Regardless of where you travel in the Puget Sound region, you’ll experience unlimited hours of family fun. The great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest offer opportunities to hike, view wildlife in a protected habitat or just spend a cool day at the local water park. For families wanting to squeeze in a few more adventures before school starts, you’re in luck, as there are several locations where you can spend the day and still make it home by nightfall.

A bear at the Olympic Game Farm (Credit: Sue Gabel)


The Olympic Game Farm
1423 Ward Road
Sequim, WA 98382
(360) 683-4295
www.olygamefarm.com

The Olympic Game Farm in Sequim has been open for more than 40 years and provides a wildlife viewing opportunity unlike any other. Started as a sanctuary for Disney-starring movie animals, the Olympic Game Farm has rescued and played home to numerous animal species including lions, tigers, wolves, bobcats and many more. Be sure to take the driving tour — the park’s biggest draw — where you will encounter and can feed buffalo, deer, elk, zebra and the always-entertaining bears, at close range.

Wild Waves Theme Park
36201 Enchanted Parkway S.
Federal Way, WA 98003
(253) 661-8000
www.wildwaves.com

Wild Waves Theme Park is much more than just your everyday water park — it is a water park and theme park combined into one. Visitors can choose to splash and play in the water park’s wave pool, drift along the lazy river or slide down one of the many tube slides. On the amusement side of the park, you’ll find a few exhilarating roller coasters, zip-lining opportunities, bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, an antique carousel and much more. Dine on-site and have a Lumberjack burger, pizza or barbecued chicken.

San Juan Excursions
40 Spring St.
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
(800) 809-4253
www.watchwhales.com

The San Juan Islands can be reached by ferry boat from the cities of Seattle, Anacortes or Port Townsend. One of the San Juan’s biggest draws during the summer time is its wildlife viewing boat tours. San Juan Excursions guarantees you’ll see whales during every tour, or your next excursion is free. Orcas, also known as killer whales, are the most prominent during the summer months, and during a wildlife cruise, you’re bound to see at least one pod (family) of orcas frolicking in the surrounding waters. Other animals you may view during your trip include porpoises, seals, sea lions, gray whales, bald eagles and various sea birds.

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Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Ave. E.
Ashford, WA 98304
(360) 569-6575
www.nps.gov

Mount Rainier is one of the most breathtaking sights you’ll see in the state of Washington. At 14,411 feet, this incredible tourist attraction is rarely ever without a gleaming white blanket of snow at its peak. For summertime visitors, Mount Rainier features hiking trails for all levels of hikers, glorious waterfalls, flowering meadows, lush forests, a museum and much more. You may also encounter wildlife during your visit, and park rangers request that visitors do not feed the animals. Be sure to pack a lunch and have a picnic at one of the park’s many picnic areas with exceptional views.

Northwest Trek
11610 Trek Drive E.
Eatonville, WA 98328
(360) 832-6117
www.nwtrek.org

Northwest Trek is a sprawling 725-acre wildlife park that features both free-roaming animals and animals in secure habitat areas. Open for more than 40 years, this premier wildlife destination has been a safe haven and rehabilitation center for injured animals that cannot be released back into the wild, and for a variety of animal species born here in captivity. More than 400 acres of the park feature free-roaming animals such as moose, bison, bighorn sheep, elk, deer and mountain goats. Visitors can ride the park’s tram to view these animals in their natural, protected habitat. There are also walking trails, similar to a zoo, where even more wild animal species are housed including coyotes, bald eagles, owls, wolves, bears, cougars, lynx and bobcats. Visitors can dine on-site at the park’s cafe, or you can bring your lunch and eat at one of the many picnic areas.

Related: Best Summer Vacation Activities In Seattle

Sue Gabel has been writing entertainment and travel-related articles in the greater Puget Sound/Seattle area since 1999. She writes about music, the Seattle scene and more. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.