Project Nature Blog

Happening this Weekend… Outside!

There is so much happening this weekend… outside! There are so many opportunities to get outside in the next few days. Looking for ideas? Visit the Project Nature activity page and search for activities near your family. Staying close to home? Visit the Project Nature resource page, blog, Instagram or Pinterest for ideas about how to spend time outside with your family. Before you start clicking away, keep reading to learn about what is happening throughout the greater Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia area this weekend. Go outside today and everyday!


Family Nature Class

Join us for a Family Nature Class and make connections with the natural world that will last a lifetime! Through science-based exploration and outdoor play preschoolers and their caregivers will experience the UW Botanic Gardens using their senses. Each class begins with an opportunity to explore several learning stations based on the week’s theme where children can practice fine motor skills, sensory investigation, creativity, and pre-math and literacy skills. Station time is followed by an opening circle and hike where the group will play games, listen to a story and further explore the weekly theme. Family Nature Class is a great way to get outside with your preschooler, foster curiosity and explore the natural world.



Outdoor Families Nature Club

Please join us every Thursday at 10:00 am, rain or shine, for Peacock Family Services new program: Outdoor Families Nature Club. Part play group, part outdoor education, part family hike, Outdoor Families is a drop-in group led by a Nature Nuts outdoor instructor and naturalist whose goal is to connect Bainbridge Island families to nature, their community, and to each other.

After a brief welcome circle, the group will get exploring; playing in the woods, peering into tide pools, and following the children’s lead with play while outdoor knowledge is sprinkled in. After an hour we break for a snack and a story before either resuming play or playing a trail game back to the parking area. Feel free to stay as little or as long as you like!

The Fall session will meet at Fort Ward (upper lot off Fort Ward Hill RD.) each week.



Fall Foliage Festival

Fantastic fall foliage is just minutes away at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden! Celebrate autumn with this FREE week-long festival that features plant and pumpkin sales, fall treats and beverages, pop-up artist demos, Pacific Bonsai Museum events, gardening workshops, tours, a photo station, and activities for kids and families. Take a nature walk among the trees.

Admission is FREE! Purchases of $50 or more in the Visitor Center or nursery will receive a garden pass for use on a future visit.


Spooky Night at the Garden

For two nights we’ll invite all the ghouls and goblins to the garden for a frightful walk through drifting fog and cobwebs. This is an evening event, rain or shine. Our parking lot will be closed for this event. We have reserved the parking lot at the Richmond Beach Congregational Church and will provide a free shuttle service to and from the garden. The garden will be closed on these dates during our regular operating hours due to this evening event.

Admission is FREE! (suggested donation of $10 encouraged), Ages 3–10 with families

Parking: Richmond Beach Congregational Church (free shuttle about every 15 mins)


Tacoma Giants Part 1: Trees of Point Defiance

Meet Mik and the Beanstalk. Mik is a Certified Arborist happy to share his knowledge of the trees of Point Defiance with you; and the Beanstalk is a 186-foot Douglas-fir tree. Ideal for kids, seniors, and people with mobility issues, this event will include activities around the Fort Nisqually Picnic Shelter parking area and the Beanstalk nearby.


Lattin’s Apple Festival

Come pick your own pumpkins! Enjoy a day in the country amid the sweet aroma of apples. Sample our fresh picked crunchy apples. Enjoy our Bluegrass music. Bring the children – visit our farm animals and visit our fun Goat Walk. Every weekend enjoy our animal train, face painting, games, petting farm, pony rides, and bobbing for apples. We have our National Award Winning Cider. Lots of good things to eat, bbq, apple crisp, caramel apples, apple pie, hot and cold cider, berry cider, cider donuts, apple cake and our famous Apple Fritters. Wagon rides to our pumpkin patch every weekend starting last weekend in September and every Saturday and Sunday in October from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Lattin’s Country Cider Mill & Farm
9402 Rich Road SE, Olympia
Admission: NO CHARGE, parking $5.00 per vehicle
Free entry; food and activities for purchase, parking $5


Wetland Waddlers

Explore Mercer Slough with your preschooler and grow a connection to the natural world! Each two-hour class includes art, play, and story time designed around a seasonal theme.

