The Tri-Cities is an ideal spot for a family getaway, due in large part to the area’s many family-friendly attractions and activities. Aside from the great recreational opportunities, the lovely local parks and fascinating museums, there are a few sights unique to this area. The Tri-Cities recently celebrated the opening of the GESA Carousel of Dreams. The100-year-old carousel has been completely restored and features 45 jumping wooden horses, hand-carved by Charles Carmel, three chariots, and a cougar and husky paying homage to the rival state mascots.
The structure is housed in a glass and wooden pavillion for year-round operation. The space includes a gift shop, concession area featuring an era-replica soda fountain, event space, catering kitchen and back deck. Learn more at www.gesacarouselofdreams.com. The Columbia Park Family Fishing Pond was the first warm-water family fishing pond developed in Washington State. Maintained by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Fishing Connection, it is a great place to discover several species of warm-water fish - including channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, walleye, crappie and other anadramous species.
A walking trail loops around the pond, and interpretive signage help identify the fish. A peninsula into the pond gives great access to view and fish, and includes a handicapped accessible fishing platform. Migrating and nesting waterfowl are found nearby and an occasional beaver will visit the pond to the delight of those fishing. Youth under 14 and disabled permit holders can fish for free.
Adjacent to the Family Fishing Pond, stands the Playground of Dreams, a unique 12,000 square foot playground.. What makes the Playground of Dreams unique is the incorporation of features representing local landmarks and attractions (e.g., the Columbia River, the Blue Bridge, the Cable Bridge, a barn, and a hydroplane). The Playground of Dreams includes components requested by local elementary school children, who met with and advised the project architects. These include a pirate ship, dragon slide, castle maze, rocket, rope wall, and many others. The playground is accessible to the physically challenged and to children of all ages.
There are two aquatic splash parks that are open free to the public and offer families hours of fun during the spring and summer months. The City of Kennewick features an Aquatic Splash Park near the Playground of Dreams and Family Fishing Pond at the east end of Columbia Park. The City of Richland Aquatic Splash Park is located and the Badger Mountain Sports Complex in south Richland. Both parks offer the young and young-at-heart an opportunity to dance or dash their way through a series of jets that will spout water in an ever-changing array of streams, spurts, sprays and splashes.
J & S Dreamland Express is a colorful, whimsical, train-trolley that makes its home at the east end of Kennewick's Columbia Park and began life as airplane baggage cars and an Air Force tow tractor. Relocated, repainted and renovated to accommodate disability access, this "train" now provides riverside fun for the entire family! The J&S Dreamland Express offers rides around Columbia Park 's Playground of Dreams and Family Fishing Pond on Saturdays and Sundays from Spring until Fall.
The Sturgeon Cove Playground in Howard Amon Park is a gently landscaped, central play area for kids of all ages. The playground features a 16-foot Sturgeon-shaped play structure...reminiscent of a great fish that was hauled from the Columbia River in 1920. A large, steam boat play structure, a tot lot with a colorful tugboat, sand and water play area, see-saw and spinning toys, large slide, and zip-line...all combine to make Sturgeon Cove a destination for family fun!