A quick welcome to readers from The Coupon Project. I’m not a frugal blogger, but I can help you save money on family fun if you live in the South Puget Sound.
With summer here, I know many of you are planning vacations-or wishing you could afford one. With that in mind, in the coming weeks I plan on doing a few posts on day trips that will take you out of the usual SFM territory without breaking the bank. Think of them as daycations, if you want.
Don’t worry: If your budget can’t handle an extra tank of gas, I’ll continue to post local, South Sound fun daily.
My first idea takes you to the other-worldy landscape of the Mima Mounds, an odd area with weirdly symetrical mounds as far as the eye can see. It’s also one of the last areas of prairie left in the state. Mima Mounds is actually a generic term for these formations-there are a handful of similar places scattered around the country. Right now, the mounds are covered with grass and wildflowers, and you’ll see butterflies flitting about too.
There are easy, flat trails that lead around the mounds, as well as a small center (station?) that explains some of the theories about their formation. Theories have ranged from gophers to permafrost to native burial mounds. Part of the fun of a visit is that there still isn’t a firm consensus. See what your kids vote for.
A small brochure tells you about some of the wildflowers you’ll see, and you can head out to a viewing tower if you want
To get there, you exit I-5 at Littlerock just past Olympia. It took us about an hour from Puyallup on the way down and much longer on the way back due to the always slow traffic between Olympia and Lacey (Why does everyone stop there? I don’t know!!).
It’s a state DNR property, so you’ll need a new Discover Pass.
A couple words of warning: There is a large sportsman’s club nearby, so while you’re walking, you’ll hear gunfire. You’re not in any danger; it’s just odd. After a while, it sort of fades in the background, but if your kids are freaked out on the 4th of July, this isn’t the outing for them.
Also, keep in mind you’re in open prarie, so on a sunny day you’ll get hot fast. Wear your sunscreen or channel your inner Laura Ingalls and sport a bonnet.
If the mounds don’t fill your afternoon, you’re right by Capitol Forest and just down the street from Millersylvania Park. You could also detour to Wolf Haven (not a bargain but a unique family outing worth considering- there is a howl-in coming up) or any number of fun family stops in Olympia.
If you go to the mounds, make sure to slow your speed as you go through Littlerock, and follow the signs that say Mima Mounds NAP. You’ll see signage going the opposite way for Mima Falls, which is a short hike in the forest, but not one that will go to the mounds.
Photo by Patrick Rodriguez Used under a creative commons agreement
My boys were looking super cute on this hike with their junior ranger hats, but my camera wasn’t charged. I so need an assistant.
Have you got a unique idea for a day trip? Let me know!
If you’re new here, I write just about events and ideas for our area, and I have new ones every day! If you enjoy this post, I hope you’ll also explore the site a bit, scroll down for some fun tips from earlier this week, or maybe check out my weekly list for an idea of what you’ll find here. I’d also love to have you connect with us on Facebook or subscribe to my feed or reader with one of those handy buttons in the top right.