Since I have moved to Oregon 18 years ago, it seems we have one week every July that is really hot. 90-100 or so. That is hot for out here. Last weekend was part of that week. With the heat came a request from my kids…can we go to Riverfront Park?
When we first moved to Salem from Portland about 10 years ago, Riverfront Park was a fairly new park. It was one of many projects slated to reinvigorate the downtown area, and it really is a fantastic addition.
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The park has a great play structure…well actually two. One for larger kids and one for smaller kids. They are right next to each other so parents with both sizes can easily watch their children. I really appreciated when my daughter needed the smaller slides, but my son was ready for the larger ones.
A nice flat sidewalk is perfect for kids who want to learn to ride their bikes or roller blade, joggers out for some exercise, and pet lovers walking their dogs. The trees are still young so shade is somewhat lacking at the park, but give them 10 years and there will be many shady spots.
The park is also home to an outdoor amphitheater, and there is a summer concert series at the park. Riverfront park is host to many events including the upcoming Bite of Salem.
There are two main features of the park that never cease to amaze me. Right next to the park is an old dilapidated Boise Cascade paper mill. 13 acres of prime land that was recently bought by developers with fantastic plans for the area. (Thank you investors/developers!)
When we first moved to Salem there was an old “Acid Ball” in the park. The acid ball held acid for the paper mill and it was this large ugly rusty thing in the middle of the park. Thankfully there are those people in the world significantly more artistic than me, and an artist was hired. The end result is truly amazing.
The other artistic feat of the Riverfront Park is the Carousel. All of the horses in the carousel were handcrafted by volunteers. Every time my kids ride the carousel, I can’t help but be in awe of the craftsman that helped with this project. The horses are truly stunning. My artistic skills top out with stick people, so I am always in awe of true artists.
Riverfront Park is one of the many parks that the City of Salem has to offer residents. If you are coming for a visit or looking to move here, come and check it out. And yes…adults can ride the carousel as well so don’t be shy.