Station 9: Community Spaces
PARKS AND OPEN SPACES AROUND US
Parks are vital to community health and well-being. They are part of what makes our community a wonderful place to live, work and play. Here in Olympia, we have over 50 parks that are stewarded by the city for residents and visitors to enjoy year-round. How do you like to enjoy parks spaces? Do you like to play on the playground? Do you like to walk through the trails? Do you like to be near water? Olympia’s parks reflect the community’s need for both solitude and social gathering spaces, options for play, and connections to nature. From forest trails to fountains, pickleball courts to playgrounds, our parks are full of fun, beauty, and diversity.
Our parks and open spaces contain a wide variety of habitat including wetlands, streams, critical area buffers, marine and lake shorelines, and mature forests. West Bay Park, Percival Landing and Squaxin Park provide essential habitat on Budd Inlet for fish and other marine wildlife. Grass Lake Nature Park contains the headwaters of Green Cove Creek and one of the most environmentally intact wetland and stream systems in northern Thurston County. Watershed Park contains the springs and wetlands forming the headwaters of Moxlie Creek surrounded by mature forests. The remaining parks and open spaces include large upland areas with native vegetation and mature forests and smaller forested habitats scattered across the city. Each of these natural areas provides habitat for a variety of species. These areas also play a vital role serving as natural infrastructure that improves our water and air.
WHAT CITY OF OLYMPIA PARKS ARE NEAR GARFIELD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?
Woodruff – One of Olympia’s oldest parks. There used to be a giant water tower where the current spray park is. A must visit park in the summer to enjoy the splash pad and to climb the big tree.
Sunrise – Home to one of Olympia’s best sledding hills, along with a great paved walking trail and a community garden.
Decatur Woods – A great park to bike to with lots of sidewalks nearby. Try out the paved walking trail with public art. The playground has a rubber surface (instead of woodchips) that is great for young children to explore.
West Central Park – Once slated to be a gas station, the West Central Park Project non-profit gathered to bring the now lively urban park with live music and market space.
Garfield Nature Trail – Connecting the neighborhood to the bay, follow the creek down through the ravine for this fun nature walk. Remember, the quieter you walk, the more nature you will see.
Park of the Seven Oars – This park is an art installment with benches and walls made from members of the Chehalis Tribe. The park is also a great resting and viewing spot.
West Bay – Just south of the old shipping yards and railway track, this park is a great location to put in a kayak, look for seals or watch the sail boats. Also a fun spot to look for crabs on the beach.
Isthmus Park – Home to an Ice Rink in the winter and a pump track in the summer. A great stop when walking, busing or biking downtown.
Check out the Born Learning Trail interactive activity series at Decatur Woods and Friendly Grove! The Born Learning Trail is a series of 10 interactive signs that offer fun, active learning activities for young children and their families. Find parks maps and directions HERE
Become a Junior Ranger! Kids ages 8 and under can earn a Junior Ranger Badge by completing four activities. Get the Junior Ranger Guide HERE
Become a Parks Steward Volunteer! Bring the whole family along for a fun day of helping restore habitats at a Work Party. Sign up HERE
Want to do more Parks, Arts and Recreation related activities from home? Check out the Virtual Program listings!
BOOKS TO READ TOGETHER
Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara
Counting on Community is Innosanto Nagara’s follow-up to his hit ABC book A is for Activist Counting up from one stuffed piñata to ten hefty hens-and always counting on each other-children are encouraged to recognize the value of their community the joys inherent in healthy eco-friendly activities and the agency they possess to make change. A broad and inspiring vision of diversity is told through stories in words and pictures. And of course there is a duck to find on every page!
Find the Library book HERE.