One of the greatest things about traveling with children is their ability to jump into imaginary worlds. Visiting places like Mt. Rainier help to feed their repertoire for ideas, whether it be a stroll through the gigantic ancient Grove of the Patriarchs or the manufactured recycled wonders at Ex-Nihilo.
As you head up to the west entrance of Mt. Rainier, give your kids some runaround exploration time at the Ex-Nihilo Metal Sculpture Park. Located on SR 706, a couple miles past Elbe on the right-hand side of the road, metal artist Dan Klennert has created an amazing world of recycled art and an ideal landscape for a child’s imagination.
Ex-Nihilo is Latin for “something created out of nothing.” But his nothings aren’t nothing at all. They’re pieces of historical trash – junk tossed into a ravine not far from his “gallery” that has become the media for his artistic expression. Old tie-rod ends, rusted- out drums, and lengths of sheet metal welded together with old tools, metal bumpers, and whatever else Klennert can pull together find new life as majestic works of art.
What stories will your children tell from seeing gigantic dinosaurs, seahorses, and eagles, a band of metal musicians gathered and ready to play? Young ones may decide to ride off with the motorcycle-riding skeleton under the watchful eye of a rooster that stands one hundred times taller than the live models he represents. See the horses with their elegant bodies grazing in everlasting grace.
Stop by, enjoy Klennert’s creations, and wonder, what could you make with your junk at home?
Website | Address: 22410 Washington 706, Ashford, WA 98304
Written by Amy Poffenbarger