Outdoor Enjoyment for Every Age at Olympia and Lacey Neighborhood Parks


Olympic Sotheby’s International Realty understands the value of neighborhood amenities. One of the important assets a neighborhood has is its parks. Olympia and Lacey both offer community parks where visitors can access sports fields and playgrounds near services as well as quiet spots for an outdoor break on the way home from work or school. Check out these Lacey and Olympia parks – you just might decide to find your next home near one of them so you can daily walk in the park.

Friendly Grove Park

2316 Friendly Grove Road NE, Olympia

Friendly Grove Park in Olympia is a great place to spend the afternoon with a troop of kids or with a few pals for tennis. Individual picnic tables can be found beneath shade trees, and a paved walking path makes a perimeter loop around the large grassy soccer area and edges along an adjacent patch of woods. The 14.48-acre park is nestled into a quiet neighborhood off of 26th Avenue and part of the park property was once home to one of the first youth baseball leagues in Thurston County.

Kids can try out the small-scale skateboarding area, which has low-profile concrete ramps and rail curbs. Two playgrounds, both new in 2020, one for preschool-age children and one for older children, sit side-by-side, next to the swings and a single-hoop basketball spot.

Friendly Grove Park is also in a good location to bring fresh snacks from nearby San Francisco Street Bakery for a casual picnic, and visitors use the covered picnic shelter for larger parties and barbecues.

Family and friends gather under the covered picnic area at Friendly Grove Park in Olympia for birthday parties and other events. A small parking area immediate to the entrance makes the trek from car to picnic or playground a quick one. Photo courtesy: City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

Woodruff Park

1500 Harrison Avenue NW, Olympia

In 1892 Sam Woodruff sold, but mostly gifted with a small $1-price tag, the 2.46-acre parcel that is now Woodruff Park to the City of Olympia. It remains a beloved resource for neighborhoods north and south of Harrison Avenue. A long-time popular locale for tennis, the park maintains two tennis courts as well as four pickleball courts, a grass volleyball court and a basketball hoop.

Woodruff Park also has a water play area, which draws loads of families on warm days. Visitors bring blankets for sitting in the shade while the kids play in the sprayground. Picnic space also draws in parties and sunny day lunches. Being within walking distance of Eagan’s Westside Drive-In and Doos Donuts, snacks and treats are not far away.

people playing tennis in Woodruff Park
A long-time popular locale for tennis, Woodruff Park in West Olympia also has a popular sprayground that draws many families on warm days. Photo courtesy: City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

Margaret McKenny Park

3111 21st Avenue SE, Olympia

Named after naturalists Margaret McKenny who took saving Watershed Park to the Washington State Supreme Court in 1955, Margaret McKenny Park in Olympia certainly provides an opportunity to connect with nature.

This four-acre park is tucked into the subdivision of homes that encircle it. A short, wooded path winds through the woods and re-enters the park, making it a great hike for little tykes just learning about the forest.

Two playgrounds give ample play space for varying ages as well as a basketball hoop and swings. Adjacent to one of the forest trail entrances, visitors will find a charming two-bench glider swing.

kids playing on a playground at Margaret McKinney Park
The playground at Margaret McKenny Park in Olympia has a vertical obstacle course for kids to balance as they navigate their feet on little platforms and make their way through the ropes. Photo courtesy: City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

Meridian Neighborhood Park

8855 Campus Glen Drive NE, Lacey

Meridian Neighborhood Park is just off of Willamette Drive in the Hawks Prairie area of Lacey, making this park a quick stop on an afternoon drive home or a convenient walk from nearby neighborhoods. Tall fir trees give plenty of shade, and broad grassy spaces are great for letting kids run or play sports. Between the playgrounds, basketball space and the William Ives trail on the connecting property, there are many activity choices. A picnic shelter and tables mean opportunities for gatherings too.

Meridian Neighborhood Park, just off of Willamette Drive in the Hawks Prairie area of Lacey, is a convenient stop on the drive home or a convenient walk from nearby neighborhoods. Photo credit: Rebecca Sanchez

William A. Bush Park

4400 Chardonnay Drive SE, Lacey

William A. Bush Park in southeast Lacey is a lively place on most days. Soccer games and the like draw spectators. Visitors lined up in lawn chairs and on picnic blankets under the shade trees and playgrounds full of kids are common sites at this park. Its location near the intersection of College Street and Yelm Highway is also convenient for grabbing a bite to eat for hungry players and their families.

“An element about both parks is that they each have two playgrounds, one for 2- to 5-year-olds and another for 5- to 12-year-olds, and both are a hit with those age ranges,” says Jenny Wilson, senior parks planner with City of Lacey Parks, Culture & Recreation. “The playgrounds have swings too, which are popular with kids. The covered picnic areas are also really popular and are used for family gatherings.” 

Named after a former City of Lacey mayor, William A. Bush Park has a mix of nature and recreation. A pond on the northeast corner of the park is surrounded by tall reeds and attracts ducks and geese. Photo credit: Rebecca Sanchez

Whether you travel the main thoroughfare and stop for a break at the park or are nestled into a neighborhood and get there on foot, Olympia and Lacey have parks with refreshing atmosphere. Whatever the age of your group members, the walking paths, playgrounds and comfortable outdoor spaces at each park have options for everyone.

Thinking of moving to a neighborhood near a park? Visit the Olympic Sotheby’s International Realty website.


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