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 submit@thurstontalk.com. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and the surrounding area, visit our complete event calendar.

Thrifty Thurston

Thrifty Thurston Enjoys the Outdoor Green this St. Patrick’s Day

When one thinks of Ireland, the mind drifts toward natural landscapes full of green, breath-taking stretches of coast and waterways that capture the imagination....

Thrifty Thurston Explores the McLane Creek Nature Trail

As we all know, March in western Washington can be a bit fickle. You never know what weather you are going to get. When I see...
Old Washington Capitol building

Thrifty Thurston Tours Washington’s Historic Old Capitol Building

Looming large over Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia, one of Washington State’s most iconic and historic buildings has caught the eye of the passersby...
south sound estuarium

Thrifty Thurston: Shark Eyeballs and Orca Food – Discoveries Await at South Sound Estuarium

Olympia’s maritime history is as old as language, with Salish people telling tales and weaving memories of the abundance of sea life and waterfront...

Thrifty Thurston Lists Activities for Presidents’ Day Weekend

Presidents’ Day weekend poses an exciting opportunity to enjoy a mid-winter break. While many families head out of town to somewhere warm, there are plenty...
olympic national forest cabin

Thrifty Thurston Sleeps in a Remote Olympic National Forest Cabin

Around the wild and remote Olympic Peninsula, endless adventure can be found. Lurking in the woods on all sides, wilderness awaits you, hoping you...
nisqually wildlife refuge

Thrifty Thurston Rediscovers Wildlife at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

On the northern edge of Thurston County, where the Nisqually River mixes with the Puget Sound, one of our region’s natural wonders sits, waiting...
hiking

Thrifty Thurston Plans a Year in Nature with Local Hikes

A new year is upon us, meaning we have new goals, an optimistic outlook, and an opportunity to accomplish this year’s hopes and dreams....
hurricane ridge

Thrifty Thurston Explores Washington’s National Parks on 10 Fee-Free Days in 2017

Here at the bottom of the Puget Sound, surrounded by the beauty of Washington State, we have access to some of the most iconic...
things to do thurston county

Thrifty Thurston Lists 17 Things To Do in 2017 around Thurston County

After a year for the history books, we welcome 2017 with open arms and hopeful spirit. Instead of making a list of resolutions, I’ve...
nature trail olympia

Thrifty Thurston Travels on 5 Day Trips to Enjoy Nature Just an Hour or...

Winter is here, bringing with it chilly weather that fills residents of the South Sound with a desire to stay warm, dry and indoors....
hike it baby

Thrifty Thurston Goes Outdoors with Hike It Baby Olympia

Cold, rainy days can be hard on even the strongest Washingtonian, but what if you have a new baby or toddler at home?  Suddenly, your...
capitol lake walk

Thrifty Thurston Gets a History Lesson with a Walk around Capitol Lake

Even though I grew up in Olympia, and now live here as an adult, I’ll be the first to admit there is still plenty...
mount rainier sledding

Thrifty Thurston Sleds Down Mount Rainier

Looming high above the horizon to the east, standing tall like a silent giant, Mount Rainier captivates our imaginations every day we can see it....

Thrifty Thurston Drives a 2016 Christmas Light Tour around Thurston County

Scarves, coats, and hot chocolate are secured in our car before heading out on one of my favorite family traditions…the holiday light tour. Each...
holiday music concert

Thrifty Thurston Finds Holiday Music Concerts Throughout Olympia

If you’re looking to keep your family entertained during the Holidays, there is no shortage of free and low cost music and family fun...
family photo location

Thrifty Thurston Lists Plenty of Places to Take Family Photos in Thurston County

Snapping the perfect family photo can be challenging - weather, kids, dogs all impact gathering that ideal image of a smiling family. Local photographer...
tolmie state park

Thrifty Thurston Runs Off the Beaten Path – 6 Trail Runs for the Whole...

Olympia has a rich running culture, as displayed by the constant stream of runners along the paths, streets and trails around the South Sound....
kennedy creek salmon trail

Thrifty Thurston Spots Salmon Spawning at Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail

As you drive up Highway 101 toward Shelton, it’s easy to miss the turn off for the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail, but seeing the fall...
westport

Thrifty Thurston Finds Family Fall Activities around Olympia

The sun of summer has set and the leaves have changed from green to a deep, autumn orange. Pumpkin spice lattes are warming the...
governor's mansion

Thrifty Thurston Travels on 4 Haunted Hikes within a Short Drive from Olympia

The crisp, cool air has returned with the rain, letting us know that fall has returned in full force. With pumpkin spiced lattes being...
fall hikes

Thrifty Thurston Treks around the South Sound on Fall Hikes

Experiencing the majesty of autumn around the South Sound is an annual tradition that we all know and love. As the taste of pumpkin...

Thrifty Thurston Explores 4 Pumpkin Patches in Olympia

Each year, my neighbor throws an awesome pumpkin carving party. She lines her kitchen floor with plastic, plunks down the pumpkins, and everyone goes...
bike route

Thrifty Thurston Finds Fall Road Biking Inspiration

Fall is upon us. The days are a bit shorter, the evenings cool and crisp, and the leaves changing. But just because winter is...
fall colors olympia

Thrifty Thurston Follows Fall Foliage around Thurston County

School busses line the streets and the brisk air has begun to blow through turning the seasons from summer to fall. One of the...

