For a traveling family with young kids, one of the first places to scope out in each city are the local playgrounds. In Astoria our campground manager took one look at our rambunctious boys and told us we had to check out Tapiola Park. We were not disappointed.
Not only does the park have an amazing view of the bay, the playground itself is a tribute to landmark-rich Astoria.
From the parking lot a bridge leads from the grass to the play equipment. Its contours match the famous Astoria-Megler Bridge that spans the Columbia River and crosses state borders.
Then, of course, there is the Astoria Column, a cement pillar decorated with spiraling artwork commemorating the arrival of Lewis and Clark on the west coast. The column was under construction the whole time we were in Astoria, but luckily we’d been there before.
The climbing wall has mural of trading ships, a shout out to the historic trading industry of the Columbia, and the shipwreck ruins of the Peter Iradale.
Other playground features include a toddler area named after Fort Clatsop (the original encampment of the Lewis and Clark expedition), a small theater, and replicas of the tugboats that frequent the bay.
I guess it’s a little geeky of me to get so excited about a playground, but as a mom, a former elementary school teacher, and someone who loves history and travel, this was a pretty cool destination.