The ground for what is currently Rice Park in Willmar, known as the city’s playground, was donated to the city in the early 1900’s by Governor Albert E. Rice and N. O. Nelson. Located in Southwest Willmar on Third Street, Rice Park continued to evolve into one of the beauty spots in Willmar as years passed. In July of 1918, Governor Rice donated a park pavilion to the city with the idea that it would provide a place for social gatherings. The pavilion provided kitchen facilities, comfort rooms, and more. A. O. Sather, who was a caretaker of the park, did a wonderful job with the park upkeep and transformation as years went by.
Today, Rice Park has a number of different amenities for a variety of age groups and recreational interests. The park has Tennis Courts, Basketball Courts, a fenced in area with 5 lanes for Horseshoe, a shelter with stationary grills, one large sandy playground area on the north side of the park, and another smaller area on the southwest corner of the park with playground equipment. It continues to be a central park in the city and is utilized everyday by many families.