Capitol Business MachinesWarmer temperatures are upon us and when school is out, I sometimes hear these three little words, “Mom, I’m bored.” Whether you have lived in Olympia all your life, or you are new to the area, let these parent-tested ideas fill your summer days. This year’s summer bucket list has options for all ages, with or without kids, and won’t break your pocket book.

  1. Take a tour of the State Capitol Building everyday until 3:00 p.m. and stroll around the campus while you’re there to see the various works of art.
  2. Stop in to Kipert’s Garage, located at Kipert’s Korner Feed to learn how life used to be in this free museum created by owner Craig Kinnaman.
  3. Plan a visit to Wolf Haven International, just South of Tumwater off Old Highway 99. Reservations are required for tours.
  4. Spend the day in Tenino visiting the Depot Museum, Quarry Swimming Pool, and City Park.
  5. Go swimming at Kennydell Park in Tumwater on Black Lake or Long Lake in                Lacey, both great swimming holes for families.
  6. Hunt for baby crabs under the rocks or other treasures at any one of the many saltwater parks in the area, like Priest Point, Burfoot, or Tolmie State Park, where you will need a Discover Pass.
  7. Stroll along the docks at Percival Landing to view the many boats and beautiful artwork complete with a walking guide on your phone.
  8. Cool off in the Heritage Park Fountain, located right in downtown where you are encouraged to run through the shooting water patterns.
  9. Wade in the East Bay Public Plaza man-made stream, which is shallow and perfect for the young kiddos.
  10. Learn all about how you use water and what happens when you flush the toilet at the WET Science Center.
  11. Come play inside the Hands On Children’s Museum with the many different              interactive science exhibits.  Check out the museum’s special Summer Splash! series of events.
  12. Step back in time with a tour at one of the area’s historical homes turned museums, The Bigelow House, Schmidt Mansion or The Crosby House in Tumwater.
  13. Take a bike ride on the Chehalis Western Trail.
  14. View the majestic waterfalls at historic Tumwater Falls Park and be sure to venture down to the observation deck to take in the spray from the water.
  15. Explore the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge open every Wednesday through Sunday except major holidays.
  16. Visit a beach naturalist at one of five local beaches and learn more about the ecosystem in Thurston County.
  17. Hunt for treasures you didn’t even know you needed at the Olympia Flea Market or Courtyard Antique Mall.
  18. Share with your kids a favorite past time from your childhood like bowling at Aztec Lanes or roller skating at Skateland.
  19. Become an animal lover and try some delicious pastries or other goodies at Lattin’s Cider Mill and Farm.
  20. Clean out the house and donate your unwanted clothing and household items at the Olympia Goodwill so they can be reused by someone else.
  21. Show your patriotism at the Tumwater 4th of July parade, a yearly tradition for more than 25 years.
  22. Listen to the music at one of the Lacey in Tune Summer Concerts in the Park.
  23. Let someone else do the breakfast cooking at one of the area’s great spots to chow down, such as O’Blarney’s Irish Pub, Budd Bay Cafe, or The Brick on Trosper.
  24. Play some Pokemon Go along Capitol Lake while also learning about the ecosystems of the area and getting some exercise.
  25. Have some fun at the Thurston County Fair complete with a carnival, art exhibits, farm animals, and many vendors.
  26. Search for the elusive beaver and take an easy hike at the McLane Creek Nature Trail, while admiring the beautiful scenery.
  27. Tour the Tugboat Sand Man. Located at Percival Landing, the Tugboat Sand Man is Olympia’s only floating museum. Tours are Free every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

No matter what you do, just take the time to explore Thurston County, the great place we are lucky enough to call home. As you can see, there are plenty of options and there is no reason to be bored.

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, Lacey, Tumwater and the surrounding area, visit our complete event calendar.

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