Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

March 28, 2013 at 7:12am

Outdoor Addict: Small children don't cramp your style at Tacoma Nature Center

TACOMA NATURE CENTER: There's probably a kid behind these ferns and he or she is laughing. Photo credit: Whitney Rhodes

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I know the truth dear readers. Some of you have a dirty little secret. You read the Volcano to stay hip and relevant. To always know where the new hottest spot is, or the best sandwich and beer can be had. You read us so there is never a question of what to do on date night and sometimes live vicariously through us because of your dirty little secret. You have children.

This is a perfectly natural progression of life. One day your life could be featured in the social pages of our fine publication, the slightly reserved hipster who has always seen the latest art and can be found eating and drinking their way through our fine city. Then you meet an equally attractive partner, live it up as that couple everyone envies, get married in a disgustingly perfect and beautiful summer wedding, go on the adventurous honeymoon to Costa Rica, buy a lovely historic home, and have a perfect baby. Wait. What just happened? Real life can sometimes feel like it happens as fast as that last sentence. But never fear dear reader. Small children may cramp your bar hopping style, but they don't need to cramp your outdoor style.

I have the perfect place to take the kids on a Saturday morning when you are still hung over from date night. Head to the Tacoma Nature Center, tots in tow, for a magical experience all will enjoy. The Nature Center and Snake Lake wetlands are made up of 71 acres, the Nature Center building, Discovery Pond, and about 2 miles of trails. There's something for everyone so if you don't have small children to entertain don't count it out. Wandering the trails is still a pretty sweet date.

If your disgustingly cute little rug rats are younger than 10, they will enjoy Discovery Pond. It's kind of like a playground with more nature. A nice path circles the small waterfalls and pond. There's a small rock to climb on and a great little play structure that is every kids tree house dream. The slides also look like logs, and there are plenty of benches for mom and dad to relax, drink some strong coffee, and supervise from. The Nature Center itself is also worth a stop. The gift shop has some neat toys and they do lots of programs for kids to learn about the environment. The programming is diverse, for all ages, and very affordable. You can also rent the Center for birthday parties. No need to have 10 screaming children in your house, instead take them to be entertained by someone else!

I prefer to venture down the trails and into the wetlands. Even as an adult you can see the opportunities for kids and their imaginations to run wild. A play area is located near the parking lot and is the perfect place for imaginary kingdoms and animal friends. The trails are nice and wide, level and well maintained - easy to wander down with all ages. But leave the stroller in the car and Fido at home. This area is a nature preserve and has lots of animals, as a result they ask you to leave pets at home to let the natural animals live in peace. To me, the Nature Center is the perfect place to take kids to get them to flex their imaginations. No iPads or cell phones, just pure imagination run wild.

So dear readers, no need to hide it any more. Kids happen. In the Outdoor Addict space we can all be ourselves because there is something for everyone. Next week perhaps some four legged fun?

Tacoma Nature Center

Center open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Saturday

Trails open 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset

1919 S. Tyler St., Tacoma


Filed under: Outdoor Addict, Outdoors, Tacoma,
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