Just a ferry ride from the sights of downtown Seattle, Port Orchard, Washington, is a charming community, with picturesque mountain and water views almost everywhere you look. The city’s charms extend to families looking for fun, and you’ll find plenty of kids’ activities to enjoy in this Puget Sound city.
Learn Something Interesting
Learn about the lives of early settlers of Port Orchard at the Log Cabin Museum (sidneymuseumandarts.com). This is an old-fashioned museum, so you won’t find the kind of exhibits your kids might be used to, but the imaginative storytelling at the museum can still capture their interests as they learn about the past through the museum’s mannequin family. Kids who love trains will be thrilled by a ride on the scale-model Kitsap Live Steamers train (kitsaplivesteamers.org). Ask one of the members to show you how the steam locomotive works -- it uses the same method early railroad trains used. Creepy-crawlies are the stars at the Bug Museum (friendsofthefarms.org), less than 10 miles from downtown Port Orchard. Kids can get an up-close look at spiney stick insects, scorpions, hissing cockroaches and other bugs with help from magnifying glasses and microscopes or just watch ants hard at work in the giant ant farm.
Play at the Park
There’s a nice-size playground at South Kitsap Regional Park (kitsapgov.com). If the kids get tired of climbing and sliding, you can play catch on the softball fields or take a walk on one of the park’s hiking trails. The trails at the Wynn Jones Preserve (kitsapgov.com) wind through the forest and down to the beach, making it an ideal roam-and-explore walk for kids. In the summer, take a dip in the lake at Horseshoe Lake Park (kitsapgov.com). You can take the kids out on a kayak or explore the hiking trails together year-round. If your kids are intrigued by mysteries, download the clues from the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department website (kitsapgov.com), and use them to track the mythological Thunderbird as you learn about the water cycle together.
Take a Class
Kids can take gymnastics classes or just burn off energy on the gym’s trampolines and foam pits at the Mile High Gym (milehighgym.com). Kids who are serious about gymnastics might want to join one of the gym’s competitive teams. Dancers can hone their skills with ballet, jazz and hip hop classes at Just for Kicks School of Dance (j4k.us). At the Gallery School of Music and Dance (thedancegalleryinc.com), your child can sign up for dance, music or gymnastics classes.
Party with the Locals
Port Orchard has a number of annual events that kids will enjoy. The Harvest Fair hosted by Friends of the Farms (friendsofthefarms.org) celebrates the area’s rich agricultural heritage every year with activities such as hay rides, sheep shearing demonstrations, pie contests and a petting zoo. Summer’s Fathoms O’Fun (cityofportorchard.us) festival draws families with a kid-friendly parade, live music and plenty of activities for kids. Bring the kids to the holiday Festival of Chimes and Lights (cityofportorchard.us) to see Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving by boat, gussied-up pets competing in the Pooch’n’Purr Parade and a busy schedule of story times and family fun activities.