Stuff and Nonsense: Road Trip: Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park


Road Trip: Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park

In downtown Wilson, North Carolina lies Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, a whimsical two-acre park bursting with color and creativity. The park is named for a North Carolinian artist who repurposed salvaged metal -- everything from roadwork signs to mirrors and bicycles -- to create extravagant wind-driven kinetic sculptures he called windmills. The thirty windmills/whirligigs displayed are all massive, complicated and colorful pieces that move with the lightest puff of air. We were lucky enough to visit on a day with intermittent breezes so we could admire the construction of each piece as well as its function.

In addition to the windmills/whirligigs, the park also contains an amphitheater and shelter. There are plenty of benches to sit at and the lawn would make a great picnic spot. The restrooms, in an air-conditioned portable trailer that is completely handicapped accessible and ostomate-friendly, are probably the nicest public restrooms I have ever used.

While Wilson is in the early steps of downtown revitalization, there are many boarded-up storefronts surrounding the park and, initially, it doesn't look like there's much else to do. However, there is a brewery, 217 Brew Works, next door as well as bakeries and restaurants within walking distance. Also, if you time your visit right, you can attend the Wilson Farmers and Artisan Market and pick up some tasty treats to eat on the lawn.

Even the fire hydrants are fun

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