By Donna Polizzi
Duck Out of Work and Take a Day Trip to Waller Park in Santa Maria
Have you heard the expression, “It’s a walk in the park?” As far as parks go, Waller park in the Santa Maria Valley is one the best and easiest for all ages to enjoy. Hike, fish, play or lay on the grass and watch the sunlight shine thru the towering trees. The park is directly across the street from the Radisson Hotel and Santa Maria Public Airport.
Countless Types of Birds Flock to Waller Park
Two beautiful bodies of water and wooded areas are just the beginning. Water fountains, meandering streams and countless varieties of birds, make Waller Park a huge draw for bird lovers. Ducks, colorful mallards, and Canadian geese are usually present and impressive blue heron and egrets, as well as the rarely seen, garganey. This duck is characterized as a Code 4 under the American Birding Associations scale of rarity. Codes range from 1-5, with a 5 being the rarest.
According to the Audubon Society, garganey typically breed in Europe and this small duck at times goes off course and can turn up in North America. They are most likely to be seen in spring.
Fish or Kick Back and Enjoy the Lake
Every curve of the winding road through Waller Park offers something else to see or do. In total, the park covers over 200 acres with pine and oak trees as far as the eye can see. Bring your camera, good walking shoes, and don’t forget to bring your fishing pole.
In the middle of Waller Park, is the smaller lake that has an island in the center of it. It is known as “Monkey Island” and you can clearly see the cave where the monkeys lived many years ago.
Monkey Island is Where Monkeys Lived Many Years Ago – Check Out the Cave
I’ve been there countless times and the park is perfectly well kept. Walking paths allow you to go throughout the park with level easy walking surfaces. Need a little more activity? Rolling green hills throughout the park offer miles of beautiful scenery to get your heart pumping.
Bring your family, or a group of friends, for the day to play volleyball or Frisbee or golf. Moms love the park because of the variety of things to do for younger kids. How could they not have fun, with a choice of three different play areas?
Alexandra Miser Kids Kendra Andrew & Stephen
Did you know Woof Park, on the backside of Waller Park, used to be a lake? Now it’s one of the best dog parks in the state after it was filled in, with separate areas for small and large breeds. Woof Park is an off-leash dog park and has become a favorite place for four-legged friends.
In the middle of the park is a beautiful gazebo, that is the perfect place for a small ceremony, party or picnic. The gazebo has electricity, which is awesome if you’d like to play music. You can reserve the picnic sites for small groups or up to 200 people.
Dee Anderson, a regular at the park, shared “I love my morning walks at Walker Park. I don’t go there to take photos, but it seems there’s always a picture just waiting to be taken. Every morning is an adventure, as I walk my dog, Missy, through the park. I see some of the same faces every day. On the weekends you will see family’s all over the park, enjoying the beautiful weather, the barbecue grills and the company of friends and family. Some celebrating birthday parties, kids enjoying the playground and even for a wedding. The park has a beautiful lake.”
Hiking Trails, Big Trees and Lakes are Part of What Makes Waller Park so Great
If you’re not up for walking, take a drive through this scenic park. During the week, it’s quiet and serene. On the weekends, it’s much more active with families barbecuing, play structures loaded with kids, and games afoot.
Visitors from outside of the area should consider spending a couple of days exploring. The Santa Maria Inn is also a wonderful place to stay that is pet friendly. Great restaurants are plentiful and numerous wineries, tasting rooms and breweries are in close proximity.
Get out there and have some fun.
Keys 2 The Coast is a travel resource for the Central Coast and beyond. Donna Polizzi is a travel expert, columnist and founder of Keys2TheCoast.com, offering honest recommendations on the “best places to wine, dine, explore and more!” Visit Keys2theCoast.Com or Facebook Keys2TheCoast.