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

weekend events
Take advantage of a coupon (Wednesday) or a unlimited rides with a wristband (Thursday) so that your thrill-seekers can enjoy even more Lakefair rides.


Capitol City Honda sponsorWe all know it’s coming – the start of summer.  Whether you define it around the school bell schedule or when the weather finally shifts to a pattern of consistent sunshine in the forecast, the opportunity to play outside and enjoy Olympia’s waterfront, parks, and events is coming.  No longer will you have to remember to pack a rain coat or prepare an extra set of clothes to accommodate wet playground equipment.

Here is our list of 25 free things to do with kids this summer in Olympia.  How many can you check off?

  1. Dance to Music in the Park in downtown Olympia and Lacey in Tune concerts.
  2. Mark off your spot to enjoy a parade.  Capital City Pride is family friendly and floats through Olympia on June 22.
  3. Climb the tower at the Port Plaza and see what action is happening on Olympia’s waterways.  Is there a cargo ship in Port?
  4. Ride Intercity Transit’s free DASH bus between the Capitol campus and the Olympia Farmers Market.  It’s an adventure as entertaining as the destination.
  5. Watch gorgeous fireworks display in Lacey and Boston Harbor on July 3.  Find complete fireworks information here.
  6. Jump into the Hands On Children’s Museum for Free Friday Night on the first Friday of each month.
  7. Walk the boardwalk at Percival Landing.  Look at the boats in the marina.  Swing at the Percival Landing park. View the art in the Percival Plinth Project.
  8. Catch a free outdoor movie at Huntamer Park in Lacey.  The movies begin at dusk on Saturdays from July 12 – August 9.
  9. Celebrate an Olympia tradition at Capital Lake during Lakefair between July 16 – 20.
  10. Visit a new park.  No Discover Pass is required to access Washington State Parks on June 7 -8, June 14, and August 25.
  11. Delight your children with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra playing outside on the Capitol Campus on July 27.
  12. Scoot along a nature trail near Olympia.  The tree cover is delightful when the weather is warm.
  13. Journey through the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and send your kids off to earn their Junior Refuge Manager badge.
  14. Dip your toes in cool water at Long Lake Park.  Find more swimming holes here.
  15. Walk a Thurston County beach with a Beach Naturalist.  Ask the educators any question about what you find on the beach.
  16. Cool down in the stream at the East Bay Public Plaza.  Learn about reclaimed water and the impact on Puget Sound.  Walk next door and extend your learning at LOTT’s WET Science Center.  The free educational facility has loads of hands-on learning activities.
  17. Put a costume on your pet and circle Olympia during the annual Pet Parade on August 16.
  18. Build a massive sandcastle during Sand in the City at the Hands On Children’s Museum from August 23 and 24.
  19. Celebrate the end of summer with Olympia’s Harbor Days during Labor Day weekend.
  20. Explore Mima Mounds and try to answer the question about how they were formed.
  21. Watch the salmon migrate through downtown Olympia in late summer.
  22. Capture a breathtaking image of Tumwater Falls as the water cascades down.
  23. Discover a beach haven at Frye Cove Park on the Steamboat Island peninsula.
  24. Swap a book at a Little Free Library.  Visit one in a different neighborhood.
  25. Go on a picnic.  Skip the traditional lunch picnic and opt for a camping breakfast or a stargazing dinner.

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.


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