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price sculpture forest, whidbey

Turn the corner to find this Tyrannosaurus rex at the Price Sculpture Forest. (Photos by Jasmin Thankachen)

Parent review: Hidden fun at Whidbey’s Price Sculpture Forest

If you're on Whidbey Island, this outdoor museum is a feast for the eyes.

Don’t miss this easy walk around and through the forest. Observe all different kinds of statues and art installations around every corner. Look out for new exhibits each time you go, like the mushroom spore sculpture. Take the self-guided tour and stop at the exit to contribute your own art in the trail’s guestbook. Read on to find out what this family found exciting at the park.

On a recent trip to Whidbey Island, my kids and I stopped by a whimsical outdoor museum called the Price Sculpture Forest. And it’s a feast for the eyes. We ventured through a dense green forest, stopping along the way to find woodland sculptures made by many different artists. It’s an easy 20-minute hike, and we highly recommend this stop if you visit Whidbey Island.

Getting there

This free park is east of downtown Coupeville. It’s easy to get to Price Sculpture Forest by car, walking path or bike. There are a few parking spaces at the entrance itself, with ample parking on the street.

The park is open from dawn to dusk, but we recommend going when there’s lots of light. The trail leads into the forest and can get dark quickly, especially on winter days. The 1.5-mile walking path leads to the park, starting from Coupeville’s historic downtown waterfront. We didn’t take the walking path, but would recommend it if you’re planning a longer trip.

The rules of the park specifically say that the path is not for bikers, pets, horses or motorized vehicles, and that sculptures are meant to be seen and not climbed on. Price Sculpture Forest is monitored 24 hours a day.

Portable toilets (with hand sanitizer and toilet paper) are available to the right of the park entrance.

Don’t miss the sculptures in the parking lot (to the left and right of the entrance).

“Wander in Wonder”

A Little History

The Price Sculpture Forest is a 15-acre piece of property owned by the Price Family. After much deliberation about what to do with the land, the family decided to preserve the parcel under a conservation easement, leaving it as a natural space for the community to enjoy.

The Walk

We were quite excited to see what this park was all about, and we were greeted on the half-mile trail by a wooden arch with the words “Wander in Wonder” at the top. That’s just what we did as we made our way around the figure-8 trail, which took us on the top loop, called Nature Nurtured, then onto the lower loop, called Whimsy Way. My children, Nikhil, 9, and Simon, 7, both walked ahead of me, looking at sculptures, reading the descriptions and contemplating what each piece meant to them.

QR codes are located on the placards beside each statue, but my children were too busy scampering off to find the next art treasure for us to read much about each artist on my phone.

“Hey, look! There’s a gorilla! I’ll name it Gordo … Gordo the Gorilla!” said Simon.

Gordo is balanced high on a tree stump, deep in the forest. You’ll have to look carefully or you’ll miss him!

On the way down Whimsy Way

Walking ahead, Nikhil turned back to tell me, “Whoa! This one scared me, but it’s so cool.” We stopped at the Tyrannosaurus rex sculpture and admired the sharp teeth and the dark red tongue.

Moving ahead, I could tell my kids were seeing this whole Price Sculpture Forest adventure as a scavenger hunt — who could spot the next sculpture? One in particular, Pegasus, was very tricky to find. (Tip: Take a step back and visually follow the wires up into the trees.)

“WHAT? Now I see it! WOW!” both boys said.

Stopping to admire salmon carved into a bench, glass flowers hovering over our heads and birds in flight, we enjoyed our art walk on the trail.

Glass flowers sprout in the forest

The path itself had some twists and turns paired with downhill paths. We had to be careful not to slip on wet leaves or damp portions of the paved trail. The path is stroller-friendly, but a heavy-duty jogger stroller would be best.

Although the path is wide, the statues are placed close together so we had to be cautious of families passing. We kept our masks on most of the time and stepped off the trail when it felt impossible to keep a safe distance from others.

We headed back to our car after having done the walk — twice! As we drove on to our next destination, I heard, “That was so fun, Mom! Let’s do that again!”

Near Price Sculpture Forest

If you’re traveling from afar, this 20-minute hike can be paired up with the longer hike that starts at the Coupeville waterfront, or you can head to Ebey’s Landing for a more challenging adventure. You can also explore the town of Coupeville. It has charming bakeries and outdoor restaurants. Front Street Grill and the Island Cafe are open (takeout only for now) for burgers, sandwiches and tasty desserts.

Kapaws Iskreme on Front Street in Coupeville opens in March and sells large scoops of ice cream and other treats.

If you venture out for the holidays, be sure to spot the painted snowmen along the streets with their quirky expressions.

Whidbey Island is beautiful, and there’s plenty to do nearby if you plan a trip to Price Sculpture Forest.

Originally published Dec. 26, 2020

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About the Author

Jasmin Thankachen

Jasmin is the Associate Publisher at Seattle's Child and an Eastside mom of two boys. She enjoys parenting with lots of love and laughter. Co-Founder of PopUp StoryWalk, she also loves children's picture books, essay writing, and community stories.