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15 Free and Cheap Northwest Family Adventures for March 2020

Great events this month for families and kids around Seattle, the Eastside and South Sound

Published on: March 02, 2020


Rain or shine, Northwest families will have a good time with these springy ideas. The best part? They’re cheap! We’re talking movies, dinos, reading, nature and more

Read on for 15 ideas to fill the season with family fun.

Change your view of movies

Children's Film Festival Seattle 2020
Screenings and events March 4–8

Catch the latter half of the always eye-opening and entertaining film fest with screenings of terrific international films and shorts. This fest always serves to expand kids' ideas of what movies are, what kind of stories movies tell, plus how they're told and who tells them.

Dig on dinos at the Burke

Burke Museum, Seattle
Thursday, March 5 or Saturday, March 29

Any day is a dino day at the amazing new Burke Museum. Stop by the first Thursday of the month (10 a.m.–8 p.m.) for free admission (additional discounts detailed online), or pay admission for the kid-focused I Dig Dinos program taking place Saturday, March 29 (10 a.m.–2 p.m.). Take a peek inside the Burke's paleontology lab and find out more about Mesozoic monsters!

Tour the Ballard Locks

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Seattle
March 5–9, 12–16, 19–23 and 26–30

Free. Get the inside scoop on one of Seattle's most-visited sites among tourists. Learn about the fascinating mechanics of the locks and how boat traffic and our local salmon travel between waterways. During March free tours take place Thursday–Monday at 2 p.m. (no tours Tuesday or Wednesday).

Celebrate Seuss

Eastside Community Center, Tacoma
Saturday, March 7

Free. Every fan of Dr. Seuss should wear silly clothes and plan to let loose, at this party of games and good fun, that also promises cupcakes by the TON!  All ages.

Get covered in color

Celebrate Holi
Local events March 7–28

Whether celebrating Holi is a tradition in your family or you want to try out the colorful fun for the first time, wear white and get ready to be drenched in color. Most fests feature terrific music and Indian food for purchase. All ages. 

Celebrate the landing of St. Patrick

South Lake Union
Friday, March 13, 5:30 p.m.

Free. St. Patrick was brought to Ireland by pirates in about A.D. 400. Now, the Pirates of the Emerald Isle will deliver St. Patrick to South Lake Union (near the Museum of History & Industry) for the Green Stripe Laying, a mini parade to mark the route of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade down the center of Fourth Avenue. A large crowd participates by riding the flatbed truck along the route. All ages.

Tips: Find more Irish-inspired fun at Seattle's St. Patrick's Day Parade (March 14) and Irish Fest (March 14–15).

Hunt for leprechauns

Kruckeberg Garden, Shoreline
March 13–15 and 20–22

Free. Scamper through this hidden-gem garden and see if you can spot the lurking leprechauns. We hear that shamrocks, mischief, rainbows and gold are the four best things to attract leprechauns. Turn up during open hours on two weekends to take part in the free, self-guided leprechaun scavenger hunt. All ages. 

Add up the fun

Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival
Saturday, March 14

The Julia Robinson math fest encourages kids to approach mathematical activities, games and puzzles with creativity and persistence at the University of Washington Husky Union Building (HUB). $10; reserve a ticket online. For ages 10–18. 

Kick it at Kent Kids’ Art Day

Kent Commons Community Center
Saturday, March 14

Kids create art projects all day for one flat fee at Kent Kids’ Arts Day at Kent Commons. Art supplies are included. You may bring a lunch or buy one. $10 per child. All ages. 

Book it to Seattle Public Library’s HUGE book sale

Seattle Center
Saturday–Sunday, March 14–15

Boost your kids’ academic potential and support your local library at the Seattle Public Library’s huge book sale. Admission is free, and books cost as little as $1, but we’ll totally understand if this ends up being the most expensive thing you do in March. All ages. 

Enjoy a family movie night

Pierce County Library Parkland/Spanaway branch
Tuesday, March 17, 6 p.m.

Free. Bring your older tweens and teens to enjoy free popcorn and a screening of the 2019 film "Harriet." This film is rated PG-13.

Play at a state park

Includes 140 Washington state parks
Thursday, March 19

Free. On this Washington State Parks’ Free Day, celebrate the 107th birthday of the state’s park system. You can picnic and play at any of the 140 Washington state parks for free. Some of our very favorites include Lake Sammamish State Park, Cama Beach State Park and Fort Casey Historical Park. All ages. 

March Madness!

Van Asselt Community Center
Friday, March 20

Free. Turn your basketball viewing into a community party. Join neighbors and friend's at Seattle's Van Asselt Community Center for food, games, prizes and NCAA basketball action showing on the big screen. All ages.

Spring clean the great outdoors

McKinley Park, Tacoma
Saturday, March 21

Free. Get the whole family outside and lend a helping hand at a Tacoma Parks work party. This edition at McKinley Park welcomes all ages to dig in and get dirty. Find more fun and helpful volunteer opportunities on the Metro Parks calendar; check each one for age guidelines.

Step softly like mountain goats

Lewis Creek Park, Bellevue
March 8, 14 or 21

Free (preregister). Mountain goats are the sure-footed climbers of the Cascade mountains. Join a park ranger on one of three sessions to find out what we can learn from this noble creature. Best for ages 5–10 with families.

Editor's note: Out + about editor Nancy Chaney contributed to this article, which was originally published in 2018 and updated for 2020. 

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