15 Best Things to Do with Kids in Tacoma, WA
When summertime rolls around, many families start planning their vacations.
Most families from up north head south to Tacoma in Pierce County, Washington.
Who can blame them?
Tacoma is a bustling city in Washington State situated along Puget Sound’s banks.
The city is just south of Seattle and is a stone’s throw away from some of the most beautiful scenery the Pacific Northwest offers.
The climate, culture, and attractions make the city of Tacoma a perfect spot for a fun family getaway.
There are many things to do in Tacoma with kids that will keep everyone entertained.
From outdoor activities to kid-friendly attractions, there is something for everyone in this vacation destination.
Here are some of the best things to do with kids in Tacoma, Washington:
Cross the Chihuly Bridge of Glass
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a must-see when visiting Tacoma with kids.
This partially-covered footbridge is 500 feet long, spanning Interstate 705 in downtown Tacoma, Washington.
The bridge connects the Museum of Glass on the Thea Foss Waterway to the Tacoma downtown area.
The bridge was designed by world-renowned artists Dale Chihuly and Arthur Anderson and was completed in 2002.
It is one of the most photographed landmarks in the Pacific Northwest.
When you cross the bridge, you’ll see three glass installations created by Chihuly.
The first is the Seaform Pavilion, a structural shelter of 2,364 hand-blown glass forms.
Next is the Crystal Towers, which are two 40-foot-tall towers that are illuminated at night.
They are made up of 64 pieces of crystals known as Polyvitro.
The bridge is a beautiful sight to see, and it is also a great place to take a walk or a jog with the kids.
The views of the Tacoma Narrows and Mt. Rainier from the bridge are stunning.
Your kids will love crossing this bridge, and they will admire the glass sculptures and artistic design.
If you’re in Tacoma, check out the Chihuly Bridge of Glass.
Take the Kids to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma
The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is a great place to take the kids while on vacation in Tacoma.
The museum is interactive and has exhibits designed to engage and entertain children of all ages.
The museum exhibits are interactive, meaning kids can play and learn from them.
There is also a play area for younger children and an art studio for older kids.
However, the woodworking area captivates kids the most, where they can act as woodworkers and create their projects.
It’s a fun activity that will play with your child’s curiosity for hours.
The staff at the museum is friendly and knowledgeable and will be happy to answer any questions the kids may have about the exhibits.
The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is open from Wednesdays to Sundays.
Admission is pay-as-you-go and can be purchased at the door.
Play Video Games at Dorky’s Arcade
Dorky’s Arcade is a great attraction for kids who love nostalgia and playing old video games.
This Arcade has everything that kids and adults will love, from classic video games to the latest arcade games.
There is something for everyone at Dorky’s Arcade, from old-school games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong to newer games like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution.
The best part about this Arcade is that it’s affordable and accessible since it’s located in the city's heart.
Let your kids go wild and spend hours playing their favorite games without breaking the bank.
Dorky’s Arcade is also fantastic for taking a break from the sun.
It’s air-conditioned and has plenty of seating to rest your feet and take a break from the heat.
Dorky’s Arcade is open six days a week from noon to midnight.
Whether you’re in town for a day or a week, find time to visit this fantastic arcade.
Visit the Museum of Glass
Since you’re already on the Bridge of Glass, it only makes sense to visit the Museum of Glass next.
This museum is dedicated to contemporary art and glass.
The Museum of Glass showcases the works of Dale Chihuly, a famous glass artist in the Pacific Northwest.
As mentioned earlier, he also designed the Bridge of Glass.
He is also the creator of the Seaform Pavilion and Crystal Towers, two works of art found on the bridge.
The Museum of Glass is a great place to take the kids; they will be amazed by the glass sculptures and installations.
They will also enjoy the hot shop where they can see glass artists working on their creations.
There’s also a Kids Design Glass exhibit where your kids can submit drawings and watch as glass artists turn their work into unique 3D artwork.
Your kids will enjoy spending hours at the Museum of Glass.
When you’re in Tacoma, add this museum to your itinerary.
Check Out Different Cars at LeMay — America’s Car Museum
LeMay — America’s Car Museum is a must-visit destination for car enthusiasts of all ages.
This museum has everything you could want, from classic to race cars.
There is something for everyone at LeMay, from old-school cars like the Ford Model T and the Chevrolet Bel Air to newer cars like the Lamborghini Aventador.
