We’ve officially lived in Washington state for two years now! I can’t believe it’s already been so long since we said good-bye to our home in France. While I still feel like we’re getting settled in at times, I guess we really are “home” for now.
Washington is a great state to explore and has a ton to offer to families. There are plenty of hikes, mountains, lots of coastline, tulip fields, and even a big city -all within a few hours of each other.
We happen to live in the capital of Washington, where there’s also a surprisingly good amount of things to do as a family. To celebrate our two years of living in the area, here are some of our favorite things to do in Olympia, Washington with kids:
Hands On Children’s Museum
This is seriously the best childrens’ museum we’ve ever been to. It has a ton to explore and often has different events going on different times of the year. They even offer different week-long summer and winter camps if you’re in the area.
The museum is divided into multiple sections: there’s a pretend farm that children can play in that leads into a grocery store and restaurant, a section dedicated to the Puget Sound where children can construct little wooden boats to float on a water table, a section just for kids 4 and under, and so much more! The outside area is fantastic as well and offers bicycles to ride on, a garden to care for, and a little nature cabin.
The museum is open 7 days a week and ticket prices can be found here.
Captain Little toy store
We love visiting little local toy stores and Captain Little never disappoints! They have tons of whimsical toys from around the world, along with plenty of STEM-worthy kits and beautiful art supplies. Many of the toys are made out of either wood or cloth and very little (if any) require batteries. They also have a great children’s book section!
Captain Little is located in Downtown Olympia, which has a very eclectic feel to it.
Captain Little also hosts different events throughout the year (my girls have written letters to Santa- and have gotten a response, along with making valentines and attending a “block party” with plenty of block-inspired toys to try out).
It’s definitely a great place to check out!
The Capitol itself is a gorgeous building with beautiful grounds around it. Even if you have no intention to go inside, it’s still a great place to go for a walk. I personally love going in the spring when there are beautiful cherry blossoms and blooming magnolias to enjoy.
If you do venture inside, there are daily free 50 minute guided tours that you can take. The inside is just as pretty as the outside and we enjoyed learning about the history behind it. Our girls did great (we used to take them to visit chateaux all the time though), but there’s also a fun little gift store at the end if any little ones need a bit of motivation. 😉
The Farmers Market
I love going to the Olympia Farmers Market! They’re open year round, although days vary depending on the season.
Not only can you buy plenty of fresh veggies and fruit (we love the variety of apples!), but there are also a couple of local bakeries, shellfish farmers, and cheese makers to check out. There are also a few different vendors and several places to buy lunch. We love grabbing a bite to eat and then sitting down by the stage to check out whichever local musician is playing that day.
Sometimes we’ll end our visit with an ice cream (if it’s warm enough outside) or a balloon animal from the balloon guy.
If the weather is exceptionally nice, we’ll go for a walk across the parking lot to Percival Landing and have fun admiring all of the boats on the Puget Sound before ending at a playground (about a 10 minute walk).
Nisqually Nature Reserve
Nisqually Nature Reserve is an excellent place to go for a nature walk all year long. There are two main trails– One is a one mile loop that takes you pass the Twin Barns (a great place to stop for a break or a picnic) and the other is a 1.5 mile trail that starts at the barns and continues over a boardwalk through the wetlands. Both are beautiful!
We’ve gone in the winter and have seen bald eagles soaring above us. In the fall (my personal favorite time of year), the leaves turn a beautiful golden color. Our kids have gone on field trips here in the Spring and have seen tons of baby ducks. In the summer, the whole reserve is full of birds singing. We’ve seen deer on multiple occasions. It’s a wonderful place to get out and enjoy the beautiful nature in the area!
Curious to see what a typical Saturday can look like for us- click here to see. Do you live in or near Olympia- What are you favorite things to do with kids in the area?