Where can you meet mascots, climb a 25-foot rock walls, make binoculars, ride a wooden horse, win a sack race and kayak on grass? How about the Washington State Capitol!
Last Saturday the Washington State Parks Foundation hosted the 2nd Annual “Get Outdoors Adventure Awaits Expo” in Olympia. The event took place on a lovely stretch of lawn on the state capitol campus. Nearly 30 organizations, agencies, performing groups and food vendors were there, all doing their part to help people enjoy the day and learn about the wonderful outdoor opportunities in our great state.
The Expo got officially underway when groups of kids from the South Sound YMCA and Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County hiked over from their nearby “camp.” The Washington State Parks agency had arranged a wonderful campout for them on the Governor’s lawn the night before. It looked like kids and adults alike had found plenty of fun but not enough sleep. Too many s’mores and late night ghost stories?
A few kind speakers kicked off the event, including Holly Mason, Board Secretary for the Washington State Parks Association, Don Hoch, Washington State Parks Director, and Steve Milner, Washington State Parks & Recreation Commissioner. All spoke about their own experience and perspective regarding the joy to be found in Washington’s outdoors.
As the day heated up, so did the action. Shifting crowds of all ages spent the day exploring booths; learning about great places to explore and programs to help them; enjoying activities, games and races; soaking in the warm sun; wining great raffle prizes from us at the Washington State Parks Foundation, and tapping their feet to live music and dance.
What’s it all about? Washington offers an amazing and surprising variety of places to go and things to do outside. There are many incredible parks spread around the state. From forest to desert to mountains to beaches to rivers, lakes and sea — there’s something here to inspire everyone. And there are more ways to enjoy our outdoors than you know about. Luckily, there are many organizations and programs that can help people lean about, experience and care for this beautiful state.
The Washington State Parks Foundation is committed to supporting vibrant state parks for Washingtonians to enjoy. The annual Outdoor Expo is an opportunity to connect with potential supporters and grow the constituency of people who value and care for our shared natural and recreational treasures. This is just one of the ways our members help us support Washington’s state parks.
We are very grateful to all of the following Outdoor Expo sponsors and participants for being such an important part of this event. Look for them next time you get outside. And do it soon, ’cause as they say: adventure awaits!
Washington State Employees Credit Union
National Guard Brass Band
Olympia Bharatanatyam Dancers: Smriti, Nithya and Nidhi!
Washington State Parks
Washington State Discover Pass
WA Dept. of Health – Office of Environmental Health and Safety
U.S. Forest Service – Olympic National Forest
City of Lacey Parks and Recreation Department
Washington Trails Association
Washington Water Trails Association
The Mountaineers, Olympia Branch
National Wildlife Federation
Washington Sea Grant
Northwest Adventure Center at JBLM
Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County
South Sound YMCA
Girls Scouts of Western Washington
PARC Foundation of Thurston County
Washington State Geocaching Association
Back Country Horsemen of Washington
Friends of Schafer and Sylvia Lake State Parks
Washington Federation of State Employees
Washington State Parks Foundation