Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Woodland Park, more than a zoo

As I was saying yesterday, Seattle is lousy with parks.  A 90 acre park would seem large in most cities, but here, it is across the street from a larger park.

Woodland Park...

Across the street from the large Green Lake Park is another large park, the 90 acre Woodland Park.  It is most famous for its zoo that I will talk about in another post, but there is much more to it.  The park is bisected by Aurora Avenue with a pedestrian bridge crossing between the two sides in the middle of the park.  Most of the western half of the park is taken up with the zoo, but there is also some picnic areas and a rose garden.  I will have to hit that with a camera next summer, as it is one of only two dozen certified American Rose Test Gardens.

The East side contains more athletic fields and tennis courts.  Yes, people are active outdoors here despite the reputation for rain.  There is a large wooded natural area with some trails.  In this wooded area is my second favorite dog park in the city.  I only knew about it because when I was walking through the park with my dog, another dog owner asked me where the off-leash area was.  I did not know, but decided to find out with him.  Barnaby sure was happy I did.  The park off-leash area is covered by beautiful trees, and the terrain is varied for the dogs.  It is just big enough not to seem crowded, even when it is busy.

Guy Phinney, a local industrialist, invested $40,000 to originally develop this land and Green Lake as his estate.  He built a small zoo and a bathhouse on the lake.  He also built a trolly line that led to the city’s Fremont line.  Too bad those lines are not still around.  We seem to be starting over on that public transportation.  In 1900, Phinney sold the land to the city of Seattle for a park.  People complained about the $100,000 price tag as well as the fact that the park was so far out of town.  It is well within the city limits today, and enjoyed by many residents.

It is located just north of Fremont on 50th, with Phinney Avenue to the west. It is worth a visit, though probably gets overshadowed by the zoo and Green Lake.  I have been to the zoo and will post about that soon.  Hopefully, the post will be more entertaining than this one was.

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