Rain or shine, kids want to be active exploring and discovering. Here are a few ideas, both indoors and outdoors, to keep them (and you) happy and busy. Locations are in Bellingham unless noted.
Peek at the past
Lynden Pioneer Museum features a life-size replica of Lynden’s historic downtown, a full-size early 20th century farmhouse, and more than 60 vintage buggies, cars and tractors, plus agricultural exhibits and a First Nations display. Visit the museum store, which carries books on local history and Delft ware from Holland.
Lynden Pioneer Museum, 217 Front St., Lynden
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Cost: $7 adults, $4 seniors and students, free for ages 6 and younger; free on Sundays
Details: 360-354-3675, lyndenpioneermuseum.com
Get into the light
For a date with your special someone or for an excursion with your kids, Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building is a ray of warmth on a rainy day. With traveling exhibits from around the country and a special Family Interactive Gallery with hands-on activities for kids, it’s sure to dry out even the dampest spirit.
Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher, 250 Flora St.
Hours: Noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; until 8 p.m. Thursdays; open at 10 a.m. Saturdays. FIG hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
Cost: $10 general, $8 students, seniors and active military, $4.50 ages 2-5; free for those younger than 2 and for members.
Details: 360-778-8930, whatcommuseum.org.
On the rails
Bellingham Railway Museum offers a fascinating look at the history of railroads in a family-friendly environment. Displays include a G-gauge layout depicting logging and mining railroads, an interactive Lionel model train exhibit, and a train simulator.
Bellingham Railway Museum, 1320 Cornwall Ave.
Hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
Cost: $4 adults, $2 ages 2-17, free for those younger than 2, $9 family of four
Details: 360-393-7540, bellinghamrailwaymuseum.org.
Each winter and spring, the majestic birds gather on the Nooksack River to feast on salmon. Vantage points at Deming Eagle Park offer incredible views of the phenomenon. Don’t forget your binoculars, and a leash for your dog if you bring Fido.
Deming Eagle Park, 8160 Truck Road, off Mount Baker Highway, Deming. Drive east on Mount Baker Highway for 14.8 miles from I-5. Turn right on Truck Road and continue for 0.6 miles. The gravel parking lot and sign indicates the park.
Details: 360-599-2776, http://www.whatcomcounty.us/2065/Deming-Homestead-Eagle-Park
The average non-Olympian probably feels like newborn Bambi wobbling over a slick ice rink, but that’s no reason not to lace up some skates and go. Admission is cheaper than a movie, and watching your friends lose every ounce of dignity is probably much more entertaining. There’s even a snack bar.
Sportsplex, 1225 Civic Field Way
Cost: Community skate, open to everyone; $2.50 per person plus skate rental. Adult skate for 16 and older; $6 per person plus skate rental. Public skate, open to everyone; youths 17 and younger $5, adults 18 and older $6 plus skate rental. Home-school skate (available during school year), open to everyone, $2.50 per person plus skate rental. Skate rental $2.50.
Details: 360-676-1919, bellinghamsportsplex.com
Early Whatcom County homesteaders Hans and Lida Berthusen left a legacy for generations – 20 acres of well-kept old-growth forest that is home to picnic areas, overnight camping and miles of flat wooded trails for walking or mountain biking nestled in the farmlands just west of Lynden. There’s a huge barn on the property and three covered shelters for group reservations.
Berthusen Park, 8837 Berthusen Road, west of Lynden
Hours: Open year-round, dawn to dusk.
Cost: Free, camping and rental fees vary.
Details: 360-354-6717, whatcom.kulshan.com (go to Lynden, Outdoor)
See sea life
Kids love to dip their fingers in the critter touch tank at the Squalicum Harbor interpretive center, where volunteers are on hand to answer questions. The family-oriented facility has three large aquariums and an observation pool brimming with such fascinating sea life as fish, crabs and sea stars.
Marine Life Center, 1801 Roeder Ave.
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. September-May; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. June-August
Cost: Free, donations appreciated
Details: 360-671-2431, marinelifecenter.org.
Shop at a farmers market
Bellingham Farmers Market, one of the largest in Washington, is packed with locally grown produce and handcrafted items. Bring cash and choose from a range of tasty goods, including freshly baked bread and delicious vegetables and fruit. Live music adds color to the lively community event. The last day of the month is Kids’ Vending Day.
Bellingham Farmers Market, Railroad Avenue, between Maple and Chestnut streets
Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturdays, April through December.
Also at Fairhaven Village Green, noon-5 p.m. Wednesdays, June through September.
Details: 360-647-2060, bellinghamfarmers.org.
When you need a little time to yourself, send the kids on a date with dad to Bellingham Cruise Terminal. Kids enjoy seeing the enormous boats docked around the pier. Bonus: Dad can check out ferry and cruise schedules for your next vacation.
Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Ave.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Details: 360-676-2500, portofbellingham.com (go to Maritime).
Roller skating classes are available for Tiny Tots, when parents may skate or walk with kids and strollers can be on the skating floor. Classes for beginners also available. Whether it’s a celebration for a birthday, drop-in hockey, skate lessons or just a spin on the floor, there’s nothing quite like a day of roller skating. It’s old-fashioned fun and great exercise.
Lynden Skateway, 421 Judson St. (in the alley), Lynden
Hours and costs: Vary
Details: 360-354-3851, lyndenskateway.com
Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, , 1312 Bay St., has more than 1,000 radios and an array of 19th-century electromagnetic equipment that depict the history of radio and electricity. The nonprofit organization offers self-guided tours, workshops and special events.
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday
Cost: $8 adults, $5 for ages 11 and younger, free for members: Group with tour guide by appointment: $9 adults; $7 ages 11 and younger; With MegaZapper Electrical Show (Saturdays and Sundays): $12 adults; $9 children (not recommended for children younger than 4)
Details: 360-738-3886, sparkmuseum.org