Thrifty Thurston Plans An Olympia Staycation

Look into a family pass to swim at either South Sound YMCA pool.


By Jennifer Crain

Puget Sound EnergyIf 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:

A visit to Boston Harbor is a great family activity. Rent kayaks or enjoy a warm drink on the patio.

Airport Golf Center (Indoor Batting Cages)

8080 Center Street SW,Tumwater

(360) 786-8626

10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily.

Boston Harbor Marina

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

(360) 357-5670

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

The McLane Creek Nature Trail is a flat trail, suitable for kids.

Chehalis Western Trail

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.

McLane Creek Nature Trail

A serene one-mile loop that’s perfect for young kids. Discover Pass required.

Mission Creek Nature Park

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.

Kids are naturally attracted to the bouldering and rock climbing walls at the Warehosue Rock Gym.

Tumwater Lanes

204 T Street SW, Tumwater

(360) 943-1672

Call for specific daily hours.  Closed Mondays.

Aztec Lanes

2825 Martin Way E, Olympia
(360) 357.8808

Warehouse Rock Gym

315 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia

(360) 596-9255

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.

South Sound YMCA Swimming Pools

Family swim passes for non-members are available for $10.00 per family.

Contact individual branches for open swim times.

Look into a family pass to swim at either South Sound YMCA pool.

Downtown Branch

510 Franklin St. SE, Olympia
(360) 357-6609

Briggs Community Branch

1530 Yelm Hwy. SE, Olympia
(360) 753-6576 

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.

Hands On Children’s Museum

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. 

Procession of the Species Community Art Studio

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

Drinking from the source: it’s never too cold for fresh-pressed Lattin’s apple cider. Photo by Jennifer Crain.

Jumping Jacks

422 Carpenter Rd. SE, Suite 101, Lacey

(360) 413-5867

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.

Lattin’s Cider Mill

9402 Rich Rd. SE, Olympia
(360) 491-7328
Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Closed Sundays (January 1st through May 31st).

Painted Plate

412 Washington St. SE, Olympia

(360) 705-2103

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.

Take the kids to Lattin’s Cider Mill for a dose of barnyard fun. Photo by Jennifer Crain.

Piper’s Playground

818 79th Ave., Unit A, Olympia

(360) 584-9886

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.

WET Science Center

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

(360) 664-2333

Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The WET Science Center features state-of-the art displays where kids can learn about water and the water system. Photo courtesy of the WET Science Center.

Tour the State Legislative Building

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

(360) 902-8880

Weekdays, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Weekends, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Washington State Capital Museum

211 SW 21st Avenue, Olympia
(360) 753-2580

Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and by special appointment.

Kids enjoy visiting the Capitol Campus in downtown Olympia.

Olympic Flight Museum

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.

Lacey Museum

829 Lacey St. SE, Lacey

(360) 438-0209

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

Squaxin Island Museum, Library & Research Center

150 SE K’wuh-deegs-altxw, Shelton

(360) 432-3841

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email