Bright Ideas for Rainy Days

Grab your umbrella, boots and raincoat and splash in puddles and chase rainbows. And after you catch that leprechaun and are ready for some indoor action, head to these five South Sound places to stay warm, dry and keep the kids’ minds engaged.

The Children’s Museum of Tacoma
Full disclosure: My son’s favorite thing here is the water area, but they do have aprons. I know, this was supposed to be the dry part of the story. Other playscapes in this perennial favorite include “woods,” where children will find plenty of opportunities for building forts and creating hideaways; “voyager,” where kids can pretend to helm or pilot whatever kind of ship they dream up; and “invention,” where tinkerers can build for hours. There also is an art area called “Becka’s Studio.” Museum admission continues to be by donation, thanks to KeyBank. If you go frequently, there are perks to getting a membership, including special hours and discounts.

Discovery Village, Gig Harbor
It features a Northwest-themed play area, a block area, rotating sensory table activities, and an area for imaginative play called “The Village.” On our first visit here, I had to tear my son away from the veterinary clinic, where he was happily giving checkups to all the stuffed dogs. The play areas are designed for kids up to age 8.

Hands On Children’s Museum, Olympia
This museum is big and can easily take up the entire day. It’s perfect for kids up to about age 10. There are more than 150 exhibits in this two-story imagination station and an outdoor discovery center. The museum also offers cool evening programs for grown-ups! The museum has a sensory guide, so you can know what to expect (and what to avoid) if you have a child who is sensitive to loud noises and bright lights.

WiggleWorks Kids, Puyallup
This indoor play place at the South Hill Mall is preschool perfection. On our visits, we have been impressed with the attentiveness of the staff and the cleanliness of the equipment. Children have to be under 48 inches tall to play here.

Discovery Playtown, Maple Valley
This is the area’s newest indoor play space. Each area is designed to look like part of a town, with a variety of props and costumes to encourage imaginative play. The fire truck, complete with buttons that light up and make siren noises, is a favorite!

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