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Inside Look: Exploring the Children’s Museum of Tacoma with Kids

Inside Look: Exploring the Children’s Museum of Tacoma with Kids

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Do your kids love museums? Check out the Children’s Museum of Tacoma! My kids loved it there, and this blog will tell you all about it!
This post about Arc de Triomphe Exploration Guide was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

I really love children’s museums. Maybe even more than my 3-year-old. I really appreciate places that dedicate themselves to providing kids with a hands-on learning experience through play. We’ve explored children’s museums near our home and while traveling. Each one seems to offer something distinct that sets it apart from others.

This past month, we attended a birthday party at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Washington, about 30 minutes south of Seattle. It’s located right in the middle of Downtown Tacoma, with limited street parking.

About The Children’s Museum of Tacoma

The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is a perfect destination for families who like their kids to engage in stimulating experiences for children. This place is an absolute gem for families with children ages birth to older. The museum follows a donation-only admission model, making it accessible to everyone.

Once you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a vibrant space filled with interactive exhibits and engaging activities. They have a wonderful collection of children’s books, perfect for sparking young imaginations.

As a member, you’ll also enjoy exclusive member-only hours, giving you even more opportunities to explore. One of the highlights here is the five nature-inspired playscapes that encourage playful experiences where little ones can let their creativity run wild.

The museum truly values joyful experiences and encourages kids to learn through play. They even offer low sensory hours for those who have sensory sensitivities and may need a quieter environment.

It’s incredible to see how they cater to all children’s needs and preferences. Whether it’s crawling through tunnels, climbing, or building, there’s something here for every child to enjoy.

Water play at Children's Museum of Tacoma

The water exhibit area was beautiful to look at and filled with energetic kiddos.

Entering the Children’s Museum of Tacoma

Our first experience was with the parking lot. We had no problem finding a spot at 9:50 a.m. on a Sunday. So, I took that opportunity to feed my baby before heading out.

However, we stood outside in the rain for 15 minutes, waiting in line to pay for parking. Normally, it would have just slightly annoyed me, but we ended up being late to the birthday party because of it.

As we headed in, we saw about eight other families who were heading to the party stuck in the line. It’s too bad that we couldn’t just pay for parking inside the museum. Not a great first impression.

Party Room and Water Area

I liked the party room. There was plenty of room for parents and kids, and there was seating against the window. The party attendant was also really friendly and great at giving a run-down of the rules before inviting us to explore the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

Water area at the Children's Museum of Tacoma

I liked the simplicity of the water play area.
Our first stop was the water area. My son played there for at least 30 minutes straight. They had lots of Green Toys to play with. They also had squirt toys, which I’ve never seen at children’s museums before.
This area was packed, and there were more kids than aprons. It stayed pretty packed the entire time we were at the museum.

The Pirate Ship, Reading Nook, and Slide

Children's Museum of Tacoma

The Voyager exhibit area was perfect for getting energy out!

Then, my son headed over to the Pirate Ship, where he enjoyed climbing through the rope tunnel and playing with the corded phone in the tower. Even though it was crowded with kids, he was able to move around quite quickly and freely. There were a lot of props nearby that would have been a blast with just a few fewer people around.

Right next to it was a cool reading nook and a slide. My son had so much fun on the slide! He did it over and over again and thought it was amazing! The slide is pretty slow, which is great for little kids. The stairs to get up to the slide are narrow (too narrow for more than one kid), so there were a few tears as kids tried to climb over other kids to get to the top.

The Museum’s Dead End

Children's Museum of Tacoma

My son and his buddy had fun collaborating on their Invention.

The Children’s Museum of Tacoma dead-ends with a large-scale marble run and scarf vacuum activity. My son played with the scarf vacuum for a while. It felt a bit small for the amount of kids who wanted to play with it.

I was especially impressed with the marble run, and I’m contemplating figuring out how to build one for our house. The kids were thoroughly entertained.

The Children's Museum of Tacoma encourages imaginative play.

The Woods was a great area for imaginative play.

7 Tips for Tacoma Children’s Museum

  1. Look for street parking. The parking machine in the adjoining parking lot is super, duper slow.
  2. The Museum is open only to members on Mondays and is closed on Tuesdays.
  3. Admission is “pay as you will,” making it much more accessible to all families.
  4. You can’t bring strollers inside (without special permission), but you can use stroller parking.
  5. They have 40 lockers available free of charge for storing diaper bags, etc, in exchange for photo I.D.
  6. The water area has squirt toys, so be prepared to get wet.
  7. Consider starting at the back of the museum and working your way to the front (unless your child(ren) gets distracted by the water area), as the museum dead-ends.

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Shann Eva

Saturday 4th of March 2017

Sorry to hear about your parking experience, but the rest of the museum sounded like fun. I think that's really great your museum is pay as will. Our children's museum is pretty expensive.

Marcie in Mommyland

Wednesday 8th of March 2017

I love it when museums are accessible for everyone. I've had sticker shock at so many places geared for kids.


Friday 3rd of March 2017

My first-born is hoping to go to college in Seattle this fall. She got into Seattle U and now waiting to hear back from U Dub. If she ends up there I'll probably bring my youngest over to the Children's Museum of Tacoma for a visit. Thanks for sharing!

Marcie in Mommyland

Wednesday 8th of March 2017

Oh how exciting! Seattle is a great place to go to college!


Friday 3rd of March 2017

Thanks for the info. My husband was born in Tacoma and has been wanting to do a trip to Washington. We have a 7 year old and 3.5 year old so this sounds like something my youngest might like, although it looks like my oldest may not be too into it.

Marcie in Mommyland

Wednesday 8th of March 2017

Your oldest may enjoy the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma more. I know it may sound boring because of the name, but they have a ton of kid-oriented exhibits that are pretty cool!


Friday 3rd of March 2017

This Children's Museum looks great! I love exploring new museums with my little guy.

Marcie in Mommyland

Wednesday 8th of March 2017

This one is great for little ones because it's not too big!

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