Roadside Attractions of the Yakima Valley
Taking a summer road trip and want to see the unusual? We may not have the world’s biggest ball of string, but what we do have America’s only intact interurban electric railroad, a city with over 70 western themed murals on the buildings, a spectacle of dinosaurs and more oddities! Whether the Yakima Valley is your destination or your just passing through, take some time to check out these memorable sites!
- Visit America's last intact, early 20th Century, interurban electric railroad! Yes, an operating Trolley! Hop aboard, take a ride and learn about the history of the trolley. The 2016 operating season began on Saturday, May 28, and will continue on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays through Sunday, September 25.
- A fully restored original covered wagon greets you at the entrance to Union Gap with the date of the city founding in 1883. This is a great photo op!
- The Olde Yakima Letterpress Museum - A working 1900's letterpress printing shop. Learn the ancient art of setting movable type and using a hand operated printing press. Visitors can set a line or two, and then print the work on a card to take home. The museum's collection includes 15 presses dating from the 1850s to the 1940s and over 400 different type cases. Open on the first Fridays of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the first, third and fifth Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Visit the Pioneer Graveyard, established in 1865, the resting place of many of the Yakima Valley's original settlers. Headstone rubbings anyone?
- Toppenish is “Where the West Still Lives!” Stroll through the streets and see over 70 painted outdoor, historical murals which tell the story of Toppenish. The murals can be viewed year-round, but from May through September visitors can ride on a horse-drawn wagon and take a narrated tour. Every year a new mural is painted, or an old one is refinished on the first weekend in June. Artwork selected for the murals fall into the 1850-1950 category. This year’s mural being repainted was originally done in 2000 by Daniel Desiga, and is called “El Serape.”
- Fort Simcoe - An 1850’s-era military installation established to keep peace between the settlers and the Native Americans. Fort Simcoe is now an interpretive Historical State Park on the Yakama Indian Nation Reservation, telling the story of mid-19th century army life and providing insights into the ways of local Native American culture.
- Teapot Dome Historical Site - This historical site is one of the few tangible reminders of an 86 year old oil scandal during the administration of President Warren Harding. The building was originally built in 1922 as a gas station and storefront, but has since been restored and converted into a Visitor Information Center. Check out the full history of this uniquely-shaped building!
- This is the Dinosaur Country! Granger is famous for the theme “Where the Dinosaurs Roam,” and has city parks where you can experience dinosaur replicas hands-on. Hisey Park, located near the Yakima River, features a pond with a walking path around it and is surrounded by dinosaurs. Children can climb on these lifelike dinosaurs made of cement. Visiting the first weekend in June? Help craft a new dinosaur by slapping the cement onto the wire forms at the annual Dino in a Day event!
- Statue of Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar - A graduate of Sunnyside High School in 1967, she received a Master of Science in 1976 from the University of Washington, and her doctorate in 1983, after which she joined NASA to fly five space missions; the Challenger (twice), Columbia, Atlantic and Endeavor.
These are just a few of the unique roadside attractions to visit as you travel through the Yakima Valley. In addition to these stops, the Yakima Valley offers many more museums, farms, craft beverages, outdoor recreation, and entertainment for you to enjoy! Happy traveling!