Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson, has a woodworking hobby as does his counterpart in the show. He has released an instructional DVD in canoe building and runs a fine woodworking business on the side.
Ron Swanson's staunchly anti-government government official was based on a city planner who the show's producers met and interviewed when doing research. The planner was a Libertarian who admitted to them "I don't believe in the mission of my job."
The character Tom Haverford changed his name from Darwish Sabir Ismael Gani. The actor who plays Tom, Aziz Ansari, chose that as Tom's original name because it is his cousin's name. Ansari also shares with Tom the biographical fact that although his parents were originally from India, he was born and raised in a small town in South Carolina.
In the the episode "London parts 1 & 2" Ben says to Andy "So all you did is stop drinking beer?" and Andy replies "Yea I lost like 50lbs in a month." This is a reference to Chris Pratt's real life weight loss for his role in Guardians of the Galaxy. He actually lost 60lbs.
The series was originally planned as a direct spin-off of The Office (2005). It was later re-designed to be an original workplace story that would keep the "mockumentary" format used for the other series, which P&R executive producers Greg Daniels and Michael Schur had both worked on (Daniels as creator, Schur as a writer and producer).
Pawnee Parks street map is a copy of the actual street map of Christchurch, New Zealand, with roads and other features renamed. For example Hagley Park, Christchurch is renamed Ramsett Park, and the Avon River which flows through central Christchurch is called the Pawnee River.
Jay Jackson, the actor who plays the comically literal Pawnee newscaster Perd Hapley, was for many years an actual print and broadcast journalist and anchor at news outlets in San Diego and Los Angeles. After he retired from journalism in the mid-2000s, through a friend's manager he got a small role as a reporter on a 2007 episode of Dexter. He agreed to allow the manager to send him on other auditions, but only as long as they only were for reporter roles, since that was his professional background, so he ended up also playing reporters on TV shows such as Scandal, Revenge, The Closer, The Mentalist, and Body of Proof, as well as in movies such as Battleship and Fast Five.
Six of the sixteen episodes of season 3 were filmed along with the 24 episodes of the second season because Amy Poehler was pregnant, so when the show was moved to mid season, the network ordered 10 more to have a complete season to air.
Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones left the show on good terms. The decision was mutual among them and the showrunners as their departure made sense for the characters and allowed the actors to move on to other projects. Jones, in particular, wanted to focus more on writing.
While a guest on "The Diane Rehm Show," Rob Lowe said that when he first interviewed for the role of Chris Traeger, the Parks and Recreation writers told him that they had based their show on Lowe's previous series The West Wing. He said that they told him, "'we're comedy writers. We're going to write a comedy, but what would the comedy version of "The West Wing" look like?' And the answer to them was, it wouldn't be the White House. It would be Parks and Recreation."
The two statues featured in the opening credits are two landmarks on Highway 18 in Montpelier, Indiana, a town located in the East-Central region of the state. The first is the Ice Cream Giant at Tin Lizzy, an ice cream shop just outside the town, and the second is the Muffler Man Indian in the center of town.
Mayfair Games, makers of Settlers of Catan, were contracted to make Ben Wyatt's Cones of Duneshire look like a professional board game. Instead, Mayfair Games made a playable game with a full set of rules. However, it's complex and dense, so it has not been produced for the market. It was played at GenCon 2014 in Indiana, where 33 people paid $100 each for a ticket to play and the Ledgerman position (the scorekeeper who doesn't play) was auctioned off. The event made more than $20,000 for an Indiana food bank.
At least eleven tie-in websites exist for the show, including websites for Pawnee, Leslie's city council campaign, Andy's band's, Ron's grilling, April and Andy's wedding, and Tom's businesses. Ann's tumblr also exists.
Pawnee was founded in 1817, which is likely a reference to the founding of the University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor, the home town of one of the show's creators Michael Schur. There are also several other references to the city of Ann Arbor throughout the show.
Leslie's pregnancy with triplets was foreshadowed in season 2 episode 4 when she goes on a date with Will Arnett's character who gives her an MRI scan. He comments on how she has 'a great oven' and said " If I were you, triplets right off tha bat."
In the episode "Sweetums", Nick Newport Jr. is shown. He is not mentioned again through the remainder of the series. When Nick Newport Sr.'s son runs for city council against Leslie, his name is Bobby Newport. Nick Sr. and his wife also are in the show several times with no mention of Nick Jr.
In season two Leslie goes on a date with Will Arnet and he gives her a cat scan and tells her she has a nice utterus and could spit out triplets on her first go. That's what in fact happens when Ben and Leslie finally have children.