Organize a trip to the Working Waterfront Maritime Museum, and you’ll be the hero of your playgroup. It’s got tons of things even little kids can touch, but plenty of cool things to interest older kids as well. Admission is reasonable, and you’re likely to have the whole place to yourself!
Just wear your coat. Why? The museum is right on the water in an historic warehouse space, and it’s a little chilly. We were fine during a November visit, and you will be, too; just wear some layers.
The Working Waterfront Maritime Museum is part of the Foss Waterway Seaport, and it tells the maritime history of the Tacoma area as well as plenty about all things boat. Your kids may want to check out the exhibits, which include examples of every kind of watercraft imaginable, but I’m guessing they’ll head straight for Discovery Wharf.
Discovery Wharf is a classroom sized space full of hands-on exhibits. The highlight for Henry was The Faith, a retrofitted gill netter that kids can climb all over (after they put on required life jackets-love it). Henry had an absolute blast pretending to fish, battle pirates, and generally swaggering about the high seas. In addition to The Faith, there is a play area where kids can push around wooden ships and load them with cargo. Older kids will be interested in the exhibits about sea stars, and most all of your gang will enjoy making a wooden boat. We were literally the only people there last Friday, and it’s the first museum visit we’ve done where I was ready to leave before my little guy. He was so content in the play area that I actually walked around and read the exhibits. I can’t tell you when the last time was I actually got to read something on one of these expeditions. What a thrill.
If you raced through the lobby on your way in, you’ll want to stop on the way out to watch one of the interesting films about the Foss Waterway and the pioneering, Thea Foss. Your kids will also want to steer the giant ship’s wheel (cute photo alert).
Admission for adults is 6.00, and it’s just 3.00 for children.
Now, I know you’ve promised to wait until it’s a tad warmer. I also want you to call before you go just to make sure there aren’t any field trips coming through. This isn’t really field trip time of year, but give a quick to call to check because when groups are scheduled they sometimes close the Discovery Wharf to the public, and that really will be the highlight of your trip.
After the museum you can walk along the waterway and check out the ship traffic, which is a fun outing all by itself. If there is one thing I love more than cheap fun, it’s twice the cheap fun! Do keep hold of little ones, of course. I threatened Henry with everything I could think of because this is Not the time of year I want to take a dip in the sound.