Program Details:

  • Time: Saturdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Ages: 2.5-4, with a parent or guardian*
  • Cost: $20, or $15 for Pacific Science Center Members

*We understand that finding childcare for siblings can be difficult. While activities are designed for children ages 2.5-4, siblings younger than age 2.5 are welcome to accompany participants free of charge. For siblings older than age 4, please contact

All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable. We reserve the right to cancel a session if enrollment is insufficient and will contact registrant for a full refund. We will notify registrant at least 48 hours prior to the event start time.


Oct 20 and 27: Whooo Lives Here?
Some animals have a spooky reputation, but there’s no need to be afraid! We’ll learn about why owls, bats, and spiders are important- and fun!

Nov 10: Track Detectives
Sometimes it’s hard to see wildlife on a hike, but we can still tell where they’ve been. Learn how to be a “track detective” as we search for the signs animals leave behind.

Dec 8: Waiting for Winter
When it’s cold outside, we put on coats and turn on our heaters. What do plants and animals do? Join us to find out!

Jan 12 and 19: Ice is Nice
Come explore the frozen park! We’ll build with ice, break ice, melt ice, and even use ice to make art.

Feb 9 and 16: Nature Rocks!
A rock can be an instrument, a tool, a treasure, a building block, and more.  With rocks of all shapes, textures, and sizes, there’s so much to investigate. What else do you think can a rock be?

Mar 16: Wonderful Wetlands
What IS a wetland, anyway?  We’ll take an up-close look at the plants and other unique things that live in wetlands, and learn about why they’re so important.

Mar 30: Mud Appreciation Day
We always find mud on our hikes, but this class is dedicated to the squishy stuff. Come jump in puddles,  make mud cakes, and most of all, get messy!


  • Saturday, October 27, 2018 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
  • Saturday, November 10, 2018 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
  • Saturday, December 8, 2018 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
  • Saturday, January 12, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
  • Saturday, February 9, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
  • Saturday, February 16, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
  • Saturday, March 16, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
  • Saturday, March 30, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.


Westcrest Park Forest Restoration

Join DIRT Corps in revitalizing Westcrest Park. We are working on the parcel of land next to 8th Ave, and it is overgrown with Himalayan blackberries! It’s up to us and our volunteers to bring it under control!

The beginning of this volunteer event will include a brief weed ID. Combine knowledge with action as we work to clear this beautiful space of harmful species that overtakes the area. Many of you might already have this experience in your own backyard!

Let’s work together to gradually transform and maintain Westcrest Park and make it a great public space for everyone to enjoy. Let us know of any questions, hope to see you out there!

Please RSVP here:

Questions? Email, for more info visit


Fall Farm Fun: Pigs and Pumpkins

Fall Farm Fun: Pigs and Pumpkins, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Kelsey Creek Farm Park, Education Barn

Pigs love pumpkins, and we think you will too! Children get to make pumpkin treats, go on a scavenger hunt, do a craft, and learn all about pigs. Each child will pick out a pumpkin to take home. Come dressed for the weather.

Ages: 3-6 years old; children must be accompanied by an adult. Cost: $25/resident and $30/non-resident.

Pre-registration: Required. Day-of registration will be accepted if space allows.

Info and to register: or 425-452-7688, course #1803645.


Family Nature Walk at Wapato Hills Park

Explore Tacoma’s Parks during this free naturalist-led walk. Discover amazing plants and animals and how they adapt to the seasons. Walks are organized and led by Tacoma Nature Center staff.

Not recommended for strollers or children under 3. These events are FREE but space is limited. Pre-registration is required. Sign up online or call the Tacoma Nature Center to sign up at (253) 591-6439.


Free Train Rides and Family Fun

Free unlimited small-scale train rides at Great Northern and Cascade Railway every weekend from now through October! Bring the whole family to scenic Skykomish and spend a few hours taking a ride on one of our mini trains. Step inside our historic depot and check out the remodeled gift shop, grab a snack, and learn about the rich train history of Skykomish. Little train nuts will be thrilled with the regularly passing “big” trains, and parents will appreciate the affordability and simplicity of a day at GNCR. All ages may ride the trains, even babies! We are pet friendly! Trains run only on weekends, but the depot is open daily. Our friendly staff will be glad to see you!


Seattle Children’s PlayGarden Open Play

Open Play will be back in session on Wednesday, September 12th and ready to PLAY!

“Open Play” refers to times that staff are on site. The PlayGarden is in a public park and visitors are welcome on weekdays after 2pm and weekends from sunrise to sunset. Specific Open Play days and times change seasonally.

