Salem's Riverfront Park

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by azsunluvr on May 21, 2005

Wandering along the Willamette River at Riverfront Park feels like a step back in time. I almost expected to see Gibson Girls with bustles and parasols with hair piled atop their heads taking a morning stroll. Or maybe a wooden raft with Tom Sawyer gripping a fishing pole floating down the river. The Willamette Queen sternwheeler, I’m sure, greatly contributed to the effect. Floating on still water surrounded by green trees and other vegetation, it looked very much like I imagine the South of the 1900s.

The park was busy on this Friday morning with moms pushing babies in strollers and a couple of school busloads of elementary-age children at the playground. A walking path takes visitors around the perimeter of the park, along the river and past the Eco-Earth, playground, and carousel.

The Eco-Earth measures 25 feet in diameter. Formerly an "Acid Ball" used by Boise Cascade Corp., it was a pressure vessel used in the processing of wood pulp into paper. Through community effort, donations by local citizens and businesses and volunteer work, the Eco-Earth was formed. Covered in tiles, this huge globe displays art depicting images representative of each continent and ocean.

The Riverfront Carousel boasts 42 carousel horses and 2 Oregon Trail wagons. Each piece is hand carved and painted by local artisans. Rides are $1.25. A gift shop is attached with a nice selection of carousel items and other animal souvenirs. You might also catch an artist working on another carousel creation. Visitors are encouraged to watch and ask questions.

Salem Carousel
101 Front Street NE
Salem 97301

Salem Riverfront Carousel
101 Front Street Northeast
Salem, Oregon, 97301
(503) 540-0374

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