Thrifty Thurston Logs the Best Seat in Town for Watching Migrating Salmon near Olympia

In the Pacific Northwest, salmon are beloved in our waterways, artwork, cuisine, and the occasional crosswalk. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office acknowledge...

Thrifty Thurston Coordinates the Grande Finale of Summer During Labor Day Weekend

Back to School advertisements are around every corner, the leaves are beginning to fall and the hot, summer sun is fading. These signs can...
geocache olympia

Thrifty Thurston Logs Beginner Geocaches in Olympia

My ten-year-old daughter celebrates her geocaching “anniversary” on International Geocaching Day. This year, it happened to fall on August 20, 2016 and we made...

Thrifty Thurston Launches Olympia Pets into the Limelight during the 87th Annual Pet Parade

Almost 150 years ago, George Eliot said, “animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” Like her longstanding truth, the...

Thrifty Thurston Brings Generations Together through Crabbing at Hood Canal

I associate summers at Hood Canal with equal parts waterskiing, clam digging and crab catching. Along with my siblings and cousins, we would dive...
lacey skatepark

Thrifty Thurston Wheels into Rainier Vista Community Park

Cruise on up to the chain-link fenced-in world that is the skatepark at Rainier Vista Community Park, and stare in amazement at the only half-pipe...
symphony free concert

Thrifty Thurston Jams to a Free Outdoor Concert on Sunday at the Capitol Campus

Olympia Symphony Orchestra (OSO) Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Hermann, says "Olympia is a vibrant arts community with diverse music and dance groups of all genres...

Thrifty Thurston Explores Olympia’s Art

Olympia has so much art work around the city that it's often easy to just drive right past. We see it every day and...

Thrifty Thurston Finds Frugal Lakefair Fun

In 1957, a small carnival began on the shores of Capitol Lake to beat the heat and boredom of the summer. The tradition continues...
olympia beaches

Thrifty Thurston – Local Beaches Promise Frugal Fun

School’s out, the weather is warming, and nothing says “summer!” like a day at the beach. And for the family on a budget, the beach...
free summer movies olympia

Thrifty Thurston Shares Fire Safety During Olympia Fire Department’s Movie Spectacular

Just because school’s out for the summer—or for good!—doesn’t mean we stop learning. This is especially true for practical, universal information like fire safety....
outdoor concert olympia

Olympia’s Music in the Park is Music to My Ears

Summer’s official start can be confusing. Is it the first heat wave, solstice in June, or last day of school? Personally, I think it’s...

Thrifty Thurston – 6 Ways to Cool Off Your Dog during Warm Summer Days

The sun is shining. Dog lovers around Thurston County have great opportunities for taking their companion out to enjoy the warm weather. Here are...
lacey in tune

Thrifty Thurston Finds Free Summer Fun with the Lacey in Tune Children’s Entertainment Series

“When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream, of relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam…” While Olaf’s...
olympia museum

Thrifty Thurston Tours Craig Kinnaman’s Free Museum

If you have horses or other farm animals, then you probably know Kipert’s Korner Feed Store just south of the Olympia Airport on Highway...
percival landing

Thrifty Thurston Finds 20 Free Things To Do with Kids this Summer in Olympia

This summer, we’re packing your calendar full of free, family activities throughout Thurston County. From parks to tours and museums, you are sure to...
olympia swimming

Thrifty Thurston Enters 5th Year, Shares Top 5 Articles

Readers - let's celebrate!  Thrifty Thurston is turning four today. For the past 208 weeks, ThurstonTalk has published a Thrifty Thurston story every Thursday morning....

Thrifty Thurston Wanders through the State Capitol Campus during Memorial Day

How do you celebrate Memorial Day? While some families may take a quick trip out of town to the coast or explore a nearby...

Thrifty Thurston Bounces into the Lacey Spring Fun Fair

Entertaining my family on a beautiful, sunny day is one of my favorite things to do during spring. However, many events around town can...
carbon river rainier

Thrifty Thurston Covers 6 Snow-Free Hikes around South Puget Sound

Now that the snow is melting at record levels and the seemingly-endless winter is behind us, we are blessed to be able to get...
mclane creek nature trail

Thrifty Thurston – 5 Hikes Under and 5 Hikes Over 5 Miles Near Olympia

One of the best things about living in Thurston County is the proximity to great hiking. Whether you are looking for a hike close...
healthy kids day

Thrifty Thurston Attends Healthy Kids Day

The sun is shining and temperatures are rising which are a sure sign of the approach of summer. Children from all over Thurston County...
student orchestra olympia

Thrifty Thurston Makes Music at the Instrument Petting Zoo

My daughter was four when she touched her first violin. She was wandering through Spring Arts Walk in downtown Olympia with her grandmother. They...
procession species

Thrifty Thurston Weaves through Procession of the Species

Last year, when the morning of Procession of the Species rolled around, it was chilly, gray, and the forecast called for rain. I won’t...
duckabush river

Thrifty Thurston Explores 7 Rivers along the Olympic Peninsula’s Hood Canal

It is hard to put your finger on just what makes Washington State’s Hood Canal so perfect. Here on this majestic fjord, along the...
tenino train depot

