Seven Wonders of Thurston County

Residents' Comments

Local residents are proud of the sites and attractions in Thurston County--for good reason!  Here are some of the comments we received about top nominations for the "Seven Wonders of Thurston County."


#1 Capitol campus with Capitol Lake and view corridor to Puget Sound and the Olympics.

  • "The Wilder and White and Olmsted design of the campus with the capitol group of buildings, Capitol Lake, the north campus promenade, and the view corridor to Puget Sound and the Olympics is of national significance as the most beautiful the United States."
  • "I know of no other state capitol as pleasant or attractive (includes Capitol Lake). Surrounded by woods, the area is a microcosm of the whole northwest at its best."
  • "Walk around the lake...run into friends, look at the capitol's refection, drive around and enjoy the beauty! It is one of the most used, beautiful places in Thurston County."
  • "Vista to and from the capitol across Capitol Lake is breathtaking...true Pacific NW setting combined with the dignified presence of the state's symbol and seat of democracy. A uniquely important and beautiful pair of views."
  • "One of the magical things about this area is our amazing natural beauty--Puget Sound, our mountains and our forests. To have the advantage of enjoying all of these while being in the midst of an urban area is a very unusual and special gift!"
  • "Views...the all-around incredible setting of the capitol with Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, Budd Inlet--nothing like it anywhere."
  • "Sweeping out over the lake, the isthmus, the city and the Sound to the Olympics in the distance, this view lifts my heart every time, and it's available in the city, without a long drive to the mountains or the Pacific."
  • "We make a couple trips there (Law Enforcement Memorial on the capitol campus) by ourselves every year, but we ALWAYS--no matter what the weather is doing--take our out-of-town visitors. From there, they look down at two bodies of water, the marinas downtown, and the Olympics, and everyone understands why we so love Olympia."

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#2 Mima Mounds

  • "A natural wonder for all!!"
  • "Just weird and cool."
  • "They're unexplained!"
  • "The Mima Mounds have been bamboozling geologists and curiosity seekers since their discovery. What made them, why aren't they found elsewhere? Take a trip to visit the Mima Mounds at the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve near Littlerock."
  • "Mima Mounds is known around the world for its mysterious mounded geologic formation. Numerous scientific papers have been published regarding the mounds and how they were formed - with no decisive explanation yet. The preserve is also one of the best remnants of glacial outwash prairies in Washington and supports a number of rare plants and animals dependent on prairie habitats. The wildflowers are great in spring."
  • "This is a unique geological phenomenon, and we have it right here in our community! (also Glacial Heritage Preserve)."

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#3 Wolf Haven

  • "The "howl ins" are a lot of fun!"
  • "What an incredible place to learn about wolves, how they live, how humans are affecting them and anything else wolf. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and is more than willing to spend time answering questions. If you're a nature lover - go to Wolf Haven!"
  • "It is a wonderful place with an important cause. It is very educational and the wolves are spectacular to see."
  • "We love their summer Howl-In events, where we can tour the wolf sanctuary, learn all about wolf conservation, and TONS of fun things for the kids to do. Cap it off with a howling contest sure to entertain all ages, and then the magical moment of the wolves howling back. We camp there overnight, so we can enjoy the chorus of howling all night long. It's one of my favorite places on the planet!"
  • "I love it here. It's a place where I can observe beautiful, amazing creatures. Wolves are very interesting and a very important role in nature. I feel very peaceful here."

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#4 Tumwater Falls Park

  • "It's a beautiful place to take a walk - year round."
  • "Tumwater Falls takes my breath away every time I visit. It's simply beautiful."
  • "The view of the falls, the old brew house, the trails along both sides of the Deschutes River..THIS is public access to beautiful places!"
  • "Such a beautiful area - especially when the salmon are returning! Very enlightening experience for all ages to follow the life of salmon!"
  • "Beautiful trails alongside the river, impressive lower waterfall under the old railroad-style bridge, with lovely views over the lake."
  • "Every salmon running season my family takes a walk to see this phenomenon. We cross the high arched bridge and scan the loud-rushing water trying to be the first to point at a flash of silver and shout, 'There's one!,' just before a two foot long shiny salmon jumps high, trying to climb the falls."
  • "This is a gem in the middle of the urban setting. I love to go every season to see the changes in the falls, the vegetation and the return of the salmon. It is a real oasis."

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#5 Tenino Quarry Pool

  • "One of the best kept secrets in Thurston County and worth visiting."
  • "The most unique swimming pool in the world. One can easily recognize Tenino Sandstone. It is in, of course, Tenino, but also Centralia, Olympia (the Old Capitol Building) and on the waterfront in Seattle."
  • "Natural and beautiful."
  • "In the summer it's a local swimming pool. In the winter, when frozen, this is a sight to behold."
  • "It is just a cool way that nature took over this man made hole and that the owners saw the benefit to the neighborhood."

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#6 Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

  • "The most scenic area in Thurston County spotlighting our natural wonders from scenic views of Mt Rainier to the Olympic Mts. Birds from the sea and the woodlands, eagles, ospreys, Great Blue Herons and the little forest birds that sing their songs; to otters and all those critters that inhabit the woodlands."
  • "Unparalleled wildlife habitat and sanctuary. Recently remodeled and 'un-improved.'"
  • "A great place to see birds, animals and nature. Also a great place for a pleasant walk."
  • "Glorious at any tide, at any time of the year. Serene. Uncluttered. Can imagine early native canoeists."

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#7 Olympia Farmers Market

  • "Wonderful place, full of life and local music. Good prepared food and good food to prepare, what could be better?"
  • "Every summer I have a weekend gathering of old and dear friends known from long ago on Whidbey Island. They come here from Whidbey Island, Bellingham, Seattle, Bainbridge Island, and Santa Cruz, CA. The first question every year from each and every one: what day do we get to go to the Farmers Market?"
  • "Taking your family to the Farmer's Market is a 'must do' in Olympia. Walking to overlook the bay, buying local grown produce & handmade wares and listening to the music on a sunny day with a snow cone in your hand are all 'wonder'ful!"
  • "Gives you the real culture of the area. Great locally grown, mostly organic produce. Wonderful plants, and bulbs. Arts of all kinds, unique gifts. Love the live music. It's a weekly must go during the season. There's so much, the garden is great, Master Gardener booth for those questions about anything that grows. Love, Love Love it!!"

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