First, you’re probably asking, “Where is China Lake?” Am I a little psychic, or what?
China Lake is in the shadow of Cheney Stadium, and it’s an undeveloped-as in don’t look for restrooms or picnic tables-Metro Parks property. A small parking area leads to an open meadow, which quickly becomes a wide, well maintained path through forest and around the little lake. It’s a fine place for bird watching, or sitting and throwing rocks towards the lily pads. You’re likely to have the place to yourself, though we saw a family trying out their mountain bikes, and a man taking his dogs for a swim. I love the Secret Garden quality of urban walks like this, but if you’re bothered by the idea of walking a trail alone, go with a pal. I do suggest keeping valuables out of site and carrying your phone, by I’d say this about anywhere you go.
When you’ve had your fill of exploring, go left out of the parking lot, head across the freeway and stop at the Tacoma Nature Center. I go on and on about this place, but if you haven’t been paying attention, the nature center has a fantastic new playground, as well as a small area of refurbished exhibits on the inside, and miles of easy trails behind that go around another small lake-this one’s called Snake Lake.
Through the end of this month, you’ll also want to check out, “The Beauty of Bugs.” It’s a special photography exhibit at the center showcasing various bugs up close, and the photos really are beautiful and fascinating (O.K…..Henry could have cared less, but I enjoyed them). The gallery is straight ahead when you come in the door, and you can just walk on in.
All this fun is totally free, although it is nice to leave a few dollars in the donation jar if you have them.