Find adventures nearby during kids' spring break

March 20, 2011 

Spring break is just around the corner for South Sound schools. And even if your family isn't heading to a tropical destination, that doesn't mean your week can't be filled with adventure.

Here are some ideas for families who are taking a “staycation” this year.

1. Watch dozens of sharks and fish devour treats and discover what sea stars and sea urchins feel like during the Spring Break Tropical Party at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma. Activities will be from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., March 26 and 27, and are included with admission, which ranges from $7.75 to $13.75 a person. For more information, call 253-591-5337 or go to

2. Attend the Olympia Youth Chorus’s Cherish the Earth concert at 7 p.m., March 26 at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. S.E., Olympia. The concert will feature choral music with texts from the Navajo, Cherokee and Pacific Northwest tribes. Tickets are $7.50-$19.50, plus a $2.50 service fee. For more information, call 360-753-8586 or go to

3. Join people around the globe in turning off the lights from 8:30-9:30 p.m. March 26 to commemorate Earth Hour, a worldwide display to raise awareness of sustainability issues. Once the hour is over, participants are asked to think of ways they can change their lives to benefit the planet. For more information, go to

4. This is no April Fool’s joke: Free museum admission. You can visit the South Sound’s children’s museums on April 1 for free, as part of the First Fridays effort. Here are the details:

 • Children’s Museum of Tacoma, 936 Broadway Ave. Tacoma, free admission between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., April 1, 253-627-6031 www. childrensmuseumoftacoma. org.

 • Hands On Children’s Museum, 106 11th Ave. S.W., Olympia, free admission between 5 and 9 p.m., April 1, 360-956-0818, www.hocm. org.

5. Several Seattle-area museums offer free admission during certain hours on the first Thursday of every month. Here are a couple that kids will love:

 • Museum of Flight, 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, free admission between 5 and 9 p.m., April 7, 206-764-5720,

 • Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum, 325 Fifth Ave. N., Seattle, free admission between 5 and 8 p.m., April 7, 206-770-2700,

7. Bouncy houses, face painting and kid-friendly entertainment are just a few of the activities at Whirligig, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., April 8-24, at the Seattle Center House, 305 Harrison St., Seattle. The annual carnival is designed for ages 12 and younger. There’s even a Toddler Zone. Ride tickets are $1.50 each or $7.50 for an all-day pass. Rides are free on Thursdays. For those who want to avoid crowds, organizers recommend going Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. For more information, call 206-684-7200 or go to www.seattle

8. The Spring Funtastic Carnival, one of the South Sound’s favorite spring break traditions, runs April 1-10 at South Sound Center, at Sleater-Kinney Road S.E. and Pacific Ave. S.E., Lacey. Hours vary and are weather-dependent, but the rides usually open in the early afternoon and run until about 10 p.m. For more information, call 360-491-6850 or go to

9. The Spring Fair runs April 14-17 at the Puyallup Fair & Events Center, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup. This year’s fair will feature a monster-truck show, a slamfest derby, a Fiesta Mexicana, a Northwest Junior Rodeo and tons of free family activities. And don’t forget to save your appetite for scones and other food. Hours vary. Admission ranges from $7-$9; it’s free for kids 5 and younger. Free admission will be offered for all active duty, retired and reserve military members and their dependents, as well as disabled veterans with valid military identification, on April 15. For more information, including other discounts, go to

Lisa Pemberton covers education for The Olympian. She’s also one busy mama with three children, ages 3, 6 and 10. Reach her at 360-754-5433 or

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