Harold LeMay and his family donated many of the cars on display to the museum.
LeMay was a local Tacoma businessman with the state's largest private collection of cars.
If your kids love cars, a visit to LeMay is a must.
They will see some of the most impressive cars in the world and learn about their history.
LeMay also has a great gift shop where you can buy souvenirs for your friends and family.
If you’re in Tacoma, check out LeMay — America’s Car Museum.
Let Your Kids’ Imagination Run Wild at Tinkertopia
If you’re looking for a place where your kids can express their imaginations and artistic side, visiting Tinkertopia is the ideal option.
This is a creative space for kids of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers.
Tinkertopia is an art center in downtown Tacoma and is the perfect place for your kids to express themselves and be creative.
They will make art using different materials and tools.
There is also a wide variety of art supplies available, so your kids can use their imaginations to create anything they want.
The staff at Tinkertopia helps kids learn new skills.
Your kids can learn different mediums of art, as well as utilize various art tools.
The workshops that Tinkertopia offers will help your kids develop their creative skills.
Moreover, the best part is that you can join the fun too!
Your little ones can have fun, interact with other kids, and take home whatever work of art they create.
If you’re looking for a fun activity for your kids, add Tinkertopia to your list of places to visit in Tacoma, Washington.
Spend the Day at Point Defiance Park
Point Defiance Park is a great place to visit in Tacoma.
Located on North Pearl Street—6.8 miles north of downtown Tacoma—the park is massive at 760 acres and features a variety of attractions.
The park features a zoo, aquarium, gardens, beaches, trails, a boardwalk, and much more.
The number of attractions within this park is an absolute must-visit.
Point Defiance Park is a great place to spend the day with your family.
There are plenty of things for everyone to do.
From strolling along the beach to exploring the different gardens, there’s something for everyone at this park.
Several options are available if you get hungry and can’t bring picnic food.
You can find anything from hot dogs to pizza and ice cream.
Point Defiance Park is an all-in-one destination that the whole family will enjoy.
If you’re looking for things to do in Tacoma with kids, add this park to your list of places to visit.
Check Out Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Located within Point Defiance Park, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium offers kids a whole other level of fun.
This is one of the best places to take kids who want to learn about different animals and marine life.
Occupying 29 acres of the Park, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is home to several different specimens—a whopping 9,000, to be exact.
These specimens represent a total of 367 animal species.
Some animals you’ll see at the Zoo include tigers, lions, otters, penguins, and even elephants.
Meanwhile, the Aquarium is home to fish, sharks, rays, and octopuses.
The Zoo and the Aquarium are interactive and offer hands-on experiences for kids.
The staff is knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions the kids may have about the animals or the exhibits.
Your kids will love Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
They will learn about different animals and see them up close.
This place will be extra memorable for your kids, especially when they haven’t seen some of these animals.
The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a great option for a fun day outdoors with the family.
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Enjoy the Great Outdoors at the Tacoma Nature Center
Located just three miles west of downtown Tacoma, the Tacoma Nature Center is a great place to take kids who want to experience nature at its finest.
This 71-acre nature center features Snake Lake at the center, surrounded by forest and wetlands.
This nature preserve features a variety of trails, a visitor center, and activities for kids and the entire family to enjoy.
The Tacoma Nature Center has several gardens that kids can explore.
There are gardens for children and adults, so everyone in the family can find something that interests them.
Besides the gardens and animal exhibits, the Tacoma Nature Center also offers nature walks and classes.
These classes and walks are great for kids to learn more about ecology and conservation.
The center is home to various animals, including snakes, turtles, and frogs.
Kids can see these animals up close and learn about their habitats and diets.
The Tacoma Nature Center is great for kids who want to learn more about the environment and nature.
The center offers a variety of educational programs, exhibits, and a nature store.
Appreciate Local Art at the Tacoma Art Museum
The Tacoma Art Museum was founded in 1935 and is home to over 5,300 pieces.
The museum's permanent collection includes works from the Northwest School of painters and American, Asian, European, and contemporary art.
The Tacoma Art Museum also offers rotating exhibitions that change every few months.
These exhibitions often include pieces from different parts of the world and range in various mediums.
The Tacoma Art Museum is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about local and international artists or want something to do.
The museum also offers several educational programs for kids and adults alike.
