Olympia is the capital city of the state of Washington and the county seat of Thurston County. It was incorporated on January 28, 1859. The population was 46,478 at the 2010 census. Olympia is a major cultural center of the Puget Sound region. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.5 square miles (48 km2), of which, 16.7 square miles (43 km2) of it is land and 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) of it (9.77%) is water.
Olympia has a wide array of public parks and nature conservation areas. The Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area is a 600-acre (2.4 km2) parcel that preserves more than 5 miles (8.0 km) of Puget Sound waterfront along the Woodard and Chapman bays of the Henderson Inlet. Percival Landing Park includes 0.9 miles (1.4 km) of boardwalk along Budd Inlet, as well as a playground, picnic areas and a large open space. Percival Landing closed in 2010 for an extensive remodel after saltwater degradation and opened again to the public in the summer of 2011. The Watershed Park is the site of the former waterworks for the city, and today features a loop trail with a large second-growth forest. Other parks include Priest Point Park, Burfoot Park, Sunrise Park and Yauger Park, which is home to one of Olympia's public skate parks including Friendly Grove which is nestled in a small Eastside Community, and Trillium Park, which was created by the efforts of adjoining neighborhood associations with the easement of private property. The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is located just outside of Olympia, as is the Capitol State Forest.
Schools and universities:
Olympia's main public school district is the Olympia School District. Olympia School District enrolled 9,231 students in K-12, based on the 2005-06 school year enrollment report. The school district has a total of 18 schools: 11 elementary schools, 4 middle schools and 3 high schools. Its high schools are Olympia High School (originally known as William Winlock Miller High School), Capital High School, and Avanti High School. In the 2007-2008 school year, Olympia began the new Parent Partnership Program, which provides more opportunities to homeschooling families. Olympia's online high school, Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA), is also part of the same program. Private elementary schools include Olympia Waldorf School, Olympia Community School, St. Michael School, Holy Family, and Evergreen Christian. Private middle schools include Olympia Waldorf School and NOVA School. In addition to primary & secondary schools, Olympia has a number of institutions of higher learning, including The Evergreen State College and South Puget Sound Community College. The Evergreen State College (TESC) offers bachelor's degrees in Liberal Arts and/or Science, and master's degrees in Environmental Studies, Public Administration, Masters of Education, and Masters in Teaching. The South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) offers associate degrees in Arts, Science, Biology, Elementary Education, Pre-Nursing, Applied Science, General Studies, and Business.
Rail: Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Olympia-Lacey at Centennial Station. Amtrak train 11, the southbound Coast Starlight, departs Olympia at 11:21am with service to Centralia; Portland; Sacramento; Emeryville, California (with bus connection to San Francisco); and Los Angeles. Amtrak train 14, the northbound Coast Starlight, departs Olympia at 6:22pm daily with service to Tacoma and Seattle. Amtrak Cascades trains, operating as far north as Vancouver and as far south as Eugene, Oregon, serve Olympia-Lacey several times daily in both directions.
Bus: Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, and the surrounding area are primarily served by Intercity Transit, with connections to Grays Harbor Transit, Mason Transit, Pierce Transit, and Sound Transit. Intercity Transit maintains a free shuttle route called "Dash". Dash runs from the Capitol Campus to the Farmers Market at the far edge of downtown. In 2009 Intercity Transit won an award for America's best Public Transportation System in the mid size category by the American Public Transportation Association.
Airport: The Olympia Regional Airport, operated by the Port of Olympia is located just south of Olympia in Tumwater. It serves general aviation as well as corporate aviation. The airport plays host to the Olympic AirShow, a moderate-sized airshow that occurs on Father's Day weekend each year.