As the City of Lacey’s landmark Depot District continues to take shape, phase by phase, new developments will entice families, in particular, to check out the project. (Spoiler: There’s a playground!)
The centerpiece of the project is a near replica of Lacey’s original railroad depot, which opened in 1891. The building complements the history of the area and serves as a community gathering space.
Future phases include a new museum and cultural center, but for now, let’s talk about the most recent additions — and two of kids’ favorite things — playing and food!
New Depot District developments
On a recent visit to the Depot and the Depot Park train playground, I discovered a few cool things and one disappointing thing. Should I give you the bad news or good news first? Okay, let’s just get it out of the way: The food trucks weren’t open on a Monday evening. I was fully ready to snack while the kids played, and also eager to see if the littles would try new food.
I did some digging and found out that you can follow Lacey Food Truck Depot on Facebook and check out which food trucks will be scheduled that week! And while a nice rotation of food trucks plan to set up shop, you can count on Lava Bowlz to be there Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Yay! No more hangry mom.
Okay, on to the playground! It’s definitely got some cute train vibes going on. Climb aboard the locomotive and pretend you’re going down the line and jump and run from car to car. A clock tower will ensure you get all your riders on board on time. Classics like hanging rings, climbing walls, and a slide are tucked nicely around the train structure.
I love that this playground has that nice squishy ground that makes it easy to jump, fall and run on. Designers even put in some artistic enhancements to the ground to include a mountain range and the appearance of rails that the play equipment is “riding” on.
During my visit, kids were going wild with the standing/spinning play feature — it had at least two and up to four on it the whole time. I spent a couple of hours lounging on the seating, reading the educational kiosk, and taking a gazillion pictures because the kids were so cute and having such a blast. Families came and went, and for being a new park, it was pretty popular.
The playground is surrounded by gating, as it butts up next to the Karen Fraser Woodland Trail, which connects to the Chehalis Western Trail. One cool part of this historic depot district is that underneath the paved Karen Fraser trail is an abandoned rail line.
The covered depot is spacious with plenty of tables for a birthday party or just sharing with community members. It has the appearance of a depot station and complements the entire Depot District aesthetic. (It's available for half- or full-day rentals April 1–Oct. 31.)
Construction of the new museum is slated for 2026. But no need to wait, this spot right now is great summer go-to, for the diverse foods to try, entertainment, pop-up markets, outdoor seating and, of course, the playground!
If you’re like me and show up on a day when the food trucks aren’t open, don’t worry! There are plenty of great spots nearby to grab a bite. Dirty Dave’s is a South-Sound institution for a classic pizza parlor experience, Jim Bob’s Chuckwagon is a go-to for barbecue and diner-style eating, and Koibito offers delicious Japanese food. Dang it, now I’m hungry again.
If you go...
Find it: Depot Park is located at 5555 Pacific Avenue S.E. in Lacey. Plan on about a 10-minute drive from Olympia, a 35-minute drive from Tacoma, and an hour-and-15-minute drive from either Seattle or Bellevue.
Open hours: The park is open daily, from 7 a.m. to dark.
Parking: There is plenty of free parking available.
Facilities: Park facilities include restrooms, a drinking fountain and historic markers with information about the Lacey Depot and Lacey Plywood Plant which were the former occupants of this site.
More South Sound places to play: