We couldn't resist listing all the other nominations from Thurston County residents.
We originally planned to stop at just seven, but residents offered so many other terrific ideas that we thought we'd post the rest. Check out these wonders as well! Quotes are from residents.
Priest Point Park - "It is one of the only places in town that still has old-growth forest. Not only that, the park has been around for ages...and is almost unchanged since I was a small child back in the early 60's. I have many fond memories of picnicking there with family and friends as I grew up." / "Capitol Lake, Priest Point Park, Tumwater Falls and the Capitol Campus are all well kept beautiful urban walking spots, several of which are linked. Their beauty is unsurpassed, and all are located downtown. One can spend as must time, an afternoon or a lunch break, enjoying the beauty and the serenity." / "Such a lovely park just right downtown, with big trees and access to the water. A great place for a picnic, or a walk or jog." / "Great spot, close to the city, to go for a picnic or go to the beach." / "Great trails that don't feel like you are in town." / "The trails provide a wilderness experience in the city. Some are steep, some are gentle, and all of them lead to views of the Puget Sound. Delightful variety of second growth forest canopy and groundcover."
Lattin's Country Cider Mill - "A great place for kids and adults alike. Fresh fritters and cider, animals to pet, a pumpkin patch, a water wheel. This is a county treasure." / "Its a great place to bring kids year round to see farm animals or buy local produce for great prices! They also have a wonderful fall apple harvest to get you in the holiday spirit. I enjoy visiting for their harvest, or any time of year to break up the routine with my little one." / "Great family owned farm with fruits, veggies, pies, cider, pastries, breads and lots of other treats, animals for the children to look at and also to feed, pumpkins during the fall season, and just a great place to take the family." / "Only by chance did I hear about the Cider Mill after moving to Thurston County. Since that time, me and my little ones have gone out every few months to pick up some seedless jam and visit the many farm animals. Having lived in an agricultural area for much of my life and moving here from a farm in Eastern Washington, the mill is a place that gives my now urban family a feel for farm life." / "They are friendly people and make the BEST Apple Fritters." / "This is quite an attraction and seems to always have cars coming and going. This business not only has products for sale, but its farm entertains young and old alike with the various animals. A great place to visit and shop!"
Artesian Wells - "The artesian wells are a great natural wonder. Free crystal clear fresh drinking water!" / "The well has such good/free water. This has been around forever and is a community treasure. Ask anyone that uses it and they can probably tell you the first time they discovered this amazing well." / "A great place to get clean, cold local water!" / "Great-tasting water available 24/7 365 in Olympia's city center. Unique and cool." / "The water is cold, crisp, and delicious!"
Monarch Sculpture Park - "Cool artwork and landscaping; acoustic art; family friendly; accessible by bike (Chehalis Western Trail)." / "Especially good for active little boys! Free entry (donations encouraged), located next to Chehalis Western Trail bike path." / "Fun for kids of all ages." / "A garden of outdoor art, on the Western Chehalis Trail." / "Wonderful wild sculptures in a natural setting!" / "This place is a wonderful hidden gem, off the Chehalis Western trail. Sculpture and active art, plus a soda pop machine that's great on a hot day!" / "Monarch Sculpture is simply a treasure."
Procession of the Species - "It's unique! The community-building aspect is great!" / "Nothing like it! The whole community turns out (or at least it feels like it)!" / "Everyone is either in it or watching!" / "It's such a joyful celebration of the natural world with so many different types of people participating - it's like a family oriented street party." / "A unique event that celebrates the natural world in a fun, vibrant way - we never miss it!" / "Unique creative nonprofit community project by and for children of all ages. Also provides a venue to show reverence for our Mother Earth." / "This annual parade downtown is made up of local people of all walks of life. It's volunteer driven and represents the culture that most reflects the progressive nature of people of this area better than anything else I can think of. Creative, colorful, homegrown; it's a annual spring delight you can count on to kick the winter blues away. Workshops are offered that will help to unlock your creativity and engage in a social setting you can look forward to participating in."
