BE CURIOUS. offers a free-admission “Sensory Time” program from 9 to 11 a.m. INFO: Open daily except Monday. $12, younger than 12 months free; half-price every Thursday, 3–5 p.m.; free admission every third Friday, 5:30–9 p.m. imaginecm.org
Curiosity emerges at PacSci’s Tropical Butterfly House. New butterflies taking flight every week.
4. Kids Discovery Museum, Bainbridge Island Location, location. Just a short walk from the Winslow Ferry Terminal on Bainbridge Island, the small but awesome Kids Discovery Museum (KiDiMu) works well as part of a day trip to the island. Kids always love the pirate tree house, the huge light wall and the electric car. Older kids will be drawn to the second floor’s “Motion Madness” exhibit.
NEARBY BONUS: Bainbridge brims with nature and cultural fun, from the always-free Bainbridge Island Art Museum (next door to KiDiMu) to the lovely, wild Bloedel Reserve. INFO: Open Tuesday–Sunday. $7–$8, younger than 12 months free; free every first Thursday. kidimu.org
5. Children’s Museum of Tacoma The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is a small museum with a big draw: It offers pay-what-you-wish admission, which means that you can stop by for an hour without worrying about whether you’ve gotten your money’s worth. The museum is built around four playscapes (Woods, Water, Invention and Voyager), and favorite activities include the wood-cabin tunnel, water table, marine vessel with tower, air pipes, lit Lego table and art studio (called Becka’s Studio). NEARBY BONUS: The Children’s Museum of Tacoma partners with Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) on a program in which families can create an art project and then visit TAM for free. INFO: Open daily, except Monday, when only members are admitted. Admission is pay what you wish. playtacoma.org
Set Sail for High Adventure
6. Hands On Children’s Museum, Olympia My son’s eyes still light up whenever I mention “that museum in Olympia.” At 28,000 square feet, it really does seem to have it all: an “emergency” area with fire truck, helicopter and cop car; a tugboat; a climber/slide to the third floor; a scream room, where kids can measure their decibels; and a maker space. Step outside and you’ll find another half-acre of creative fun, including a driftwood building area and a trike track. GOOD TO KNOW: Hands On has a small but good café on site. The free-admission WET Science Center (designed for older kids) is across the street. INFO: Open daily. $11.95–$13.95, ages younger than 2 free (ticket still required); free every first Friday, 5–9 p.m. Hands On Children’s parentmap.com • Family Adventure Guide • 13