On a recent trip to Whidbey Island, my kids (ages 9 and 11) and I stopped by a whimsical outdoor museum called the Price Sculpture Forest. 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.
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 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.
Rules of the path
Price Sculpture Forest is a wonderful park for all ages, stroller-friendly with room for adults to walk side-by-side on the path. The rules of the park specifically say that the trail 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).
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.
We were quite excited to see what this park was all about. Greeted on the half-mile trail by a wooden arch with the words “Wander in Wonder” at the top we entered to start the walk. 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 kids 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!
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? Some were very hard to find – like Pegasus. Tip: step back and de-focus your eyes to catch the camouflaged beast!
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.
The path itself had some twists and turns paired with downhill paths. The path is stroller-friendly, but a heavy-duty jogger stroller would be best to get over any cracked pavement.
Although the path is wide, the statues are placed close together so we had to give space to other families who were exploring the park.
The Price Sculpture Forest is now equipped with 3-D art that visitors bring to life through an app and phone. The VR station is located to the left of the “Wander in Wonder” archway. Follow the directions on the placard. Connect to wi-fi, download the app, and scan the codes to reveal each piece of art. Point your phone to to the roped-off circular area in the middle of the space and viola, a piece of art appears on your screen. On this particular trip, we saw a sculpted face, a cartoon-like chicken, and a pair of hands. The kids had so much fun discovering these pieces and inserting themselves into the art.
The kids point to the circle to reveal a piece of art on the phone.
Near Price Sculpture Forest
If you’re traveling from afar, this 20-minute hike can be paired with the longer hike that starts at the Coupeville waterfront. Or you can head to Ebey’s Landing for a more challenging adventure. Explore the town of Coupeville with its 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.
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