Olympia, the capital of Washington State, has a number of family-friendly attractions, including a flight museum, wolf reserve and hiking trails. You can plenty to do with spending any money. Here are six things to do that are free in Olympia.
The nearby Olympia Peninsula also has a number of free activities for a budget family vacation.
1. Watch the annual Procession of the Species Parade. Starting at 4:30 p.m., watch the parade of people (especially families) celebrating nature in the community in what is now Puget Sound’s largest Earth Day event. Part of Olympia’s annual Spring Arts Walk every April.
2. Tour the Washington State Capitol. During this educational tour of the magnificent state capitol building, built in 1928, kids can learn history and find out how Washington State government operates. Guided tours may include the Rotunda, offices of elected officials, State Reception Room and Public Galleries to view the House of Representatives and the Senate Chambers.
3. Play in Heritage Park Fountain (summers). Kids (and their adults) can frolic through 47 dancing water spouts, which spring up in random patterns.
4. Visit Percival Landing Waterfront Park, Boardwalk. Climb up Percival Landing Observation Tower to watch the working waterfront or stroll along the boardwalk bordering Budd Inlet. During the summer, there’s a farmers’ market that sells locally-grown produce and hand-crafted items and offers free entertainment.
5. Stop at Priest Point Park. There’s a sailing ship-inspired playground and kids can search for “buried treasure” on the saltwater shoreline of this 314-acre, forested park. It includes panoramic water views, hiking trails and picnicking areas.
6. See Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve. This 625-acre prairie has mysterious mounds up to six feet high and 30 feet in diameter. Theories on the mounds’ origin range from ancient Ice Age glaciers to large, burrowing animals. The area is known for its bird-watching, with more than 20 species of ground-nesting birds, and three miles of hiking trails.