Thrifty Thurston – The Scoop For Parents About Sand In The City



Capitol City Honda sponsorSand in the City, the community’s largest beach party, hits downtown Olympia this weekend.  And, with a price tag of FREE, it’s a perfect way to entertain the kids.

Shovels start digging on Friday at 10:00 am and continue throughout the weekend until Sunday at 5:00 pm.  Read more about the competitive sand sculpting contest here.  This post, however, will focus on a parent’s guide to Sand in the City.

This year, Sand in the City moves to a new location – the front yard of the New Hands On Children’s Museum.  The physical location is 414 Jefferson Street NE but popular landmarks such as LOTT’s WET Science Center and the new East Bay Public Plaza (plus lots of signage) will help guide you to the right place.

Or, just listen for the kids squealing with laughter and you know you have found Sand in the City!

Here is a run-down on “what not to miss.”

Addie Rocchio, Volunteer Coordinator for the Hands On Children’s Museum, is promising another year of jam-packed, kid-friendly fun at Sand in the City.

“I am excited about celebrating the Museum’s 25th birthday.  Our crafts and activities are centered around this milestone,” says Rocchio with enthusiasm.

One art project involves kids making embossed magnets with metal art foil, which is a unique art material that might be new for kids to work with. The seashell image celebrates the Museum’s silver anniversary.

This year, the Global Village teaches kids about cultural traditions, around the world, for celebrating birthdays.

“In South Africa, when children reach a certain age, they receive a key – symbolic of ‘unlocking your future,’” says Rocchio.

One art project happening at Sand in the City this weekend is an embossed seashell magnet.

In the Global Village, kids will make key wind chimes.  “The project is brightly colored and includes the re-use of materials, such as straws, buttons and keys,”  describes Rocchio.  “Kids are going to love looking at them as much as listening to them.”

At the Art Studio, children will be making projects to be installed at the New Museum.  The shrinky-dink style art work resembles Chihuly glass sculptures.  “It’s another interesting re-use of materials,” notes Rocchio.  “We are all familiar with to-go containers that are made out of #6 plastic.  This is the same plastic as used in shrinky-dink, so even though the finished product is staying at the Museum, families will be able to replicate the project at home.”

If you prefer to visit the event without the mass crowds, pick Sunday morning.  But, the Museum cautions that by moving the event to a new location, they are a little unsure of how traffic patterns may change.

Saturday evening, after dinner, is also traditionally a more mellow time and a great way to end your day.

All ages are welcome at Sand in the City.  Two giant sandboxes are open for digging, scooping, and creating.  Even the youngest children have a special spot at Sand in the City.  The Tot Spot is a respite for the toddler crowd, in a choice location a little bit away from all the action.

“My kids always love the craft stands the most, but the gigantic sandbox is a favorite destination as well.  It’s such a fun atmosphere you can just while the afternoon away scooping sand and people watching,” says mom of three, Kat Hansen.

Along with the Museum, community organizations also pile on the kids activities.  Each booth, staffed by a community partner, will be organizing free activities.

It takes many hands to make Sand in the City successful.  Specifically, 368 volunteers served at the event last year, in fun, high-energy roles. Rocchio indicates that children over the age of eleven can volunteer with their parent.  “Volunteering, as a family, is a great way to experience Sand in the City,” adds Rocchio.

Above all, it’s important to note that while Sand in the City is a free, community event, all proceeds return directly to support the Museum’s Free & Reduced Admission Programs.

The Museum serves over 75,000 children and their families each year through Free & Reduced Admission Programs, allowing families throughout Puget Sound access to quality, hands-on learning, regardless of their ability to pay.

So, that $5 that you slipped into the voting booths to select your favorite sand sculpture just made a big impact in another family’s life.

For a complete list of events and entertainment across the three day beach party, click here.  Avoid traffic congestion and ride Intercity Transit’s free Dash shuttle.  Click here for specific event information.

Thanks to the Hands On Children’s Museum for the photos.

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  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email