Thrifty Thurston Steps Back in Time at the Tenino Depot Museum

To take a step back in time you only need to drive about sixteen miles from Olympia, down Highway 99 - back to when...
olympia story time

Thrifty Thurston Settles in for a Story

As a teacher and mother, I have witnessed the power of reading first-hand. Listening to stories can bring expansive growth to young minds and...
olympic national park

Thrifty Thurston – Outdoor Adventure Awaits Using Every Kid in a Park Free Passes

We are so fortunate to be surrounded by natural beauty and easily accessible outdoor recreation and parks. Yet just as easy as it might...
lower lena lake

Thrifty Thurston Hikes Four Green Routes (Think: Moss, Ferns, and Evergreens)

The Pacific Northwest gets a lot of rain. From mid-October to late April, the Puget Sound sky turns every shade of gray, allowing endless...
easter egg hunt

Thrifty Thurston Reflects on Nearly 50-Year History of the Olympia Eagles Easter Egg Hunt

It’s been nearly 50 years since the Olympia Eagles Aerie 21 first offered a chance for local kids to get a shot at some...
dosewallips state park

Thrifty Thurston Sources Fun During Free Days at Washington State Parks

In 2016, there are 9 days when you can leave your Discover Pass at home. No fees are required on these dates, giving you...
art gallery olympia

Thrifty Thurston Tours Art Galleries around Olympia

As an avid traveler, I always enjoy exploring the cities I visit and indulging in the local culture. Some of the best ways to...
valentines day kids

Thrifty Thurston Spends Time with Little Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day is known for roses, candlelit dinners, and romantic rendezvous. This holiday is surrounded by love. One of the people we love the...
art kids crayons

Thrifty Thurston Finds Countless (Free) Ways to Beat the Winter Doldrums Indoors

Parents, did you see that sunshine? I mean the 45 minutes of inspiration to take your children outside to stretch legs, have some fresh...
date night tween

Thrifty Thurston Sources 8 Date Night Ideas with Your Tween

The other morning my tween son had a doctor’s appointment. We dropped his little brother off at school and made it to the appointment...

Thrifty Thurston Lists the 2016 Major Festivals and Events around Olympia and Thurston County

One of my favorite things about living in Thurston County is the endless opportunities to gather together with friends and neighbors, celebrating our region,...

Thrifty Thurston Scampers into Free Friday Night at the Hands On Children’s Museum

Yes, the Pacific Northwest is a gorgeous corner of creation. But when having—or being—a kid keeps you indoors on soggy or school-less days, cabin...
winter bird watching

Thrifty Thurston Watches Winter Bird Action at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Winter in the Pacific Northwest isn’t traditionally viewed as a time when we go out into nature and explore, nor is it associated with...
polar bear plunge

Thrifty Thurston Dives Into 2016

The icy, cold waters of Thurston County will be filled New Year's Day with thrill seekers of all ages for the annual Polar Bear...
sing along messiah

Thrifty Thurston Invites the Community to SOGO’s Sing-Along Messiah

According to legend, When King George II of England listened to Handel’s Messiah for the first time, he rose from his seat with excitement...
santa firetruck

Thrifty Thurston – Lights, Sirens and Santa

Santa on a fire truck travels around Thurston County this month. It is December in Thurston County, which means that two of the most beloved (large...

Thrifty Thurston Visits Santa Throughout Thurston County

The Santa photo - for many families, including mine, it’s a mandatory holiday activity. So why do I always wait until the last minute...
melnic scavenger hunt

Thrifty Thurston Finds Melnic in a Paw-Some Downtown Olympia Scavenger Hunt

  By Kathryn Millhorn In the wide world of policing it’s usually the police dog that finds you. But starting November 29, downtown Olympia becomes a...
olympia toy run

Thrifty Thurston Showcases Holiday Happenings around Olympia

  By Alyssa Ramsfield The holiday season is in full swing and Thurston County is bustling with an array of holiday events. With so many to...
hood canal waterfalls

Thrifty Thurston Chases 9 Waterfalls Near Hood Canal

  By Douglas Scott The natural beauty of Washington’s Hood Canal is known for a lot of reasons. From amazing lodges, stunning camping, fantastic hiking and...
kennedy creek salmon trail

Thrifty Thurston Appreciates Nature at the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail

  By Melanie Kallas Ricklefs Watching the salmon run at Kennedy Creek is one of our family’s autumn traditions. We’ve been taking our daughter to the...

Thrifty Thurston Sources Festive Neighborhoods for Halloween Trick-or-Treat Fun

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Gazing out my window to the houses nearby, fallen leaves and pumpkins show obvious signs of fall. My front porch displays a...
lattins cider mill

Thrifty Thurston Picks 9 Family Friendly Fall Activities in Olympia

  By Kate Scriven Colorful leaves. Crisp walks in the park. Pumpkin patches and corn mazes. Pumpkin spice everything. These are some iconic images and outings of...

Thrifty Thurston Startles Up Family Fun at the Hands On Children’s Museum Boo Bash

  By Kathryn Millhorn No matter your stance on pumpkin spice, jumping in a pile of leaves, or the return of sweater weather, October is an...
capitol state forest

Thrifty Thurston Locates Fall Fun for the Whole Family around Olympia

  By Douglas Scott Nearly everyone I know around Olympia and the Puget Sound region loves fall. Some enjoy fall for the return of football, while...

