Category Archives: Parks

Acton Nature Center

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I suspect I visited the Acton Nature Center when it wasn’t at its best. The weather was that special hot that it gets in Texas in the summer and many of the plants were suffering from a long dry spell. But it was still great! The Acton Nature Center is located at 6900 Smoky Hill Ct., Granbury, TX 76049 and has been around for more than a decade. Because of the heat, I didn’t explore the entire center, but I did venture to the butterfly gardens which was lovely. There were a couple of butterflies and a huge lizard, as well as an air conditioned structure used to view birds (that day it was cardinals and hummingbirds).

The volunteer was very welcoming and informative and suggested walking the loop down near the pond, which was wooded and a tad cooler. Sadly the pond wasn’t there! I’m sure it will be back after some rain.

I’d love to go visit in the Spring when the wildflowers are blooming and it is cooler. The volunteers that have created this center should be very proud of their efforts.

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Cabrillo Amarillo

 

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The brightly colored Cabrillo Amarillo by Paul Kuniholm Pauper is part of the Percival Landing Plinth Project, an initiative involving 15 pieces of art. The public is invited to visit Percival Landing, view all of the pieces and then vote for their favorite. The winning art piece is then purchased by the City of Olympia and the are available for sale.  More information about the project can be found here and more information about the artist is here.

There was a famous aquarium at Salter’s Point

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Dear daughter, her dear friend and I were looking for relieve from the heat on June 5 and we decided on a beach. Dear daughter suggested that beach where one goes on a footbridge over the railroad station. So after my online community and I figured out where that was, Salter’s Point at 91 Champion St. in Steilacoom, off we went. The footbridge is now a steep metal affair with gates on both sides of the stairs. It was constructed in 2014 after the prior wooden bridge was damaged and closed. About 60 trains a day pass along the tracks.

I was expecting to find some natural beauty, relief from the heat and perhaps a couple of small crabs. And indeed I found all that, but I also found an interesting history.

The covered picnic area built in 1939 as part of the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). Per Wikipedia the WPA “was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. In a much smaller but more famous project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.”

The remains of a marina and store is located at the southerly end of the park. The property was destroyed by fire in 2009. The fire commanded the attention of three fireboats and more than 50 firefighters from eight fire departments. In 1987 there was a homicide at the store (Wang’s Maritime Marina); two teens killed the store’s owner. In close proximity to the marina ruins was the Soundview Inn and Boathouse, which was a boardinghouse with family style meals. They also had boat rentals.

The site of the Deep Sea Aquarium is also located at Salter’s Point. It was constructed by Ed Bair, brother of Bair (Bair Drugstore). The aquarium featured an extensive collection of sea life including a seal that lived under the porch where it could swim depending on the tide. The aquarium was promoted all over the western states, but closed in the 1930s.

Here are some interesting articles about the location.

A first person account about the aquarium 

“The evolution of Saltar’s Point,” Steilacoom Historical Museum Quarterly, XIV (Summer, 1985) p. l, 3-6.

City of Steilacoom Park Info

Fire destroys Steilacoom Marina and Store

 

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The World’s Longest Floating Boardwalk

The World's Longest Floating BoardwalkThe World’s Longest Floating Boardwalk is located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It was completed in 1985 and extends 3,300 feet including a bridge with a spectacular view of the lake on this unusually warm spring day. There were a handful of love locks on the bridge itself. Along our walk dear daughter made a ladybug friend.

imageThe World's Longest Floating BoardwalkView from The World's Longest Floating BoardwalkLadybugView from The World's Longest Floating Boardwalk

Our visit to Coeur d’Alene also included a stroll through downtown with associated shopping and snacks. My favorite piece of art was the huge dandelion sculpture.

The World's Longest Floating Boardwalk

 

The World's Longest Floating BoardwalkA lock on The World's Longest Floating Boardwalk

Dandylion

Washtucna, WA

I drove to Pullman today and along the way I stopped in the town of Washtucna in Adams County. The town has a population of about 200 people. I picked Washtucna because I heard it had a good birding park known as Bassett Park after the first mayor. It was some nice little park with a small creek running through it and one of the local residents came and chatted with me for a while. And then as I was leaving the town I found their original sheriff’s office/jail which consisted of a very small wooden building with two jail cells and a front area for the sheriff. There was also the original outhouse, a two seater!  Altogether it was a pleasant little diversion on the long drive to Pullman and I’m glad I stopped.


