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Take a day trip to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, where play is celebrated every day.
Located in the heart of the Tacoma Museum District, the museum serves children ages eight and under and their adults.
It is easy to get to the Children’s Museum by car, bus or even light rail. Located at 1501 Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma, the museum can be reached from I-5 north of south via exit 133 and then 15th street. Buses connecting with the Tacoma Dome transit center also stop right outside the front doors. For those that love trains, consider parking for free at the Tacoma Dome Station and riding the Link Light Rail, which stops just one block from the museum. Street parking is available daily, and there is a paid parking lot available next to the museum on the weekends.
The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and has special extended hours until 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month for the city’s Art Mingle program.
Admission to the museum is called “Pay As You Will,” which means that it is by donation only. This admission model is the only one of its kind among children’s museums in the nation and has been recognized with a national award from the Association of Children’s Museum and as a finalist for the IMLS National Medal of Honor. “Pay As You Will” is supported by KeyBank, and all donations to the museum through the program help to keep the museum accessible for every family in our community.
The museum features five playscapes intended to spark imagination and playful inquiry. Build a fort in the Woods area, splash in Water, climb aboard the Voyager and take a journey with your imagination, build your own creations in Invention, or explore the processes of messy art in the Studio.
The playscapes are designed so that children of varying ages can play alongside one another throughout the space. Adults are invited to join in on the fun and play, too, or just sit back and observe from a comfy window seat along the perimeter of the playscapes.
An average visit to the museum is 90 minutes and adults are encouraged to let their children set the pace for exploration. After all, if your little one only visits one playscape on the first visit, you can always check out the rest of the museum on your next visit!
Expect to get hungry after stretching your muscles and your imagination in the playscapes. Café Play, located in the museum lobby, serves kid-friendly snacks and adult-friendly espresso from Dillano’s Coffee. Adults are even welcome to take their coffee into the museum. If you plan to pack a picnic, the museum welcomes families to enjoy their food from home in the café. The museum is also located just a couple blocks from Dock Street, where families can explore the beautifully restored and vibrant Thea Foss Waterway, and enjoy a picnic in one of the parks lining the waterfront.