Our fall Open Play hours are: Wednesdays 3 – 6pm Saturdays 10am – 2pm

  • Saturday, October 27, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Saturday, November 3, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 7, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
  • Saturday, November 10, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
  • Saturday, November 17, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 28, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
  • Saturday, December 1, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
  • Saturday, December 8, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
  • Saturday, December 15, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 19, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
  • Saturday, December 22, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
  • Saturday, December 29, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 2, 2019 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
  • Saturday, January 5, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 9, 2019 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
  • Saturday, January 12, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.


Toddler Tales & Trails

Come on an adventure of reading and exploring the outdoors! Introduce your toddler to nature with story time in our upstairs classroom, then go on a tot-sized family nature walk to explore the trails in Seward Park, rain or shine. Walks are easy and less than one mile. There is limited space in this program. Participants are encouraged to arrive early to ensure admission. No advance registration, just show up.

  • Saturday, October 27, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, October 31, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, November 3, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, November 7, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, November 10, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, November 17, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, November 21, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, November 24, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, November 28, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, December 1, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, December 8, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, December 15, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, December 19, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, December 22, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, December 29, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, January 2, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, January 5, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, January 9, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Saturday, January 12, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.


Happy Halloween Hike

The following programs are an opportunity for the very young to explore outside in a safe environment and to share that experience with an adult who is important to them. Parents and others that share time with a toddler can learn tips and tricks for sharing the outdoors with a little one. These programs are also a great chance to make new friends. Please register only the child for this hike and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Ages: 2 – 3 with an adult.  Fee: $4 per child

Adults – grow outside with your children! Hike the park with a Seattle Urban Nature Guide and search for some of the animals associated with Halloween. Be sure to wear your favorite costume to this hike! #185324


Tacoma Giants Part 2: Immersion Tree Walk

Take a walk to the tallest tree in Point Defiance. Immerse yourself into the world of living natural history and fall in love with the infinite shades of green in this in-depth look into the biology and history of our trees. Program requires a significant amount of walking on uneven terrain.


 Cedar River Salmon Journey 

Join the Cedar River Salmon Journey and see spawning salmon in October at several sites along the Cedar River near Renton. Fall: See spawning salmon at one or all four locations along the Cedar River in the Renton and Maple Valley areas on October 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28, 11am–4pm. Each site is unique! It’s Salmon SEEson so come see some salmon!

Sites include:

  • Renton Library – At the Renton Library, stand directly above the salmon and note the many human changes to the Cedar River. 100 Mill Ave South, Renton, WA 98057
  • Cedar River Park (behind the Renton Community Center) At Cedar River Park, see the fish weir and learn how it is used. – 1717 Maple Valley Hwy, Renton, WA 98057
  • Cavanaugh Pond – When you visit Cavanaugh Pond, take a 20 minute tour along the river to view salmon and learn about native plants and habitat restoration. 17410 SE Renton Maple Valley Rd, Renton, WA 98058
  • Landsburg Park and Dam – At Landsburg, learn about greater Seattle’s water supply and watch how some salmon are allowed to pass into the municipal Cedar River Watershed. Landsburg Rd SE, Maple Valley, WA 98038


21 Acres Farm Walk

Join an experienced field guide for a Farm Walk at 21 Acres. Discover how we cultivate systems that support sustainable agriculture and climate action. We invite you to be a part of a community that embraces the benefits of local food and farming.

Held on the second and fourth Saturday from April through October at 11:00 a.m., the walk takes approximately one hour. No reservation needed, simply check in at the 21 Acres’ lobby upstairs when you arrive. Free and open to all ages. Please wear farm appropriate footwear. Come enjoy the farm and rediscover our agricultural heritage.


Recreational Tree Climbing in Volunteer Park

Here you can sign up to join us in one of historic Volunteer Park’s Treemendous Red Oaks. Climbs are held monthly May through October; as long as there’s no thunder/lightning we climb in all weather!

WHEN: Once a month
Hourly 12:00pm – 5:00pm $40/Climber
WHERE: NE Corner of Volunteer Park Enter at E Highland Dr. off 15th Ave E

Come climb with us! Climbers ages 6 and up are invited to strap on a climbing harness and a helmet and ascend ropes up to 60′ into the canopy of a 100 year old Red Oak in Seattle’s Volunteer Park. Our tree is located across E Highland Drive from the newly renovated playground – come out and make a day of it.

