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3 Kid-Friendly Tacoma Hikes That Lead to Water

Fantastic urban Tacoma trails bring families to the waterfront

Writer Heather Larson

Published on: June 20, 2019

3 Kid-Friendly Tacoma Hikes That Lead to Water

Bikes along the Prairie Line Trail. Credit: Ron Swarmer

The Prairie Line Trail

A nod to the western end of the Northern Pacific Railroad, this trail follows the tracks of the retired Prairie Line. The path connects the Thea Foss Waterway to downtown Tacoma to the University of Washington Tacoma to the Brewery District. Here you can reward kids with a soda at Dystopian State or 7 Seas Brewing Company. Mom and Dad might opt for another beverage.

I like starting this journey behind the Museum of Glass. Families can try making music on the strategically placed xylophones. Then walk north along the esplanade and follow the Prairie Line Trail informational and historical markers up the stairs alongside East 15th and South Hood Streets, across Pacific Ave., then continue through the UW – Tacoma campus.

Although this trail spans only a mile, take your time and enjoy the art along the way. While that may sound as boring to a child as watching someone else play, you can pique their interest by downloading the coloring and activity book available on the trail’s website, or pick one up at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. Then kids can try to locate features like the Parapet Relay, the Welcome Figure and other art installations.

Make a day of it by returning to the Thea Foss Waterway to rent a kayak or paddleboard at Dock Street Marina.

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