Percival Landing Boardwalk - "The new gazebo buildings will provide more great spots to view the bay with all the boats." / "Percival landing and the Olympia Farmers Market pay homage to the county's maritime and agricultural prosperity and heritage." / "The most beautiful visiting place in Thurston County. You can drive, walk, boat, or fly to Percival Landing. Very relaxing." / "Olympia's boardwalk...boat watching, beach going, shops and art and restaurants and a lively farmers market: it's the newly refurbished heart of our capital city." / "Since I live in one of the Percival Landing marinas it's my new 'yard' and I think it's absolutely beautiful."
Chehalis-Western Trail - "Perfect place to take the family bike riding without too much traffic!" / "Awesome scenery and a safe trail for bikers, skaters and walkers!" / "Parks along Puget Sound and the bike/walk on the Chehalis Western Trail give a peaceful getaway for families and individuals to see nature." / "Fantastic community asset, great place to walk and bike. Provides easy, car free access to rural areas."
Burfoot Park - "Nice access to the a piece of the Puget Sound shore."
Oly Rollers - "The Oly Rollers are the #1 rated Woman's Flat Track Roller Derby team in the country. They are a player owned volunteer organization. They are undefeated in the regular season and are #1 seeded in the Western Regionals. They will go on to the Nationals and prove that Olympia is #1 in the nation. They truly a wonder of Thurston County." / "2009 championship winners, # 1 seed going into 2011 western regionals, 3 skaters made the first team USA playing in the first derby world cup in December! Genius" / "They are ranked the best women's roller derby team in the world and they skate out of little old Skate Land. I saw them beat Detroit, Atlanta, Montreal and other teams from much bigger cities, it's a fun family friendly sport. The women who skate do it for the love of the game, not big paychecks. These hardworking women are excellent role models for girls." / "Fabulously athletic and empowered women, supported by their community and thru hard work of volunteers. How can that NOT be a wonder?"
Olympia Brewery Building - "Everyone knows of it, The Olympia Brewery stated producing brew in 1889. During the Prohibition it made jelly & jams. The artesian wells are another find off of 4th Ave" / "I love its Italianate architecture. I have sketched it and also painted it in watercolor. I hope it will be restored and remain with us always."
Puget Sound in general - "The Sound provides so much for our community - beauty, recreation, food, relaxation, exercise and more." / "Let me count the ways I love South Puget Sound. No matter which direction you look you see natural beauty - the majestic Olympic range, Mt. Rainer soaring up into incredible skies which can change at the blink of an eye, wooded islands, abundant sea and air borne creatures, boats of all types, incredible cloud formations and moons reflecting in the Sound. It affords us fishing, crabbing and clam digging near to home. Beaches alive with creatures to explore at low tides. Cool breezes on hot days. Access to Tacoma and Seattle by water. Access for interesting ships like Lady Washington and freight ships form China and Japan to come to Olympia. To me it is a blend of the two favorite places I lived before discovering Thurston County, the mountains of Montana and the shores of Maine. I love it here."
Views in general - "Driving out towards Lackamas on a beautiful, clear day and seeing Mount Rainier framed by the blue sky and the green pasture lands."
Capitol Forest - "open, free, exhilarating" / "It is a great place to become one with nature. There are great hiking trails (long and short) and wonderful views. I would go on a hike there every day if I could!"
Tolmie State Park - "Ever since I was a child I gave visited Tolmie with my family. Now that I have my own children I enjoy sharing the same experience with them." / "It reminds me of being at the ocean without having to drive the 1.5 hours to get there." / "What a remarkable place."
Upper Deschutes Falls (Deschutes Falls Park is not developed and is currently closed to public use).
Overlook Point Park in Tumwater - "Located off Barnes Blvd on the top of Tumwater Hill. On a clear day this park has fantastic views of Mt Rainier, the Olympic Mountain Range, South Puget Sound and the State Capitol building."
Biking - "Thurston County has some of the best bicycle routes in the state. Extensive bike paths, low traffic roads , varied terrain and a very active cycling community. In short, two wheel heaven." / "The back roads of Thurston County provide spectacular scenery for bicycling. The communities are bicycle friendly and the roads are well maintained making for positive experiences."
McLane Nature Trail - "Great little treasure. Quiet place to watch birds, take a hike, or just reflect." / "What a gem in the woods and close by too!"