Thrifty Thurston Loves Perfect Pumpkin Patches, Halloween Happenings

  By Nikki McCoy The artistic element of carving pumpkins evolved from an early Irish craft of carving potatoes, turnips, and beets. The spooky part stemmed...
nisqually watershed festival

Thrifty Thurston Honors Local Wildlife During Nisqually Watershed Festival

    By Lynn West The 26th annual Nisqually Watershed Festival, at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, is a wonderful opportunity to wander the refuge, see exhibits, play games, take...
burfoot park

Thrifty Thurston Finds a Slice of Solitude in Burfoot Park

  By Douglas Scott Burfoot Park, near Boston Harbor, is a classic Thurston County destination, visited year-round by thousands of locals and tourists alike. Perfect for...

Thrifty Thurston Finds Solitude, Isolation and History at Hope Island State Park

  By Douglas Scott Deep down in the southern reaches of the Puget Sound, a small state park is waiting for your adventure. Located between Budd...

Thrifty Thurston Views Migrating Salmon in Thurston County

  By Kathryn Millhorn Confession time:  I only clean when company’s coming, floss most the day I go to the dentist, and make summer educational when...

Thrifty Thurston Enjoys an End of Summer Olympia Staycation

Sad but true: the word “vacation” disappeared from my vocabulary shortly after having my second child. Call me crazy, but it’s neither relaxing nor...

Thrifty Thurston Explores 5th Annual Love Our Local Fest

  By Nikki McCoy Five years in, and Love our Local Fest (LOLF) is a strong representation of Olympia, specifically the Eastside community. At the intersection...
tumwater falls river walk tour

Thrifty Thurston Journeys Through Time with the Tumwater Falls Park Riverwalk Tour

  By Lynn West If you need a fresh adventure during the last hot days of summer, consider a little time travel through Tumwater Falls Park. The...
tolmie state park

Thrifty Thurston Shares 15 (Free) Ways to Cool Off with Kids in Olympia

  I admit to having a difficult time when the weather heats up.  My 9-year-old daughter seems to melt even faster.  While walking our dogs tonight,...
olympia symphony concert

Thrifty Thurston Enjoys the Olympia Symphony Orchestra’s Free Concert

  By Katie Doolittle On Sunday, July 26, the Olympia Symphony Orchestra will perform its 9th annual free summer concert in the shadow of the Capitol dome....
nisqually wildlife refuge

Thrifty Thurston Travels through the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge during Wednesday Morning Walks

  By Douglas Scott The National Wildlife Refuge System is 112 years old, with protected lands stretching from shore to shore of the country. For those...
olympia bike ride

Thrifty Thurston Takes a Destination Bike Ride with Kids

  By Megan Conklin When my youngest children want to go bike riding, they are satisfied to ride on the sidewalk in front of our house....
outdoor concert olympia

Thrifty Thurston Listens to Free Outdoor Concerts at Music in the Park

  By Nikki McCoy It’s hard to believe it’s been 36 years since the first production of Music in the Park, an annual summer concert series...
olympia swimming

Thrifty Thurston Splashes at Local Swimming Pools and Beaches

  By Katie Doolittle It’s the classic conundrum: how can we keep our families entertained throughout these hot summer months without over-heating or over-spending? Happily for the...
visit olympia

Thrifty Thurston Lists 25 Free Things To Do with Kids in Olympia

  By Kate Scriven Whatever your yardstick for marking the start of summer - school calendar, summer solstice, or weather patterns - we can all agree...

Thrifty Thurston Watches $1 Movies with the Kids in Olympia this Summer

  By Kate Scriven It’s baaaackkkk!!! Summer. Yep. It’s here for the next three months and so are your kids. All day, everyday. Once the final...
tolmie state park

Thrifty Thurston Visits Tolmie State Park

  A little known fact about Tolmie State Park is that it is home to an underwater dive park built for and by scuba divers. The...
parents night out olympia

Thrifty Thurston Enjoys a Parents’ Night Out in Olympia

  By Kate Scriven As much as we all love our children and couldn’t imagine our lives without them, it is fairly easy to envision an evening...

Thrifty Thurston Stays Home for the Long Weekend

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Whenever a long weekend is ahead many people begin planning a trip out of town. Let’s stay home this time. Let’s plan...
lacey spring fun fair

Thrifty Thurston Celebrates the Season with the Lacey Spring Fun Fair

  “Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush,” mused writer Doug Larson. Even with our mild winter and...

Thrifty Thurston Plans Entertainment on Mother’s Day

  By Alyssa Ramsfield News flash - Sunday, May 10, is Mother’s Day. What better way to show your gratitude for your mom than by exploring...
olympic cards and comics

Thrifty Thurston Digs Free Comic Book Day around Olympia

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Some of the greatest villains are poised and ready to take over Thurston County. The only way to stop them is to...
dragon boat festival

Thrifty Thurston Attends the 10th Annual Dragon Boat Festival Hosted by Saint Martin’s University

  By Katie Doolittle April heralds a return of the dragon boats to Olympia and, with them, a whole day of free fun for spectators of...

