Doubt, Don't
Park Rangers have the authority to remove or order the removal of any slackline or hammock which they deem as harmful to the tree or as a danger to the safety of park users.View all Slacklining and Hammocking
Many of the soccer fields are programmed with youth and adult league play. If you would like to reserve a field or facility, please call the Athletic Scheduler at (608)266-4711. Find out more about Athletic Field Reservations.View all Soccer Fields
Fields, open or closed?
If a field reservation is canceled, a notification is emailed to the user who made the field reservation. Notifications are sent by 2:00 pm Monday through Friday and by 9:00 am on weekends and holidays.
Tenney Park - Soccer NWBleachers: No
Tenney Park - Soccer SEBleachers: No
Madison Parks has nearly 100 tennis courts. Most of the tennis courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis. When courts are reserved, at least one must be left available for pick-up play. Please note that all tennis leagues and all tennis instructors must pay for a reservation, no matter the location. Go to: Athletic Field ReservationsView all Tennis Courts
Practice Wall Locations
Bordner, Brittingham, Elver, Olbrich, Tenney, Waunona and Westmorland
Tenney Park - Tennis CourtSurface: Asphalt
Number of Courts: 3
Notes: Tennis/Pickleball Courts
Most of the volleyball courts are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you are planning a new league or tournament see Athletic Field Reservations.View all Volleyball Courts
Tenney Park - Volleyball CourtLocation: By beach
Number of Courts: 1