Centralia and Chehalis the Twin Cities Park Tour

The Captain often requires a silent work space. This morning me and the kids had breakfast at Fort Borst Park to get us out of the camper first thing in the morning. The Captain packed the tubs with milk the night before so we could just grab and go.

The park was chilly and lacked children to play with, so I decided we should go explore another park. We headed to Chehalis off exit 76 where you will find 3 amazing parks!! To the East side you have the park and splash pad at the Gail and Carolyn Aquatic Center we played at the park in the morning, but it was too chilly so we came back in the hot late afternoon to play at the splash pad.

Across the Interstate 5 west side on exit 76 is Stan Hedwall Park which has a very large area for sports like soccer and baseball. There is smaller size soccer fields for the little ones. The train also blasts right by this park. While visiting the twin cities of Chehalis and Centralia there will be a constant reminder that you are next to the train tracks.

Since it was still chilly we headed home for lunch and to see if The Captain could join us to the Lewis County Museum for a break. He said yes and he is glad he did, this Museum is a “must do” I think I need to spend a lot more days in this magical place. I wasn’t able to get any pictures, it’s not allowed. I did get one outside next to this giant Douglas Fir stump. The museum is the old train station and the trains wiz by here at an alarming speed. Sunshine started crying.

We love museums and this is now my favorite. The collection is top notch and really goes in deep into the history of the county. The Native American roots, Japanese internment camps, the large military presence, the lumber mills and agriculture. This place is truly a treasure for this community. You can also sit in the old train station benches! There is a humongous model train display in the back side of the museum near an area where children can freely touch and play in a make believe mercantile.

We picked up a walking tour booklet for the historical downtown and set off hoping to find an ice cream shop. Downtown Chehalis is adorable!!! I’m sad we won’t be here to watch the old theatre showing of the Goonies.

The walking tour booklet has a wealth of information about the old buildings downtown. They had an opera house!

We started to give up on finding an ice cream place, as we had googled and yelped to no avail. We were headed back to Daisy(our truck) and I noticed some old signage for a soda fountain and sure enough, in the Sweet Inspirations Cafe they had a small 6 person soda fountain.

I had the Marionberry Cobbler Ala Mode, kids got cones, and The Captain got a Peanut Butter Malt and a slice of the Peanut Butter Pie. We chatted with the local lady next to us for a while and she tried to pay for our desserts! What a nice woman. Her son is a police officer here and she is enjoying being around her children and grandchildren. I have found this to be very in tune with the friendliness we have experienced from people in this area.

We headed home for some schoolwork/work and once the work day was done, we headed to the splash pad to cool down before dinner.

When we were about to turn into the aquatic center I notice slightly in the distance an enormous wooden castle park!! My favorite kind!!! We detoured to Penny Playground This is now my second favorite park, behind Tapiola in Astoria. There is many features to this park I haven’t seen before, lots of surprises. Good use of old tires.

Last night we also took a picnic to Pearl Street Memorial Plaza(Splash Pad) in Downtown Centralia. This Park has it all, a playground right off the splash pad and plenty of seating with clean bathrooms

There is still many more parks to explore here. The twin cities of Washington is filled with entertainment for families. I am really impressed. These cities are super clean as well! There is a very obvious pride in the community. I really like it here.

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is located a little north east of the state capital Olympia, Wa. This was on my “must do” while in this area, and it did not disappoint. The cost to visit is $3 unless you have a annual national park pass(we do, thanks Kadri!) It’s a great place to take kids, they have a Junior Refuge Manager program which is free. Go to the Norm Dicks Visitor Center and let them know you are ready to be a junior refuge manager. They will help the kids fill out their names and show them what each age is required to do. Then you hit the trails to explore and complete your booklet.

We saw many different birds along the trail, there are interpretive signs along the path which helps you identify the different wildlife. We also saw a large turtle sunning itself, tiny frog, ducks, deer, and butterflies. There is plenty of shade under the big leaf maples and red alders.

We didn’t do the entire trail system, just the loop and the look out deck. We were able to easily finish our booklets, stop for a short snack picnic, and check out the different telescopes along the trails in about an hour.

When you are done this nice lady will have you recite the pledge and swear you into service.

The visitors center also has some short videos that held the kids short attention spans and beautiful displays of information along the walls. I really dig this model of the surrounding area

If you aren’t able to walk the trail system, there is plenty to see from the observation deck outside the visitors center.

I didn’t realize til we got home that they also have another children centered exhibit. It will be something to look forward to on our next visit.