Thrifty Thurston Takes the Family to Spring Arts Walk, Procession of the Species

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Spring Arts Walk is the official start to a season of downtown Olympia fun. The free, family-friendly event is a highlight in...

Thrifty Thurston Baits a Lure to Fish in Thurston County

  By Douglas Scott A white and red orb floats on a lake, bobbing up and down with every ripple from the breeze. Methodically, it rocks,...
woodard bay

Thrifty Thurston Takes a Walk at Woodard Bay

  By Megan Conklin When I took a gaggle of children out for some playtime at Woodard Bay last week, we were met with old familiar...
west bay drive poems

Thrifty Thurston – As West Bay Drive Construction Ends, Poems Emerge

  By Kelli Samson As a high school English teacher, my eyeballs are trained to notice words. That’s why I may have gasped a little when...
olympia easter egg hunt

Thrifty Thurston Hops into Easter Egg Hunts around Olympia

*Readers - You have found our 2015 post.  To find information on 2016 Easter Egg Hunts, click here. By Alyssa Ramsfield Spring has sprung across our...
olympia fresh flowers

Thrifty Thurston Maximizes the Green – 5 Picks for $5

  By Mary Ellen Psaltis There’s nothing quite like finding perfection: the right thing at the right time and the right price. It’s even better when...
st patricks day

Thrifty Thurston Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with the Whole Family

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Top o’ the mornin’ to ya Thurston County. It’s time to celebrate the Emerald Isle with annual St. Patrick’s Day events across...

Thrifty Thurston Finds Nature During Fee Free Days at Washington State Parks

  By Douglas Scott The State of Washington is home to some of the most beautiful places in the world, and the majority of them are...
cheap kid birthday party

Thrifty Thurston Digs Up Unique Birthday Gift Ideas

  By Kate Scriven Any parent understands the competing reactions that occur when a birthday party invitation comes home from school or arrives in the mail. The...

Thrifty Thurston Makes a Valentine’s Day Date with the Kids

  By Megan Conklin What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? I unwittingly planned my next eighteen or so Valentine’s Days three years ago when I...

Thrifty Thurston Lists the 2015 Festivals and Major Events around Olympia

  By Kate Scriven Thurston County is a vibrant community who loves to come together and celebrate. From parades and festivals to car shows and boating...
tumwater story time

Thrifty Thurston Gets Entertained and Educated at Library Story Time

  By Megan Conklin My children and I visit various Timberland Regional Public Library branches at least twice a week. We check out an average of 50...
nisqually wildlife refuge

Thrifty Thurston Shares the Love of Nature at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

  By Jean Janes Just shy of the Thurston County line, the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a world of trees, damselflies, and bird song. Seeking...
tenino train depot

Thrifty Thurston Explores Local Museums

  By Sara Johnson When the autumn, and winter, and spring rains are upon us, Thurston County families start seeking out fun things to do indoors....

Thrifty Thurston Travels on 10 Winter Weather Walks

  By Holly Smith Peterson Sometimes you just have to get outdoors during winter in the Pacific Northwest — earmark that mantra to infinity if you...
polar bear plunge

Thrifty Thurston Plunges into 2015 – New Year’s Eve Activities for the Whole Family

  By Alyssa Ramsfield January 1 brings a feeling of renewal to many people. It represents a fresh start with a bright future. But what about the...
ywca winter summit

Winter Break Camps and Activities Throughout Thurston County

  By Alyssa Ramsfield As the schools of Thurston County let out for Winter Break, parents and students are trying to find ways to enjoy every...

Thrifty Thurston Enjoys Free and Fanciful Fun at the Olympia Library BiblioBall

  By Gale Hemmann There’s no denying it: winter’s here. Amidst the chilly weather and many holiday obligations, you may find yourself looking for something fun...
mount ellinor

Thrifty Thurston Climbs Mount Ellinor in the Winter

  By Douglas Scott High above Lake Cushman in Mason County, overlooking the majority of Western Washington, Mount Ellinor is one of Olympic National Forest’s most...
lacey fire santa

Thrifty Thurston Welcomes Santa on a Fire Truck

  By Megan Conklin Perhaps it because they both love the color red. Or maybe it is because they both tend to show up at houses...
olympia holiday concerts

Thrifty Thurston Stays Entertained with Holiday Concerts and Shows

  By Gale Hemmann The holidays are quickly approaching. Social gatherings, Christmas wish lists, baking, and the feat of finding the perfect tree loom ahead in...

Thrifty Thurston Hangs with Hard Working Olympia High School Students at the Annual Bearzaar

  By Sara Hollar, Olympia High School Intern to ThurstonTalk For many Olympia families the Bearzaar is an annual tradition. Every year on the Saturday before...
park olympia

Thrifty Thurston Plays in the Rain with the Kids

  By Megan Conklin I grew up in a world with four seasons. A world where a person might look outside and say, with a note...
hands on children's museum

Thrifty Thurston Checks Out Parent-Tot Classes around Olympia

  By Kate Scriven My two girls are both in school.  All day.  Sometimes I miss them while they are gone, but it makes our time...

