Outings + Activities | Rainy Day Fun | Family fun

Visit Seattle-Area Museums for Free!

Museums and kidsVisit a local museum without paying a cent? You just have to know when to go! The advantage for families (beyond saving some cash): You don’t have to worry about getting your money’s worth out of your admission, and can just take off when the kids get antsy.

Museums that are Always Free

Frye Art Museum: The Frye Art Museum engages audiences and encourages dialogue about art. Check out the Small Frye storytime for kids the first Friday of the month. Visit Frye's website for education programs that provide art experience to all ages. Closed Mondays. 206-622-9250. [FIRST HILL, SEATTLE]

Olympic Sculpture Park: Experience nine acres of outdoor sculptures with incredible views. Dawn to dusk. 206-654-3100. [SEATTLE WATERFRONT]

Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park: The gold was in the Yukon, but thousands of hopeful prospectors got there in 1897 by way of Seattle. This free museum in the heart of Pioneer Square tells the story. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. [PIONEER SQUARE]

Children’s Museum of Tacoma: Tacoma's kids' museum has a warm and modern home, creative Playspaces, and an attractive pricing policy -- pay as you can on any day. Admission is by donation. 253-627-6031. [TACOMA]

Wing LukeMuseums Free on Multiple Days

Imagine Children’s Museum: A wonderful children's museum in the heart of Everett with a fun outdoor area on the roof, a terrific art studio and a small-scale wildlife clinic, where your future vet can care for “wild” stuffed animals. Half-price admission on Thursdays, 3-5 p.m., 5:30-9 p.m. Free on the third Friday of every month 5:30-9 p.m. 425-258-1006. [EVERETT]

Seattle Asian Art Museum: A museum in a light-filled, historic building in lovely Volunteer Park, with Asian art exhibits for all ages to explore. Free on first Thursdays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; second Thursdays, 5-9 p.m.; first Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (family day). 206-654-3100. [VOLUNTEER PARK, SEATTLE]

Wing Luke Asian Museum: A unique museum in a historic building that tells the story of Asian Pacific Americans. Offering teen programs and family fun days. Free on first Thursdays and third Saturdays, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. 206-623-5124. [CHINATOWN/INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT]

Northwest African American Museum: Explore music, crafts, literature and history of African Americans in the Northwest. Stop by for family day, storytelling and other special programs. Free on first and second Thursdays, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. 206-518-6000. [CENTRAL DISTRICT, SEATTLE]

White River Valley Museum: The history of South King County is on display at this small museum tucked into Auburn’s Les Gove Park. It's always cheap but also free every first Thursday, from noon- 8 p.m., and third Sundays, noon-4 p.m. 253-288-7433 [AUBURN]

Museums free on First Thursdays

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture: Wander through a hands-on exhibit that traces Washington state’s past natural history and check out the dino exhibit. Most weekends feature family fun activities. Free on first Thursday from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. 206-543-5590. [UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, SEATTLE]

Seattle Art Museum: The region's premier museum is always free for kids ages 12 and under and features family fun events on select weekends. Free on First Thursdays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. (though there's still a fee for special exhibits). 206-654-3100. [DOWNTOWN SEATTLE]

Henry Art Gallery: The Henry Art Gallery features exhibits, lectures, public education and special activities for children. Register for an ArtVENTURES program, where children can learn and create. Free on first Thursday from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. 206-543-2280. [UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, SEATTLE]

Museum of Flight: Take a spin in a two-seat flight simulator or tour a real Concorde and other iconic aircraft in the Airpark. Check out the awesome Space Shuttle Trainer exhibit. Free on first Thursday, 5–9 p.m. 206-764-5720. [SEATTLE]

Kids Discovery Museum: KiDiMu, located just a short walk from the ferry terminal on Bainbridge Island, invites children and their families to explore art, science, and culture. Popular exhibits include Our Town, Science Hall, Totally TOT, and the Pirate Tree House. Free first Thursdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 206-855-4650 [BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, walking distance from the ferry landing]

Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI): Since its move to a fab new location in South Lake Union, MOHAI has become one of the hottest family destinations in Seattle, with hands-on, interactive history exhibits, mini MOHAI fun twice a month and more. Free first Thursdays, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. 206-324-1126. [LAKE UNION, SEATTLE]

Museums free on Third Thursdays

KidsQuestKidsQuest Children’s Museum: KidsQuest's many programs include story time, movies, play & paint and more. On third Thursdays, admission is only $1, from 5-8 p.m. 425-637-8100. [BELLEVUE]

Museum of Glass: Tacoma's Chihuly jewel offers many programs; don't forget to stop by the Hot Shop! Free on third Thursdays from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (866) 468-7386 [TACOMA]

Washington State History Museum: Play games on touch-screen computers in the Great Hall and watch the model railroad. Free on third Thursdays from 2-8 p.m. 253-272- 9747. [TACOMA]

Tacoma Art Museum: Take a quick tour of the galleries, then proceed to the Open Art Studio where kids can experiment with good art supplies and work on projects. Free on third Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. 253.272.4258 [TACOMA]

Museums free on First Fridays

Bellevue Arts Museum: Monthly events at this museum in the heart of Bellevue include craft activities, demonstrations, family days, free student days at the museum. Free on first Friday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 425-519-0770. [BELLEVUE]

Hands On Children’s Museum: Located in a stunning new space that makes it the biggest children's museum in Puget Sound, Hands On features eight galleries of fun, a new Outdoor Discovery Center and more. Free on First Fridays 5-9 p.m. 360-956-0818. [OLYMPIA]

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