By Jennifer Crain
If a road trip to the slopes or plane tickets to a tropical paradise are out of the question this winter, it doesn’t mean you have to kiss R&R goodbye. Staycations have grown in popularity as a way to save money while still enjoying time away from the office and your family’s regular routine. Staying in Olympia gives you a chance to play tourist, exploring what would otherwise remain in the background. So get some Thurston County attractions on the calendar, turn on your email auto-reply and get ready for your next long weekend at home.
Even though it’s cold, there are plenty of things to do get active and have fun together. Start by planning one or two bigger outings:
8080 Center Street SW,Tumwater
10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily.
Winter kayaking is popular, especially on a beautiful day. If you’re paddling with young children, call to reserve double kayaks. Not recommended for children younger than two years old.
312 73rd Ave. NE, Olympia
Monday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
It’s cold but older kids who are proficient on bikes may enjoy a short wintry ride. Teri Clay-Poole, Olympia mom and biking enthusiast, says, “riding along the Chehalis-Western trail is always a treat. If you start at the Woodland Creek trailhead, a shorter ride out through the Panorama City portion of the trail brings you to a nice little Chambers Lake overlook where you can see scads of overwintering water fowl. Round trip from the Woodland Creek trailhead to the Chambers Lake overlook is about 7-8 miles total.” Pair this quick trail ride with a visit to a Lacey coffee shop to warm up.
A serene one-mile loop that’s perfect for young kids. Discover Pass required.
An easy hike for kids, this walk is perfect to pair with a trip to San Francisco Street Bakery.
2725 12th Ave. NE, Olympia
(360) 352-9943 or (360) 789-1947
Monday-Friday and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Try Wednesday’s Dollar Night from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.
Tuesday Family Night, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
204 T Street SW, Tumwater
Call for specific daily hours. Closed Mondays.
2825 Martin Way E, Olympia
315 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia
Monday-Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Family swim passes for non-members are available for $10.00 per family.
Contact individual branches for open swim times.
510 Franklin St. SE, Olympia
Briggs Community Branch
1530 Yelm Hwy. SE, Olympia
A day at an indoor play space, time communing with farm animals or crafting may be just what kids need after they’ve been on bigger explorations with the family.
414 Jefferson Street NE, Olympia
(360) 956- 0818
Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Get a head start on your costume for the Procession of the Species. The art studio is open throughout March and April, up until the Procession parade on April 27. If you’re planning to march in the parade, it’s worth it to check out this giant, magical space, stuffed with art supplies, templates and helpful ideas, all for the price of a donation.
311½ Capitol Way N, Olympia
(The studio entrance is located in the alley connecting Columbia to Capitol Way.)
Monday-Friday, 2:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 9:00 pm
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Sunday, 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
422 Carpenter Rd. SE, Suite 101, Lacey
Tuesday-Thursday,10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sundays, 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
9402 Rich Rd. SE, Olympia
Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Closed Sundays (January 1st through May 31st).
412 Washington St. SE, Olympia
Monday-Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
818 79th Ave., Unit A, Olympia
Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Now you may be ready to hit the museums. Thurston County has a number of them, as well as tours that will enrich your understanding of our area and give you quality time together.
Located next door to the Hands On Children’s Museum, the WET Science Center features interactive educational displays for kids about water. Free. Facility tours are also available. Read more about the experience visiting the WET Science Center here.
500 Adams Street NE, Olympia
Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Free, guided tours are available on the hour. Arrive 10-15 minutes before you wish to take a tour. Visit website for more information. While you are in the neighborhood, check out this article which lists 10 free activities to do on the Capitol Campus.
Capitol Campus – 416 Sid Snyder Ave. SW, Olympia
Weekdays, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Weekends, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
211 SW 21st Avenue, Olympia
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and by special appointment.
7637-A Old Hwy. 99 SE, Olympia
(360) 705-3925 or (360) 236-9839
Wednesday-Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday by appointment, January through April.
829 Lacey St. SE, Lacey
Thursdays-Fridays, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
150 SE K’wuh-deegs-altxw, Shelton
Wednesday-Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Monday and Tuesday tours are available by appointment.
Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.