New Woodruff Sprayground squirts, sprinkles and delights local families

New Woodruff Sprayground delights local families

A new water attraction has opened up at Woodruff Park that's keeping both kids and parents cool.
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A new water attraction has opened up at Woodruff Park that's keeping both kids and parents cool.

The city of Olympia’s new Woodruff Sprayground has opened, much to the delight of kids and parents looking to escape the summer heat.

At the west Olympia park, waterspouts spin, pulse, and periodically erupt from the ground, keeping kids entertained and cool.

The opening of the sprayground marks the culmination of a process that the city of Olympia began in 2015, when Parks and Recreations director Paul Simmons set out to bring a water attraction to west Olympia.

Sprayground project engineer Jake Lund saw the feature as a much-needed addition to the recreation space at Woodruff Park.

“We had the fountain downtown but there was a need,” Lund said. “This kind of fills the gap of not having a public pool in the city. Obviously it’s a big hit.”

The city first set aside money for the project in 2015, and received a state matching grant in 2016 from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, through the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office totaling $446,000. However, a state budgeting issue kept the city from receiving the funds until 2018, when they originally planned to complete the project.

Additionally, the initial bid the city received from an out-of-town contractor was too high to pursue. In 2019, the city began the bidding process again, and found a local contractor for the project.

After satisfying Thurston County health officials by completing a complex water treatment system that also pumps water to the spouts, the sprayground could finally open July 16.

So far, kids and parents seem to be thrilled with the new attraction.

Lenny Holston brought his two children, Noah, 3, and Eliana, 1, to the park for the first time Thursday.

“We live down the road and we’ve been waiting for it to open,” Lenny Holston said. “This is our first time here. Either it was raining, or cold, but today is a perfect day.”

Noah enjoys when the water shoots up and surprises him, while Eliana likes being held in the mist.

“I like to touch it and I like to go in it,” Noah said. His swim ensemble included lime green goggles for maximum water park enjoyment.

“We’re loving it — it’s fun,” Lenny Holston said. “It’s fun for every age, even my age.”

Now that the project is complete, Lund is happy with how well it’s been received by the public.

“For me, being the project manager of the construction, you’re so caught up in the details and making sure everything’s going to function properly and getting it approved with the county health department, you’re so focused on the technical details, you forget that when it’s all finished, the public is going to come out en masse and enjoy this thing,” Lund said.

“To come out today and see everybody using it and enjoying it, it definitely makes it all worth it. … I think as a department we’re very happy.”

Lund recommends using the overflow parking area at Garfield Elementary while school isn’t in session.

The Sprayground was just one phase in a bigger plan to revamp Olympia’s oldest park. The Parks department plans to put in two new tennis courts and four new pickleball courts to replace the old tennis courts in the park. The project will cost $1.2 million from start to finish.

The city is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new Sprayground on Aug. 7 at the park at 1500 Harrison Ave NW.