Wells Park was donated in 1971 to Douglas County by William Wells. The park is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. A picnic area with tables and shelter are available. Also on site is a small playground. Two observation towers offering a great scenic view of the City of Lawrence are the park's main focal point. As well as an ADA-accessible look out called the Passerine Pavilion was added in 2021.
The park also contains a short nature trail for hiking. Follow the winding entry-road to the top of the hill to enter the parking lot. The park is located 3/4 mile east of US59 on the south side of County Route 458 (N. 1000 Road).
Open to the Public: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Dirt Works Studio, University of Kansas + Douglas County Public Works
Perched atop this ridge, the Passerine Pavilion at Wells Overlook Park appears as a silhouette starting to detach from the earth. It has been designed to create a sense of lightness, like a grassland bird poised to leap from the slope into the expansive prairie landscape. The overlook's upturned wings and spine slope backward toward its tail, resting on four pairs of slender steel columns. The reclaimed feather-patterned, brushed aluminium road sign shingle roof provides shade and protection from rain. A low, angling, steel-framed gabion wall contains interlocking stacked limestones. A break in the wall acts as a threshold into a demonstration prairie garden. The wall itself was intended to guide visitors to the east. While the hill slopes downward and the timber roof slopes upward, the wooden deck you are standing on now projects into the open air, instilling a sensation of rising above the landscape. This arrangement affords all visitors, regardless of their mobility, an experience of beholding the Wakarusa River Valley.
Studio Director: Chad Kraus
Students: Zevi Aronstein, Max Avila-Franco, Megan Bruey, Ryan Daniels, Eva Eliasdottir, Dylan Frye, Kimberly Gordon, Christian Maglasang, Bret Majarocon, Aaron Michalicek, Benjamin Obadia, Elizabeth Overschmidt, Antonin Some, Isaac Taylor, Jordyn Tobias, and Lucie Zumsteeg