As the capitol of Washington State, the City of Olympia encompasses a wealth of cultural and historic discoveries. Bordering Olympia are the Cities of Lacey and Tumwater, each with their own intriguing attractions plus numerous family-oriented and outdoor recreation adventures nearby.
History buffs can immerse themselves in local heritage by taking the tour of the State Capitol Building and visiting the State Capital Museum in the former Lord Mansion, Bigelow House Museum (circa 1860), Henderson House Museum (circa 1905), City of Lacey Museum and Tenino Depot Museum. They can also view the Native American Story Pole on the Capitol grounds, the End of the Oregon Trail monument in Olympia's Sylvester Park and Tumwater Falls Park, where salmon swim up the fish ladder to spawn every fall.
Families with younger kids enjoy the fascinating Children's Hands On Museum and Heritage Park with 47 dancing fountains for kids to frolic through in Olympia. Kids and adults alike are captivated by the Olympia Flight Museum's vintage aircraft, most of which still proudly fly in local air shows.
Performing arts lovers can enjoy the Olympia Symphony Orchestra, Masterworks Choral Ensemble and/or Olympia Chamber Orchestra at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia. Harlequin Productions' State Theater and Capitol Playhouse both present live productions, and Capitol Theater is home to the Olympia Film Festival. Also, more than 80 pieces of public art on display in Olympia for visual art lovers, and a walking tour brochure is available to locate them.
Fun discoveries include exploring the Olympia Farmers' Market near the Waterfront Boardwalk and taking the next-door Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Tasting Room Roastery Tour. Need to take a short break? The Yashiro Japanese Garden in Olympia provides an unexpected, tranquil sanctuary in the center of Olympia.
Outdoor recreation opportunities abound with walking and biking along the extensive Western Chehalis and Yelm-Tenino trails, plus more adventurous hiking on the many trails within the vast Capital Forest preserve. Don't miss the unusual Monarch Sculpture Park with nearly 100 outdoor sculptures bordering the Western Chehalis Trail.
Kayak, canoe & boat rentals are offered at Boston Harbor Marina in Olympia. Kayaking is a perfect way to explore the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, a favorite for bird-watching and viewing marine wildlife. It also includes a trail system for hikers and fishing sites. Birding is very popular in other preserves such as the mysterious Mima Mounds, uniformly-spaced prairie mounds up to six feet high and 30 feet in diameter that cover 445 acres!
Wolf Haven International is another extraordinary wildlife watching opportunity where visitors can learn about this endangered species and efforts to breed selective wolves for release back into the wild.
So whether visitors seek to absorb history and culture, enjoy family activities, view wildlife and/or experience outdoor recreation, they'll find fresh, less-crowded discoveries within the greater Olympia area.
For more information visit our website www.visitolympia.com.
(Courtesy of Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater VCB)