Tacoma Nature Center is a fantastic place to take children to exercise their mind and body and tire them out!
Typically we start with a short "hike" on the loop around the lake (either going to the first or second bridge depending on how enthusiastic my kids, age 2 1/2 and 4 1/2, are). It's a wide dirt path, and is pretty level around the lake. My kids love looking for water turtles from the bridges.
Then we go to the natural playground area called Discovery Pond which my kids love (especially pumping water to make a stream and climbing in the log style tube). It's a big loop around a pond which has a slide, tree house, logs of various sizes for climbing in, on and through and a stone climbing wall. I like that it has just one entrance/exit to the playground area, so its easy to let the kids run and not worry about them getting out.
To round the day out we typically go into the visitor center to see the turtles and other reptiles, then play with the stuffed animal puppets. There are a lot of activities for kids (puzzles, drawing items, puppets, games, etc) enough to easily spend an hour in the visitor center on a rainy winter weekend.
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