LBA Park in Olympia: Athletic Facilities, Playground Fun and Hiking Trails


Nestled in a quiet neighborhood, shaded by towering fir trees and just down the road from McKenny Elementary School, the LBA Park in Olympia is a park that could also be described as, “of the people, by the people, for the people.” On land donated by the Little Baseball Association (LBA) in 1974, the City of Olympia built the LBA Park facilities. Since that time, it has been utilized, enjoyed and protected by the area people. Olympic Sotheby’s International Realty enjoys sharing about the great places for people to get outdoors and enjoy life in Thurston County and LBA Park is one of these gems. On many afternoons and weekends people are walking dogs in the neighborhood and adding the paved pathways and dirt trails of the park to their route.

LBA Park Is a Long Time Olympia Neighborhood Favorite

In 1976, the LBA Park baseball fields in Olympia opened for use. The late 1970s began a pattern of athletic events such as early-round matches for the 15th annual City of Olympia Tennis Tournament in July 1977. In August of 1978, the third annual Oly MDA Slowpitch Tournament was played there, and Olympia Moose Lodge 1759 sponsored its sixth annual men’s slow-pitch tournament there in 1979.

“My sons both played baseball there for many years,” Olympic Sotheby’s International Realty agent Rhonda Olnick says. “I played baseball there when I was a kid.You’ve got four, back-to-back fields, and it’s exciting. The snack bar has always been a big hit with kids, and there’s a great atmosphere.” 

LBA park baseball fields
LBA Park baseball fields in Olympia opened in 1976. Photo courtesy: City of Olympia

LBA Woods Park Coalition Lobbied City of Olympia to Preserve Adjacent Woods

Residents surrounding LBA Park lobbied the City of Olympia to help preserve the wooded area bordering the park. In 2012, the forested area was destined to have more than 800 houses built on it. A few years later, in 2017, the Olympia City Council approved buying the 72 acres of woods bordering LBA park, bringing the total park acreage to 155 acres.

The woods and trails within it were a hit. In the summer of 2019, more than 100 trail runners signed up to run routes on park trails in the Little Backyard Adventure Race. Locals rallied again over Log Cabin Road development plans, which would bisect the park, and the City later responded with a decade long postponement on plans to extend the road.

wooded trail in LBA park
Residents surrounding LBA Park lobbied the City of Olympia to help preserve the wooded area bordering the park. The four miles of walking trails make loops and crossover paths through the woods. Photo credit: Rebecca Sanchez

From both parking lots, park perimeter pathways lead to the woods. At the trail system entrance, people will find “The Philosopher,” a Percival Plinth Project sculpture by artist Kevin Au. It’s a good place to pause at the picnic table, tighten your laces and prep your ear buds for listening to City of Olympia’s Symphony Strolls available through QR code signs in the park. Walkers and joggers can make numerous variations of looped excursions through the four miles of walking trails.

“There’s a great trail system, and now that the City owns all of those trails, there have been a lot of updates to the trails,” Olnick says. “Last summer they had the Washington Trails Association come out. The volunteers installed culverts and bridges over some of the wet spots. The City also upgraded the ADA accessibility to one of the baseball fields that didn’t have ADA access. That really helped open that baseball field up to everybody.” 

Olympia Residents Find Year-Round Activities at LBA Park

Even in cooler weather, families visit the LBA Park playground, picnic tables and athletic fields.  When baseball and softball seasons are active, the six fields are rented out for games. The concessions stand and restrooms are also open in summer, and now paved ramps lead spectators to the higher ball field.

Families hang out on benches and lay out snacks on the picnic tables. Toddlers and elementary school kids all find the multi-age and multi-ability playground equipment fun and accessible. A picnic shelter can be rented for group events, and people can play basketball, tennis and baseball.

huge evergreen trees surround animal sculptures in LBA park.
‘A Story Place’ features the forest animal sculptures of Nancy Thorne Chambers, which were donated to the city and installed in the park in 2021. Photo credit: Rebecca Sanchez

Near the playground is a little art display, “A Story Place,” featuring sculptures of forest animals being read to by a child. Children can experience the art up close, walking in and among small sculptures. The creations of Nancy Thorne Chambers were donated to the City and installed in the park in 2021.

Walk the woods, trail run, take a toddler to the climbing toy and slide, or walk among the story time animal sculptures. Walk a loop around the park with the dog. See a baseball game, a tennis match, or just meet up with some friends to hit some balls at the softball field. LBA Park has something available for everyone.

LBA Park entrances and parking:

3333 Morse-Merryman Road SE to park nearer to the athletic fields and wooded trail access.

3500 Amhurst Street SE to park near the tennis court and playground area.  

people sitting on the grass in the shade watching a baseball game at LBA park
The LBA Park playground, picnic tables and athletic area includes six fields that are rented out for games. The concessions stand and restrooms are open in summer, and now paved ramps lead to the higher ball field. Photo courtesy: City of Olympia
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