  
  
  
  

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The Guardian Stone, Poulsbo

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The Guardian Stone is Poulsbo’s newest public art installation and it is really lovely. My first thought was “oh, look, a sword in the stone! King Arthur!”, but no. It being Poulsbo, the piece is reflective of Norwegian history.  The rock, steel and glass sculpture by Lisa Stirrett was installed in February 2016 at the Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park. The nine foot tall piece is a nod to Swords of the Rock in Norway, though that piece is much larger (see a photo of that too). Really, it is captivating. You should go see it!

 

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The Dahlia Trial Gardens at Point Defiance

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When I think of large displays of dahlias I usually think of the Connell’s Dahlia or perhaps the Washington State Fair. But Point Defiance Park also has a large display, the Dahlia Trial Gardens, which is right next door to the Rose Gardens and everything seemed to be in bloom!  I had gone to join my good friends at a picnic and really enjoyed my time with them. Afterwards I wandered all the gardens, enjoying the sunshine and snapping away. This Dahlia Trial Garden is one of eight in the entire United States that is sanctioned by the American Dahlia Society. It is managed by the Washington State Dahlia Society. Post Defiance has an excellent article on the gardens.

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Asahel Curtis Picnic Area

IMG_4819The drive home from Ellensburg last weekend was smoky from the Washington forest fires, but I decided to stop at the Asahel Curtis Picnic area anyway. It was a perfectly nice picnic area with the Snoqualmie River running next to it. It was really a fast stop for me and I was quickly on my way home.

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I-90

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Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Asahel Curtis

 

Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, TX

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While in Texas I got in a short visit with some very dear friends and they took me to see the recently opened Klyde Warren Park in Downtown Dallas. The 5+ acre park opened in 2012 and is constructed over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway at the edge of the city’s art district. This privately managed park features various food trucks, a children’s area with a tree house, a dog park, outdoor seating, water features, gardens and a putting green. There was a very positive feel to the place as folks enjoyed the sunshine and one another’s company. The one photo shows my ice cream sandwich with homemade cookies and ice cream 🙂 The bee actually got stuck to my hat, making for an easy photo. Yes, he then flew away.

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Standing in dinosaur footprints at Dinosaur Valley State Park

imageWhen I was a kid my parents took me to the World’s Fair in New York and there was a dinosaur exhibit. I was startled to realize that two of those dinosaurs, the Apatosaurus and the T-Rex, had been relocated to the Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas. The Atlantic Richfield Company donated the fiberglass replicas to the park in 1970. The park did not get its name from the two replicas however, it is the site of real dinosaur footprints!

The 1,587-acre Dinosaur Valley State Park opened in 1972. Its mission:  to preserve these valuable dinosaur track sites and to allow people to learn from and enjoy them. It is situated on the Paluxy River and many of the tracks on near or in the river. About 113 million years ago, this area had been ocean front and the ground was the perfect place for creating fossils. Both Herbivores and Carnivores would come to this area to eat plants and in the case of the Carnivores each other. There was an enormous river flood in 1908 and in 1909 a young boy, George Adams, found three-toed tracks of theropods. Sometime later, in 1937, R.T. Bird, who collected fossils for the American Museum of Natural History came to the area and found tracks of the much larger sauropod (70′ long, 13′ high, 40+ tons).

Some of the park’s visitors were very interested in the tracks. One can go right up to many of them and touch them and even stand in them to get a sense of scale. Other park visitors were more interested in cooling off in the Paluxy River. I visited the two main track sites and also drove around the camping area. There were plenty of spaces available, no doubt the heat was keeping folks away.

I would have stopped at the Creation Evidence Museum, but sadly it was closed. I heard that DInosaur World was something to see, but it was too hot to do any more outside exploring. So they will have to wait until next year.

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