Conquering Cabin Fever with the Kids

Who doesn’t itch for a spring break this time of year? We’ve rounded up a series of themed day trip ideas that will have you feeling like you really went somewhere without requiring plane tickets or reservations. We’ve also included “back by nap time” options.

Go Wild with Your Little Animals

If you haven’t been to Northwest Trek lately, it’s time for a visit. The park has expanded significantly, most notably with a nature-themed playground that your kids will love. The tram ride is still a thrill even for big kids.

Back by nap time: The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a South Sound favorite for good reason. We suggest investing in an annual pass if you can’t take advantage of monthly free days for City of Tacoma residents. That way, you can visit for any amount of time without feeling pressured to stay long enough to “get your money’s worth.” Tip: Be sure to ask for the day’s schedule, and take advantage of keeper talks and trailside animal encounters!

Get Out and About on a Boat

Is there a more Northwest adventure than a boat ride? Take a ferry to Vashon Island from Point Defiance. Explore the island and see if you can find the bike growing out of a tree! Seattle to Bainbridge is another good adventure.

Back by nap time: Simply walk on the ferry at Point Defiance, and enjoy the ride without getting off! Anderson Island is another short trip.

The Naval Undersea Museum. Photo by Megan Jones

Explore the Undersea

Drive to Bremerton for a full day of fun for wannabe sailors and landlubbers alike. The Naval Undersea Museum in Bremerton is free and full of kid-friendly exhibits and STEM activities. Kids can climb aboard the USS Turner Joy.

Back by nap time: Explore the region’s maritime history at the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma.

Make A Splash

No budget for a tropical vacation? Head to one of the South Sound’s indoor pools instead. The newly opened People’s Pool has “lily pad” splash areas for toddlers, and a small lazy river.

Back by nap time: Hit the outdoor splash pad at Point Ruston in Tacoma. It’s free and a bit easier to drag kids away from than the pool. You can always promise a trip to the boat-themed playground, or Dolce Si for a treat!

Act Naturalbrewbooks_2012_cc

This is a great time of year to score a campsite with a yurt or cabin. You’ll be protected from spring showers and enjoy the parks minus summer crowds. The Washington State Parks website allows you to search for sites by type of lodging.

Back by nap time: Explore the trails around Snake Lake at the Tacoma Nature Center. The indoor area has small animal exhibits, puppets, and other fun, making this a nice rainy-day stop, too.


Naval Undersea Museum by Megan Jones. Yurt photo, “Warming Yurt” ©2012 brewbooks, creative commons.
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