Back to Guides

Thurston County family fun

Where to take the kids

Heritage Park is a 24-acre, state-owned park in downtown Olympia. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

Some activities described as "fun for the whole family" are mostly fun for the younger members. But you can make the next outing with the kids a memorable one for everyone with this list of Thurston County favorites that have grownup appeal, too.

Hands On Children's Museum

For kids: With climbing structures, science experiments, a big art studio and outdoor areas to explore, the museum is all about kids. The museum, which moved to its current location in 2012, is the largest children's museum in the state.

For adults: The museum incorporates art, including felt bees created by Janice Arnold and a huge stick sculpture by Patrick Dougherty, And such interactive activities as the airway maze invite adults to rediscover their inner children.

Where: 414 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia

Hours: 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday

Tickets: $10.95, $8.95 for seniors and military with ID, free for members and babies up to 11 months

More information: 360.956.0818 or

Heritage Park Fountain

For kids: When the weather is warm, what kid doesn't want to run through a sprinkler? The fountain is basically a bigger and fancier version of that. Parents will want to bring an extra change of clothes and/or a towel.

For adults: You can run through the fountain, too! Or if you'd rather stay dry, it's fun and often funny watching the changing water patterns take people by surprise.

Where: 330 Fifth Ave. SW, Olympia

Hours: 9 a.m. to noon, 1:30-5 p.m. and 6:30-9 p.m. June-September; 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday, October-May

More information:

Percival Landing

For kids: The park has a playground and lots of space for just running around, but what sets it apart is its nearly a mile of boardwalk.

For adults: Who doesn't love a boardwalk? Then there's the abundant public art, including such Olympia icons as "The Kiss" and "Motherhood," plus plinths that hold a changing selection of sculptures. Each summer, people can vote for their favorite, which becomes part of the city's permanent collection.

Where: 405 Columbia St. NW, Olympia

More information: 360.753.8380 or

Traditions Cafe & World Folk Art

For kids: The carpeted cafe's stage area doubles as a play space for kids, who are welcome to roam and will often make new friends while playing here. The food selections include ice cream and cookies, and the shop side sells toys as well as art, clothing and music.

For adults: Healthful and reasonably priced food and housemade chai are draws, along with a welcoming atmosphere - and did we mention the ice cream? It's by Olympic Mountain and the changing flavor assortment includes such choices as lemon ginger cream and tiramisu. But the best part for parents is probably the lack of guilt: You can have long conversations with your partner or friends while the young ones are happily occupied.

Where: 300 Fifth Ave. SW, Olympia

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

More information: 360.705.2819 or

WET Science Center

For kids: The center has interactive exhibits, giving kids the chance to calculate how much water they use each day and find out where their poop goes when they flush the toilet, via an electronic map that follows the sewer lines as they flow to the treatment plant.

For adults: Learning about water treatment and conservation might appeal more to adults than it does to kids. And did we mention you can find out where your poop goes?

Where: 500 Adams St. NE, Olympia

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Tickets: Free

More information: 360.528.5742 or

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search