How do you celebrate Memorial Day? While some families may take a quick trip out of town to the coast or explore a nearby town, many stay in Thurston County for the extended weekend. If you are staying home, celebrate Memorial Day by attending a ceremony honoring our veterans.
Living in the state capital city means there is an annual Memorial Day celebration that takes place in the Capitol Rotunda. This building is one of the most beautiful in the country and is definitely worth a visit. The ceremony will begin Monday, May 30 at 10:30 a.m. and last approximately two hours. The American Legion Band will play a free concert for attendees. If you have little ones, it is easy to slip out if they get restless and explore the rest of the Capitol campus. (Find a list of 10 free activities to do while visiting the state capitol in this article.)
Leaving the Capitol, head towards the Winged Victory Monument. This statue honors Washington veterans that served in the World War I. From here, you can visit the sobering Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This beautiful memorial, erected in 1987, was specifically designed to be accessible to children and those in wheelchairs. Children can touch every name. You will see people leaving flowers and other mementos in the placeholders next to each name of a fallen soldier. These items are collected and saved in the Washington State Archives. What a wonderful opportunity to discuss some history with your family.
The memorial to those lost in WWII is on the south end of the Capitol Campus and is another spectacular work of art well worth visiting. As you leave this memorial, you may notice a section of grass that is not maintained. This is a trial area for the Capitol groundskeepers and serves as another interesting point of conversation. (To share your feedback on letting this area “go natural” versus the more manicured sections of the lawn, fill out this survey.)
Once you have roamed the Capitol Campus, you can head down the trail affectionately known as the “switchbacks.” Remember that what goes down, must go back up. From here you can walk around Capitol Lake or head into downtown Olympia to explore the restaurants and shops.
A browse through Traditions Cafe is a great choice within walking distance of the lake. Children are welcomed at this funky folk art store with wares from around the world. The café inside features grilled panini sandwiches and salads including fan favorite, Lemon Tahini with brown rice.
Cross the street and head toward the water. Walk along Percival Landing. Learn more about the public art in this article.
When you reach the top of the switchbacks, be sure to turn around and look back for the best part of the day. Here you get one of the most gorgeous views in Olympia of Capitol Lake, Budd Bay and the Olympic mountains off in the distance.
Happy Memorial Day Thurston County!
Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at email@example.com. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and the surrounding area, visit our complete event calendar.