Exploring the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

February 25, 2013 by

Free Things to Do, Sightseeing, Things To Do, Top Attractions, Tours & Activities

Eagel in Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park. Photo courtesy of Steven Pavlov.

For those interested in an artistic outdoor experience, Seattle, Washington, is home to the Olympic Sculpture Park. Operated by the Seattle Art Museum, the park opened in 2007 and features nine acres for visitors to explore, with sculptures by artists like Mark Dion, Roxy Paine and Mark di Suvero.

The Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle features both rotating and permanent exhibits. In the permanent collection you’ll find more than 15 works, ranging from abstract sculptures of painted steel to mundane fiberglass objects made interesting. For example, Mark Dion uses living plants for his creative yet scientific “Neukom Vivarium.” Featuring a 60-foot “nurse log” housed in a climate-controlled greenhouse, visitors can view the decay of the wood as well as the life forms within it through a magnifying glass. There’s also “Father and Son” by Louise Bourgeois, a fountain-installation depicting a nude father and son reaching for each other; however, they can’t see each other through the water. The piece is meant to show people human vulnerability, as well as the weakening of the father and son bond over time.

It’s not just the sculptures that make this park worthwhile. Visitors enjoy strolling through the gardens, immersing themselves in art and design and taking in views of the Olympic Mountains. Additionally, the park features one of Seattle’s best water views via a beach. Chairs are set out so visitors can sit and take in the beauty of the Puget Sound and the boats sailing by. In the sculpture park you’ll also find the PACCAR Pavilion, which houses a rotating exhibit as well as TASTE Cafe, which serves homemade soups and fresh baked pastries.

For a full overview of the park as well as an in-depth analysis of the sculptures and space, visitors can take a free 60-minute tour. If you prefer some wine with your art, a Small-Group Outdoor Adventure and Wine-Tasting Tour is a worthwhile option. You’ll cycle through the Olympic Sculpture Park, admiring both the natural and man-made outdoor beauty, before enjoying an organic picnic lunch with local wine. Once you’re full, taste your way through four boutique wineries, learning about the production process and interacting with the winemakers.

The Olympic Sculpture Park, located at 2901 Western Avenue in Belltown, is free to enter. It is open 365 days per year from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.

-Jessica Festa

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