Spaces are limited so reserve online. For more information and to sign up visit our website at


Free Family Weekend Walks at the Washington Park Arboretum

Bring the whole family for an hour and half themed walk. During this free public tour, we will stop along the way for games, hands-on activities and learning geared toward children (2-12 years old) and their caregivers.

Tour groups gather in front of the Graham Visitors Center at 12:45pm to start our tour at 1pm, 2nd and 4th Saturdays February-November.

Free Family Weekend Walks are provided to families on a first come first served basis; the first 30 people to check in with the instructor between 12:45-1pm the day of the walk will join us!

Free, no preregistration necessary.

Dates and Themes:

September: Migrate? You’re Great!

Monthly Description:   Let’s use those eagle-eyes! Join us at the Arboretum to scan the skies, watch the water, and peep past the plants in search of feathered friends. We’ll learn about where birds migrate in Fall and how they accomplish such epic journeys.

  • September 8th
  • September 22nd

October: A Coat of Many Colors: Maybe it’s Maple Leaves

Monthly description: Those colors! Maples are beloved around the world for their Autumn beauty. Join us as we learn about why the leaves change and how plants prepare for the cold weather ahead.

  • October 13th
  • October 27th

November: Super Senses

Monthly description: The natural world is exploding with perceptual possibilities! Today, we will channel the super senses of our local wildlife to explore, play, and learn in the Washington Park Arboretum.


Family Nature Walk at Tacoma Nature Center

Explore Tacoma’s Parks during this free naturalist-led walk. Discover amazing plants and animals and how they adapt to the seasons. Walks are organized and led by Tacoma Nature Center staff.

Not recommended for strollers or children under 3. These events are FREE but space is limited. Pre-registration is required. Sign up online or call the Tacoma Nature Center to sign up at (253) 591-6439.


Tacoma Resident Free Day at PDZA

Visitors who live at a Tacoma address will be admitted free on the Tacoma Resident Free Days listed below. Please bring proof of residency.*

Free Admission is valid for daytime visits only. Not valid for special events.

The free day is offered as a thank you to Tacoma voters, who in 1999 approved a $35 million bond issue to pay for Zoo improvements. The money has funded several new additions to the zoo over the past decade, including Kids’ Zone and Animal Avenue, the Asian Forest Sanctuary, Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, animal hospital, new front gate, education center, gift shop and café.

In 2014, Tacoma voters approved the Neighborhood Parks & Zoo Improvements and Safety Upgrades Bond, which enables further improvement of the Zoo, including the replacement of the failing 51-year-old North Pacific Aquarium.

The Zoo also rewards Pierce County residents with discounted admission prices every day. That discount recognizes the support of Pierce County voters, who approved a sales tax in 2000 that contributes to Zoo operations.

2018 Dates

Saturday, January 6
Saturday, January 27
Thursday, February 1
Thursday, February 22
Sunday, March 11
Wednesday, March 21
Wednesday, April 11
Wednesday, September 19
Thursday, September 27
Wednesday, October 10
Sunday, October 28
Sunday, November 4


Sunday Public Sail at the Center for Wooden Boats

Our Cast Off! program allows visitors the chance to sail in classic boats. The boats we use include: Admirable, a Bristol Bay Gillnetter, Amie, a Friendship sloop, Colleen Wagner, an Egret Sharpie, our long-boat Discovery, our New Haven Sharpie Betsy D, or a visiting classic.

Before and after your sail take a walk on the docks and discover the boats. Watch the volunteer crews rigging the boats. They’ll be happy to answer any question you might have, and you may even have a chance to help with the rigging!

Rides start throughout the day and last about 45 minutes. Sign-ups begin in person at 10 am and boats generally depart between 11 am and 3 pm.; space is limited and rides fill quickly. Arrive early to ensure your first choice, especially on sunny days and holidays. One person may sign up five other people who are not present, but no phone reservations are accepted. All ages are welcome and we have life jackets for everyone. We sail rain or shine, but wind conditions may keep us at the dock.


Coal Creek Natural Area Ranger Hike

Explore Coal Creek at the Cinder Mine Trailhead to discover Bellevue’s largest park and get lost in the wilderness while still in the city! This area is rich in history and wildlife you’ll learn about while being guided by a Bellevue Park Ranger. Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.

No pre-registration or RSVP required.

Level of Difficulty: Moderately difficult (2 miles with 240 ft elevation change) Meeting Place: Cinder Mine Trailhead (Newcastle Golf Club Road, west of Redtown Trailhead)