best indoor kids’ activities near jblm

best indoor kids' activities near jblm

Guess what, guys?! It’s raining again today! Insert eye roll here. But seriously, it’s been raining for more than a month nearly nonstop. Sure, we see pockets of sunlight here and there but, for the most part, we have rain each morning and each evening, and it seems like the dry days are few and far between. Even the kids are over it. I’ve been doing my best to stay positive and, like I mentioned last week, stay in the here and now. It’s been hard though, and as much as we’re big on going outside and enjoying fresh air, sometimes it’s just a little too much. Enter indoor activities. The perk of JBLM is that we’re near two major cities – Tacoma and Seattle, both of which offer endless activities for all ages. Today, however, I wanted to share some of the best indoor kids’ activities near JBLM.

Most days, you can find us outside hiking or splashing in puddles, but with sickness running rampant and the weather being a little too cold and wet for comfort sometimes, we do like to have indoor activities on standby. When we are indoors, we try to opt for one of three things:

  1. Something creative that makes them think or work with their hands
  2. Something active that gets their blood pumping and tires them out like they would be from exploring
  3. Something new, whether that’s a new place, a new experience, or new sight

There’s definitely no shortage of any of these options out here, so I’m excited to share six of our favorite and the best indoor kids’ activities near JBLM…


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If you’re looking for something more creative and more unique than most indoor playplaces, Tinkertopia is it. This petite hole-in-the-wall craft store is the ultimate destination for kids, creators, families, and more to use recycled and unusual materials to create little works of art. You can also book the craft area out for private parties. Best of all? It’s super affordable. Pay just $7 for 90 minutes of crafting time in their back room.

Children’s Museum of Tacoma

The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is actually one of our country’s only pay-as-you-will activity centers for children, which means that children of all income levels can enjoy playing and exploring here. Featuring interactive playscapes for kids eight and under, the museum has everything from water stations to climbing areas, play spaces, and more. Fun fact, too! They are opening a satellite location directly on JBLM main on August 1, 2020, which will cater directly to military families.

The Makery

Located in Tacoma, The Makery is a fun and unique place for adults and kids, alike! While there are tons of paint options for adults, there are kid-specific designs, as well, including the ever-popular “WILD” designs with bears and wildlife, dinosaurs, positive affirmations, and more. Simply reserve your time online, and enjoy 2-2.5 hours of creating with your kids. You’ll pay for the design and wooden mount of your choice, most of which start around $60 with tax.

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Defy Olympia

Formerly known as “Boom Shaka,” Defy Olympia is a 23,000-square-foot indoor trampoline facility that’s sure to get your blood pumping. With 60 trampolines, as well as angled wall trampolines, launching decks, and more, there’s something for kids of almost all ages. For an hour of jump time, kids 2 and under are $6, 6 and under are $10.50, and all other ages are $14.50. If Olympia is a bit too far, you can also visit Defy Tacoma.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Yes, some of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is outside, however, there are quite a few indoor spaces, as well, including the Pacific Seas Aquarium. If this is a place you frequent, you may also want to consider the Critter Club, which meets on occasional Thursdays and Fridays. Kids will love the hands-on learning and animal encounters that they won’t find elsewhere. Either way, kids 2 and under enjoy free admission, tots aged 3-4 are $12, 5-12 are $16, and adults are $20.

Pretty Gritty Sweets Tour

Kids love sweets, plain and simple. The Pretty Gritty Sweets Tour is the perfect way for kids to explore and taste their way through some of Tacoma’s sweetest sights. You’ll visit the birthplace of the Almond Roca, and you’ll get to enjoy a donut, cupcake, truffles/caramels, samples of sweets, and more. The tour utilizes Tacoma’s free link light trail and does have a bit of light walking – the perfect blend of fresh air and indoor fun. Children under 3 are free, and 3-12 are just $5.

In addition to all of the above, there are quite a few local businesses that feature free military days, as well! We love taking part in the free military days at both Black Hills Gymnastics in Lacey and Auburn Gymnastics in DuPont. Both offer a day just for military kids to bounce around, play, and explore – free of charge. Be sure to check them out on Facebook to see when their next available military days are. Also, we bought a membership at our local YMCA, which offers an awesome military discount. When in doubt, swimming on a rainy day offers perfect fun.

Honestly, though JBLM is not our favorite duty station, there are definitely nearly endless options for adventure for our kids both indoors and out. I remember when I rounded up the kid-friendly activities near Fort Drum and I was reminded, yet again, that these duty stations are what we make of them. So, regardless of the weather, we’re going to make the best of it!

Have you ever been to any of these indoor activities? What would you hope to do or visit?