Panorama City Campus - "The pea patch is one of the most beautiful places to see in August." / "Exotic trees, shrubs, flowers etc...from all over the world in a "manicured" setting." / "The Chambers tree on the campus of Panorama City is a tree planted in 1835 by Mr. Chambers (i.e. Chambers Lake). It's huge and very beautiful."
West Bay Park - "Parks along Puget Sound and the bike/walk on the Chehalis Western Trail give a peaceful "getaway" for families and individuals to see nature." / "As someone with a little 7 year old boy, though this park has no playground, it has a peaceful atmosphere and is interesting for us people watchers. We go there to watch the boats come in and out, sunset, skip stones in the water and watch dogs take a swim with busy downtown Olympia in the distance."
Fishtale Brew Pub - "Fantastic beer, super food, and a growing local music venue, featuring local art." / "This is a local business that is famous for the organic ales it brews. They also brew hard ciders. They have lovely fish themed murals on the outside of the pub and brewery. They bought the whistle from the old Olympia Brewery and blow it M-F at 5 p.m."
Fossil Rock - "Great hike in an area that you would not think would be such a wonderful area." / "You have to climb it!"
Heritage Park Fountain - "I love seeing people of all ages--little kids, teenagers, old folks--playing there. Also, folks up and down the socio-economic ladder. It's free and interactive."
Music in the Park - "Each summer there's tuneful celebrating in Olympia and it's free to the public. Everything from Reggae to big band style music is played live in the lovely old gazebo at downtown's Sylvester Park. Families mosey over to claim a good spot with lawn chairs and blankets tucked under arms and big and small friendly dogs on leashes. The colorful "Fan Man" performs on the corner waving huge graceful feathered fans to the music's beat. Olympia's population gets up and dances, sometimes for the entire hour-plus performances. All this and a lovely park to experience it in!"
Music scene - General -"Enjoy the outdoor concerts and cultural activities." / "Thurston County Music Scene (jazz, blues, funk, bluegrass)"
Arts scene - "The Artist's Gallery, The Olympia Art League, Nibs N Ink Calligraphy...All of these art organizations have been active in the arts in Olympia for over 25 years. For example The Artist's Gallery located at 113 Legion Way, Olympia consists of an average of 20 to 22 local artists in Thurston County. The Olympia Art League (OAL) is a non-profit art organization that began 50 years ago. The OAL organizes the art exhibits at the Thurston County Fair each summer. In addition, they organize an annual juried art show featuring local artists of the Pacific Northwest each year. Nibs N Ink Calligraphy has been active for the last 25 years and recently members have organized the calligraphy exhibit at The Puyallup Fair each summer. The artists in each of these art groups are active in the community exhibiting in our Bi-Annual Art Walk and contributing to worthy causes such as The Thurston County Food Bank, Community Youth Services etc."
Offut Lake Resort - "Offut Lake Resort offers fishing and camping. You can bring your RV, tent or stay in one of their cabins. It's a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the wonders of nature. There is Wolf Haven close by too."
General Trails - beautiful - "They are diverse with walking trails, incredible views, places to relax and picnic, and are full of wildlife and beauty." / "We are so fortunate to have the number of trails here that we have!!!! We hikers are a lucky bunch!!"
View from County Courthouse - "At the edge of the Thurston County Courthouse site perched on top of a tall hill is a postcard-quality view. When family or friends arrive from out of town, I take them there to gaze down at Capitol Lake, Marathon Park, the railroad bridge, toy-sized cars, the old steam plant, soaring eagles, Puget Sound and the most beautiful Capitol building of any state. If I were on vacation and knew about this spot I would drive an hour out of my way to see such a view!" / "There are several benches at the edge of the courthouse parking lot - that's great to view the sand, the capitol rotunda, and an occasional bald eagle."
Woodard Bay Nature Trail - "I love taking the hike in the woods and then hanging out at the water and watching the seals with my binoculars. It's my favorite place in Thurston County." / "Great place for all ages to enjoy nature."
Yashiro Japanese Garden - "Wonderful pocket park, so tranquil - off the beaten path." / "Calm and beautiful, this little piece of heaven is the perfect place to relax."
