A day at the park and the appreciation of the arts are not necessarily things that you would put together in the same sentence, but they certainly belong together when talking about Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. An area that was once an industrial spot that belonged to the oil industry is now a 9-acre outdoor sculpture park and beach that draws locals and tourists alike in droves.
The Seattle Art Museum first came up with the idea of doing something with the contaminated patch of land that had been owned and operated by oil giants Unocal during the 70’s. The dream of creating a place to show off sculptures became a reality when Jon and Mary Shirley donated $30 million to the Seattle Art Museum. It was then that work began in earnest, with a large chunk of the money devoted to cleaning up the area and transforming 1,000 feet of waterfront with a seawall.
The end result was the park as it exists today, which is home to both permanent and temporary sculptures by renowned artists. There is also a museum and a beach, which is a particular hit with visitors, not to mention a glorious patch of green space, which is not really in abundance in the downtown Seattle area. The park has won numerous design awards since its opening in 2007, and despite some complaints from locals in the early days, it has become a popular place to meet and hang out.
The Olympic Sculpture Park operates and is open to the public year round. The park opens one hour after sunrise and closes one hour after sunset, giving visitors ample time to take in all the sights that it has to offer.