Exploring Washington State from Home: Activities You Can Do Right Now

Exploring looks and feels different these days. We’re getting used to social distancing, new routines and staying home more than usual. Fortunately, staying home doesn’t have to be too boring. In the spirit of making the best of it, here are some ideas for staying busy, finding bright spots and exploring Washington State from home.

Symphony Music

Seattle Symphony, Symphony Tacoma and Spokane Symphony are offering performance broadcasts, Facebook live events and videos from their musicians so people can enjoy their music from home. Follow them on social media for dates and times. Bonus – you can enjoy great classical music from your couch in your pajamas!

Seattle Aquarium 

Get your marine mammal fix with the Seattle Aquarium’s sea otter and harbor seal live streaming cams.

To explore more about the Salish Sea and its creatures, check out the aquarium’s virtual field trips, animal videos, kids’ activities and more.  

Washington’s National Parks

When it comes to views, the ones up close and in person at Mount Rainier are hard to beat. However, when that isn’t an option, try the webcams at Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks. 

Washington’s National Park Fund, a philanthropic partner of Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades National Parks, is hosting virtual field trips using video conferencing. Field trip topics include fishers in Olympic National Park, reading with a ranger storytime for kids and Mount Rainier National Park ranger Q&A. Sign up for future field trips and view recordings of past ones here.

Kids can get a head start on becoming a National Park Junior Ranger from home. Help them pick their park or historic site, print the Junior Ranger booklet and let them get to work on some of the activities.

Burke Museum

The Burke Museum is offering virtual activities and exhibits for all ages. Visitors can learn about amphibians, reptiles and mammals from Washington, as well as about native plants and landscapes. For kids and families, there are coloring pages, crafts and curriculum packets

Foss Waterway Seaport

Tacoma’s Foss Waterway Seaport has free virtual education programs and field trips. Topics include plankton, sea stars, rain and watershed and even a virtual kayaking tour of the Thea Foss Waterway.

Supporting small and local businesses

A little retail therapy may just make you and small business owners smile. Your favorite small shops may still be selling from their websites, Etsy shops or over the phone. Buying gift cards now to use later can also help to show these businesses some love.

Many Washington distilleries and wineries (including Westport Winery and Ocean’s Daughter Distillery, Bellewood Farms Distillery and Heritage Distilling Company to name just a few) have switched over to making hand sanitizer. Some are even donating the sanitizer they make to hospitals and first responders in their communities. Connect with your favorites on social media to see where their donations are going and show your support.

Washington State Parks

The Washington State Parks Foundation has virtual tours of many state parks. Viewers can check out panoramic pictures, maps and park information. Printable Junior Ranger activity sheets from Washington State Parks are also available.

The Museum of Flight

Seattle’s Museum of Flight has launched (pun intended) the Museum of Flight at Home. This online experience offers virtual tours (including several of Boeing planes), podcasts, family activities and more. 

Plan Your Next Adventure

When things get back up and open, we’ll have a lot of exploring to catch up on. Use some of this time to daydream, research and plan your next adventure.

If group trips are your thing, gather your travel buddies (maybe in a virtual happy hour or video meeting?) and get to brainstorming.

For more ways to support Washington businesses from home, check out the following stories:

Photos: Carlin Ma (Seattle Symphony), Bellewood Farms, Seattle Aquarium, The Museum of Flight

Christine Hunt

Christine Hunt

Born and raised in Washington, Christine currently lives with her family in Kent, Washington. She enjoys reading and crafting and exploring with her family. She studied communication at Western Washington University and completed a continuing education certificate in storytelling and content strategy at the University of Washington. Follow her on Instagram: @christine.pnw

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