Bald Hills Trail
Ballroom Dancing at Senior Center - "Ballroom dancing at the senior center. Good music, good band, friendly people at Olympia, Lacey and Swede Hall in Rochester."
Batdorf & Bronson -"Buy locally, think globally. Good business model, excellent coffee and good politics. Reward folks who bring their own containers for products and coffee drinks."
Big Tom's Burgers - "The best burger in the world! ... don't forget the goop!"
Boston Harbor Marina - "Not only can you walk the docks looking at interesting boats and the beautiful view but you can see a variety of marine animals and plants attached to or swimming around the floats and piling (get a pamphlet at the store that identifies many of the organisms}."
Downtown Olympia - "The diversity of people, the abundance of local enterprise, the waterfront views, the pedestrian scale of it all."
Falls Terrace Restaurant - "Great food and a great view."
Harlequin Productions - "This local live theater production house puts on the best productions this side of New York City. Using local talented actors, musicians and staff, the creative choreography is astounding. The prices are a good deal and they offer Pay What You Can nights too."
Lakefair - "The Lakefair Parade is super! We go to see it every year."
Madison-Avanti Giving Garden - "The Madison, Avanti and community are growing a garden behind Madison Elementary School. It is amazing the people who have come together to make this garden special. 12 months a year children learn gardening and healthy eating habits."
Marathon Park - "Very pleasant place to enjoy."
Millersylvania State Park
Mount Rainier - View Mount Rainier Railroad
Nisqually River - "Rafting, swimming, fishing, kayaking, relaxing...all can be done along this gorgeous river. I love it!"
Olympia Film Society
Outdoors Scenery in General - "The outdoors, beautiful vistas, big trees ... also great parks in Lacey! Kudos to Parks & Rec in Lacey. We are new to this area."
Rutledge Farm Corn Maze - "The corn maze changes every year, lots of fun for kids and adults especially if you go to the maze at night!"
Saint Placid Priory - "A place of quiet contemplation. If you've misplaced your peace of mind, going here for an afternoon is a step in the right direction."
Sand in the City - "It is great for all ages! We go with our daughter and grandchildren."
Schilter Family Farm - "A lot of things grow in Thurston County, but going out to the Schilter Family Farm for pumpkins each Fall is the best. Excited kids, grandpas and just about everyone is pretty hard to beat for a great locally grown memory."
Shipwreck Beads - "Must be seen to be believed. Impressive even if you're not a bead fanatic. It's to beads what Powell's is to books."
South Capitol Neighborhood - Historic - "...The area was designated a National Register Historic District in 1991. The District was recognized for its history, architectural character, and the overall integrity of the residential neighborhood, including plentiful shade trees and extensive landscaping. The oldest house surviving in the neighborhood, at 202 East 21 Street, was built in 1878, and while modified over time, still displays its basic structure with tall narrow windows and Classic-influenced triangular pediment with returned eaves..."
Spooner Farms - "Every year they have the best berries in the state!"
The Farm on Libby Road - "My family's farm for about 100 yrs. A beautiful farm bordering the D.N.Rs Woodard Bay preserve, this entire area is a very good for birding, a good example of wildlife habitat."
Thurston County Fair - "If we didn't have our local fair, history would be changed. Kids either exhibiting or visiting would not have this marvelous experience, and all the family time and experiences would be lost."
Thurston County History in Photos Website - "This is a unique Web site displaying images of historical Thurston County. Some of the images are from public collections and some are from private family collections. One of the unique aspects of this resource is that people with relevant images can work with the County to get such images added to the on-line collection."
Traditions Café - "Best variety of local talent in the cafe section. Hub for local musicians and other artists in a truly Olympia life style." / "great place to see friends, eat great food, hear special music, learn about justice."
Van's Burgers/Van's Sweet Spot - "Delicious burgers and shakes on Yelm Highway."
Wind Up Here Toy Shop - "Great place to go."
Woodard Bay Road - "Woodard Bay Road offers beautiful fall foliage, wild life, low tides...not to be missed year-round."
Washington Center for the Performing Arts
Rafting the Deschutes River
Budd Inlet -It's the water!"