I really love children’s museums. I may love them more than my 3-year-old. I just really appreciate places that are dedicated to giving kids 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 which was about 30 minutes south of Seattle. It’s located right in the middle of Downtown Tacoma, with limited street parking.
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 I would have been just slightly annoyed, but we ended up being late to the birthday party because of it. As we headed in, we saw about 8 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.
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.
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 less 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 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 awhile. 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.
7 Tips for the Children’s Museum of Tacoma
- Look for street parking. The parking machine in the adjoining parking lot is super, duper slow.
- The Museum is open only to members on Mondays and is closed on Tuesdays.
- Admission is “pay as you will” making it much more accessible to all families.
- Strollers aren’t allowed inside (without special permission) but stroller parking is available.
- They have 40 lockers available free of charge for storing diaper bags, etc in exchange for photo I.D.
- The water area has squirt toys, so be prepared to get wet.
- The museum dead-ends, so you might start in the back and work your way to the front (if your child(ren) don’t get distracted by the water area)