Thrifty Thurston Explores the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail

  By Kathryn Millhorn Nature is the best teacher.  American botanist Luther Burbank summed things up by saying “every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs,...
mushroom hunting kids

Thrifty Thurston Goes Mushroom Hunting with Kids

  By Jennifer Crain Examining samples of locally foraged mushrooms just before the South Sound Mushroom Club’s September meeting, I caught a whiff of maple syrup....
olympia haunted house

Thrifty Thurston Gets Scared at Local Haunted Houses and Corn Mazes

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Nothing puts me in a better state of mind for Halloween than an old fashioned fright. Whether it’s a vampire awakening from...
olympia pumpkin patch

Thrifty Thurston Picks a Pumpkin Patch

  By Megan Conklin It’s pumpkin time. We know this because, in addition to the newly falling leaves, glowing harvest moon, and crisp, cool morning air,...

Thrifty Thurston Celebrates Cider Sunday at Tumwater Falls Park

  By Katie Doolittle I am a self-proclaimed history nerd and have been since childhood. I crossed the Oregon Trail (otherwise known as my parents' backyard)...

Thrifty Thurston Welcomes Fall at Lattin’s Cider Mill

  By Megan Conklin Nothing epitomizes fall in Thurston County like a trip to Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm. Without a doubt, the best time...
peppers mexican

Thrifty Thurston Eats Out (On the Cheap) with Kids

  By Megan Conklin As the parents of four small, but decidedly hungry children, my husband and I make the decision to take the family out...
bike riding trails

Thrifty Thurston Rides Bikes With Kids

  By Sara Johnson It took only a handful of minutes for each of our two daughters to learn how to ride the bikes we recently...
salmon migration

Thrifty Thurston Celebrates the Salmon Migration

  By Katie Doolittle “See the salmon here!” The bright letters appear at the 5th Avenue Bridge in downtown Olympia some time in late August or...
priest point park

Thrifty Thurston Organizes Labor Day Weekend Fun

  By Kathryn Millhorn Labor Day is upon us; time for back to school, putting away swimsuits, and dusting off boxes of cute holiday home décor. ...

Thrifty Thurston Attends the 85th Annual Pet Parade

  By Kelli Samson Olympia’s annual Pet Parade is near and dear to my heart. Saying that, you’d think I’ve participated faithfully, but that’s simply not...

Thrifty Thurston Favors Olympic Mountain Ice Cream Flavors

  By Mary Ellen Psaltis The best way to eat Olympic Mountain Ice Cream is any way or anywhere you can – but my favorite way...
olympia birthday gift

Thrifty Thurston Digs the Dirt Works Children’s Garden

  By Lisa Herrick Children love digging in the dirt. They are fascinated by looking for worms and bugs.  They are delighted by watering the garden...

Thrifty Thurston Visits the Thurston County Fair on a Dime

  By Kate Scriven There is something about a county fair that appeals to the “urban-farm girl” persona I’m cultivating on my little plot of land...

Thrifty Thurston Throws Snowballs during Christmas in July at Huntamer Park

  By Kathryn Millhorn As much as we revel in long days, cool evenings, and free vitamin D, sometimes the sunny weather can overdo it a...

Thrifty Thurston Cruises Olympia Area Beaches

  By Kate Scriven With the warming days comes a return to favorite haunts that may not be so inviting during the chilly Pacific Northwest winter. ...
kayak olympia

Thrifty Thurston Splashes into Puget Sound

  By Lisa Herrick Adventures in the water of Puget Sound are plentiful. And there is no better time than the summer to take the kids...
upick farms

Thrifty Thurston Digs 7 U-Pick Farms Near Olympia

  By Katie Doolittle Why do U-pick? When I asked my friends for their perspective, I expected to hear about the practicalities--the break in price point,...
cheap movies olympia

Thrifty Thurston Catches $1 Movies in Olympia

  By Kate Scriven Although our summer has started fairly gray and a bit wet, there are months ahead of us that promise sunshine and warm...
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Thrifty Thurston Recommends Summer Boredom Busters

  By Katie Doolittle The freedom of summer can be both a joy and a curse. This year, I’m trying out a strategy I saw on...
weekend events

Thrifty Thurston Lists 25 Free Things to Do With Kids This Summer in Olympia

  We all know it's coming - the start of summer.  Whether you define it around the school bell schedule or when the weather finally...

Thrifty Thurston Sneaks into Hot Fishing Spots

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Thurston County is a fisherman’s paradise. There are many local lakes to choose from and a variety of fish to catch. With...

Thrifty Thurston Recommends Toddler-Friendly Parks around Olympia

  By Katie Doolittle Fair weather is here once more and with it a chance to exercise and enjoy fresh air. As a parent, I look...
mima mounds

Thrifty Thurston Visits Mima Mounds

  By Eric Wilson-Edge My niece lets out a burp. She smiles and matter-of-factly states, “that’s a sign the tank is full.” Abigail is six and...
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Thrifty Thurston Plants a Children’s Garden

  By Kate Scriven Spring has arrived in Thurston County.  The trees are leafing out, the flowers are blooming, and the pollen is coating the cars...
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Thrifty Thurston Plans a Family-Friendly Visit to Arts Walk and Procession of the Species

  By Gale Hemmann Music. Dance. Kids’ art. Wild animal costumes. Whether you have a toddler, preschooler or elementary schooler (or a combination of the three),...
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Thrifty Thurston Explores Washington State Parks’ Free Days

  By Douglas Scott If you were to find out that you could explore the most beautiful areas of Washington State for free, would you take...
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Thrifty Thurston Explores the Olympia Farmers Market Through a Child’s Eyes

  By Kate Scriven “What do you like best about the Olympia Farmers Market?” I asked local children last week during the opening days of the...
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Thrifty Thurston Lists 2014 Easter Egg Hunts around Olympia

  By Kate Scriven *Editor's Note - you have found our 2014 Easter Egg Hunt list.  Click here to see the 2016 list of local Easter...