The Tacoma Art Museum is an excellent place for anyone who wants to learn more about art or wants something to do on a Sunday afternoon.
The museum has a permanent collection and rotating exhibitions and offers free admission every Thursday.
Watch a Sporting Event at Cheney Stadium
Cheney Stadium is excellent for taking the whole family for a day out.
The stadium is home to the Tacoma Rainiers, a Minor League Baseball team.
The Rainiers play in the Pacific Coast League and are affiliated with the Seattle Mariners.
The stadium offers several seating options, so you can find the perfect spot to watch the game.
The stadium also has several other food options, so you can get something to eat while you’re there.
During soccer season, Cheney Stadium also serves as the home of the Tacoma Defiance, a United Soccer League team.
The Defiance is affiliated with the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer.
In addition to watching baseball games, Cheney Stadium hosts other events, such as concerts and monster truck rallies.
This stadium is an excellent place for anyone who wants to watch a sporting event or see a concert.
The stadium offers a variety of seating options and has several different food options available.
Let the Kids Try Ice Skating at Sprinker Recreation Center
Sprinker Recreation Center is an excellent place for kids to experience ice skating.
The recreation center features an ice arena where kids can skate around and have a great time.
The ice arena is open to kids from all levels of ice skating experience—from beginners to experienced skaters.
The recreation center also offers several programs for kids, such as learn-to-skate classes and hockey leagues.
Ice skating is a great recreational activity for kids.
It’s an excellent way for them to exercise and have fun at the same time.
Sprinker Recreation Center is a great place to take the kids if they want some fun on the ice.
If your kids are not into ice skating, there’s an alternative that they can try.
Sprinker Recreation Center also features a skateboard park where kids can learn or showcase their skateboarding skills.
Moreover, this center is a great place for something fun to do in with the kids.
Learn about the Evergreen State at the Washington State History Museum
The Washington State History Museum is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about the history of Washington state.
The museum has several exhibits covering different aspects of Washington’s past.
Some of the exhibits at the museum include “Pioneering Women of Washington State,” “Washington State and the American Civil War,” and “Telling Our Stories: A History of Washington’s Native Peoples.”
In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum has many rotating exhibitions covering various topics.
The museum also hosts several great programs and workshops for kids and adults.
There are interactive exhibitions like the Animation Academy where you and your kids can learn about animations from pencil to pixel.
The Washington State History Museum is great for anyone who wants to learn more about Washington’s history.
It’s a must-visit if you want to grasp the state’s complex past while having a lot of fun.
Experience a Water Adventure at Owen Beach
Owen Beach is a great place for a day out with the family.
The beach is on Point Defiance and offers many activities for kids and adults.
Likewise, the beach has different areas where you can swim, sunbathe, and play.
The beach also has a playground, a pier, and picnic tables.
In addition to the beach, the park also has several hiking trails that you can explore.
The courses offer great views of the sea and the surrounding area.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset and is free to visit.
Owen Beach is great for anyone who wants to spend a day by the sea.
Head down to Owen Beach if the kids want fun in the sun.
Other Things To Do Nearby
With so many attractions and activities in Tacoma, there’s no reason to go beyond the city limits.
However, if you’re looking for other things to do nearby, here’s something that the entire family will enjoy.
Have a Fun Family Outing at Ocean5
If you’re looking for a fun activity with the family outside Tacoma, consider visiting Ocean5 in nearby Gig Harbor, Washington, 16 minutes from Tacoma.
This event venue-slash-entertainment center features several different activities for the family to enjoy.
Ocean5 features a bowling alley that has several different lanes.
This bowling alley is perfect for all levels of bowlers.
In addition to the bowling lanes, the alley also has a modern arcade where you can play various games.
The arcade features games that are perfect for kids and adults.
There’s also a two-story laser tag arena where you can blast with the whole family.
You can either team up or compete against each other in several rounds.
Ocean5 is an excellent place for anyone who wants to have some fun with the family.
The bowling alley is affordable and has several different activities available for people of all ages.
After doing the best things to do in Tacoma, Washington, with kids, it’s easy to see why this city is such a great place to visit.
Simply put, there’s something for everyone in Tacoma, and the city offers several different activities perfect for families.
It’s worthy of its reputation as a go-to vacation destination for families.
Pack your bags and try the best things to do with kids in Tacoma, Washington!