Thrifty Thurston Turns Trash into Treasures

  By Mary Ellen Psaltis Looking to drop a few pounds? How about a lot? I don't mean the weight around your waist; I mean the...
procession of the species

Thrifty Thurston Creates at the Procession of the Species Community Art Studio

  By Gale Hemmann Each year, the Procession of the Species Celebration helps mark the passage of winter into spring in Olympia, bringing the streets of...

Thrifty Thurston Finds a Pot of Gold in St. Patricks Day Activities

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Blimey! The calendar pages are turning quickly and we are only days away from one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day!...
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Thrifty Thurston Signs Up for Spring Break Camps

  While the weather still feels decidedly “wintery” outside, spring is not far away.  Daffodils emerge, trees begin to bud, and children have a much...
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Thrifty Thurston Explores Family Friendly Sewing, Craft Classes

  By Laurie O'Brien What better way to bond with your family members – both young and old – or a friend, than learning a usable...

Thrifty Thurston Finds Hidden Gems for Rainy Days at Timberland Library Branches

  By Gale Hemmann From e-books to story time, your local branch of the Timberland Regional Library (TRL) offers endless options for keeping kids entertained on...

Thrifty Thurston Takes the Kids out to Dinner

  Sometimes you just don’t want to cook.  Or maybe you are celebrating a special occasion with a dinner out.  Or, you could just be...
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Thrifty Thurston Explores the Hands On Children’s Museum Free Friday Night

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Thrifty Thurston stories focus on inexpensive family fun around Olympia.  And, it doesn't get any more "thrifty" than Free Friday Night at...
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Thrifty Thurston Browses the Lacey Ethnic Celebration

  By Gale Hemmann Do you enjoy hearing music from around the world, trying new foods, and learning about other cultures? If so, you’ll want to...
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Thrifty Thurston Plans a Cheap Kid Birthday Party

  By Kate Scriven I confess.  I’m a terrible cheapskate.  When I can plan an event for pennies on the dollar I get positively giddy.  My...

Thrifty Thurston Celebrates Lunar New Year

  By Lisa Herrick Lunar New Year is a significant, annual festival for many Asian cultures, celebrated with festivities, parades, food, dragon dances and more.  If...
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Thrifty Thurston Cures the Rainy Day Blues

  By Kate Scriven Winter is here and while we’ve had a relatively dry start, it's clear the rain has settled in.  And with it, inevitably...
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Thrifty Thurston Highlights 2013 Articles about Inexpensive Family Fun around Olympia

  Devoted Thrifty Thurston readers know that every Thursday ThurstonTalk publishes an article about inexpensive family fun.  Sometimes the stories are seasonal (think: Easter Egg...

Thrifty Thurston Celebrates New Years Eve (Family Style)

  By Kate Scriven For full disclosure, I must say that the marking of one year passing to the next has never been my favorite.  The...

Thrifty Thurston Crafts with Gift Wrap

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Along with the joy of Christmas morning comes what we like to call at our house “The Mountain.” This pile in the...
olympia toy shopping

Thrifty Thurston Shops for Toys Across Thurston County

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Lines, crowds, and blaring holiday music plague holiday shopping at the big box stores this time of year. The stress of finding...
olympia christmas lights

Thrifty Thurston Visits Shelton’s Christmas Wonderland

  By Eric Wilson-Edge As a kid I always wanted my parents to decorate our house with thousands of lights. They never did.  Our house had...

Thrifty Thurston Finds Santa in Olympia

  By Kate Scriven Traditions abound this time of year and the annual photo with Santa is on many family’s “must do” lists.  My most favorite...
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Thrifty Thurston Creates a Cookie Decorating Party

  By Katie Hurley Holiday gatherings, whether for Easter, Hanukkah, Christmas or Independence Day, are often accompanied by creatively decorated cookies in the colors and flavors...
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Thrifty Thurston Entertains Kids Indoors

  Loyal fans know that our Thrifty Thurston stories center on inexpensive family fun around Olympia.  On Thursday mornings, readers tune in for the latest...

Thrifty Thurston – A Rare Glimpse of Nature at the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail

  By Eric Wilson-Edge I won’t profess to love or hate nature. If I’m being honest I’d say I’m indifferent. I don’t mean to be –...
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Thrifty Thurston Visits Olympia Area Museums

  By Kate Scriven The seasons have changed and with the shift in temperatures comes a alteration in activities we plan for our families.  From beach...

Thrifty Thurston Trick-or-Treats Around Olympia

  My kids have a mouthful of metal right now.  It's a dentist's dream.  No caramels or chewy candies will pass their lips.  I fear...
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Thrifty Thurston Find Halloween Haunts, Activities for Olympia Teens

  By Marti Schodt Growing up my best friend Kate had a Halloween party every year. This started when we were five years old and continued...
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Thrifty Thurston Hunts For Costumes For A Cent

  By Kathryn Millhorn Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because whether rich or poor, there’s always fun to be had.  And while I may...
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Thrifty Thurston Celebrates Harvest Activities

  By Jennifer Crain I don’t like to outfit the porch with pumpkins too early in the season. But there are still plenty of ways to...
olympia pumpkin patch

Thrifty Thurston Visits Olympia Pumpkin Patches

  By Kate Scriven As soon as the calendar passes from September to October, thoughts turn from visits to the fair and one last weekend on...

Thrifty Thurston Hits Up The Nisqually Watershed Festival

  By Stacy Fisher The Nisqually Refuge is once again celebrating the change of the seasons and offering a chance for families to come in explore...

Thrifty Thurston Cycles Lacey Bike Trails

  By Taryn Kama It’s not too late to achieve your family's fitness goals. If you love exercising outdoors, one way is to jump on your...
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Thrifty Thurston Heads Into A GeoChallenge

    By Kathryn Millhorn Treasure hunting can take various forms in our pirate-free age.  Whether it’s sea glass at the shore, found objects on nature hikes,...
salmon migration

Thrifty Thurston Captures Salmon Migration

  By Kathryn Millhorn I’m the cheapest person I know.  Heck, I’m probably the cheapest person YOU know.  If I won the lottery today, I’d still...

Thrifty Thurston Digs Sand In The City

  By Amy Rowley It’s the ultimate in thrifty family fun.  The largest beach party happens in downtown Olympia this weekend.  The three day celebration supports...
olympia kid hike

Thrifty Thurston Walks Nature Trails – Kid, Dog Friendly Hikes Around Olympia

  By Stacy Fisher This is one of the most beautiful summers that I can remember, and we are shockingly, less than a month away from...
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Thrifty Thurston Explores Olympic National Park’s Staircase Hike – Rain Or Shine

  By Charlene Rubinstein Staircase has always intrigued me.  When we first arrived in Olympia four years ago my friend, also an outdoor enthusiast suggested we...
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Thrifty Thurston Checks Out Stream Team’s Marine Creature Mondays At Boston Harbor Marina

  By Kate Scriven A trip to the beach is a summer must.  And for my kids, visits to the Boston Harbor Marina are on a...
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Thrifty Thurston Enjoys Outdoor Movies All Summer Long

  By Kate Scriven One of my favorite things about summer is the warm nights.  The luxury of being outside as the sun sets and darkness...
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Thrifty Thurston Goes Swimming Around Olympia

  By Kate Scriven It’s hot.  I’m melting.  Yes, I’m a wimp, but I suspect I am not unlike a lot of Western Washingtonians who really...
woodard bay

Thrifty Thurston Finds A Salmonberry Bonanza, Forest Hike in Woodard Bay

  By Charlene Rubinstein To celebrate my son's final day of school we grabbed a friend and headed to Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area.  It's...
timberland library

Thrifty Thurston ‘Digs Into Reading’ At Timberland Library

  By Kathryn Millhorn Like summer itself, Timberland Regional Library’s “Summer at the Library” program is almost here at last!  Featuring activities, prizes, events, and books...

Thrifty Thurston Beats Summer Heat With $1 Movies

  By Kate Scriven The last day of school is today.  I must admit, I’m ready.  The last weeks of school almost put me over the...
taylor shellfish

Thrifty Thurston Tours Taylor Shellfish Farms

  By Amy Rowley Another parent chaperone on the field trip turned to me and said, “I don’t think these kids realize how cool this experience...
olympia beaches

Thrifty Thurston Explores With The South Sound Estuary Association’s Beach Naturalists

  By Kate Scriven One of the unique and wonderful things about living in Thurston County is our miles of shoreline at the southernmost end of...
nisqually wildlife refuge

Thrifty Thurston Travels Through Nisqually Wildlife Refuge’s Junior Refuge Manager Training Program

  By Stacy Fisher I am a mother of two very loud boys, who are often told to use their “inside voices” and “keep it down."...
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Thrifty Thurston Swings Into Summer At Olympia Parks

  By Brooke Guthrie If you have children who like to spend the summer on the swings, Olympia parks do not disappoint. To help mom stretch...
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Thrifty Thurston Finds Summer Camps Around Olympia And Thurston County

  By Kate Scriven May is so busy for those of us with school aged children.  With spring sports in full swing, special projects culminating at...

Thrifty Thurston Treats Olympia Moms On Mother’s Day

  By Amy Rowley Maybe it works differently in other households, but I kind of doubt it.  Mother's Day annually sneaks up on my husband.  He...
washington state parks

Thrifty Thurston Explores Washington State Parks On Free State Park Day

  By Tom Rohrer One of the perks of living in Washington is the wide and diverse array of wilderness and the scenery associated with it. ...
olympic cards and comics

Thrifty Thurston Snaps Up Free Comic Books On May 4

  By Laurie O'Brien Dig out your favorite super hero costume and mark your calendar for Saturday, May 4.  That is the day Olympic Cards and...
capitol state forest map

Thrifty Thurston Checks Out The Updated Capitol State Forest Map

  By Jennifer Crain In early April, the prairie at Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve is eerie and bare, not unlike a scene from A Wizard...