You’re going to love spring on the Kitsap Peninsula! In fact, there are so many family-friendly parks, trails, museums and adventures awaiting you, it’s tough to know where to begin. So here’s our insider’s guide to 10 absolutely awesome activities. We promise, you’re going to have a blast!
Touch a bug or snake
Bremerton’s Bug and Reptile Museum, 1118 Charleston Beach Road W, is perfect for any kid who thinks creepy-crawlies are cool. There’s an 8-foot long ant farm, glasses that let you see like a bug and lots of weird and wonderful insects and snakes that you can touch. Best of all, the museum is free and open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Command a submarine
You’re in charge in the control room of the Cold War submarine USS Greenling at the Naval Undersea Museum , 1 Garnett Way, Keyport. Look through the periscope, steer, fire weapons and plot a course, then learn about the ocean environment, torpedo technology, mine warfare, navy diving and more. The museum is free and is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Tuesday and Easter.
Visit a playground that works for everyone
Bremerton’s Evergreen Park, 1500 Park Ave., is a 10-acre gem with water access, dog- and kid-friendly paths, picnic shelters and a fully accessible playground where children of all abilities can have fun. Components include fully supportive swings, a double-wide deck structure with guardrails, a glider that can accommodate wheelchairs and ramps that reach all elevated play activities. The materials are anti-static and latex-free.
Ride a miniature steam-powered train
All aboard the Kitsap Live Steamers Railroad, 3101 SE Marbeth Lane, Port Orchard, for a ride through the woods of South Kitsap Regional Park and back to a steam-powered era that will delight all ages. Admission is by donation. The trains typically run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. two Saturdays a month. On April 15, there’s a special run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. plus an Easter Egg Hunt at noon. Signups for the egg hunt start at 11 a.m.
Explore a Vietnam-era destroyer
One of the coolest things about visiting the USS Turner Joy, 300 Washington Beach Ave., Bremerton, is that you can explore the ship from stem to stern and imagine what it was like to go to sea. Be sure to seek out a docent who can tell you about the ship’s glory days. Allow at least an hour, wear non-slip shoes and be ready to climb steep ladders. Strollers are not allowed on board and young children must be supervised. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Closed on Easter. Tickets cost $14 for adults, $10 for youth ages 13-17 and $8 for children ages 5-12. Admission is free for children age 4 and younger. There are discounts for seniors, veterans and AAA members.
Visit a lighthouse
Point No Point Lighthouse, 9009 Point No Point Road NE, Hansville, is the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound and it commands one of the most stunning views on the Kitsap Peninsula. You can tour the lighthouse between noon and 4 p.m. on weekends. There’s a wide sandy beach on both sides of the point, so you’ll want to allow plenty of time to explore. Look for fishermen, kite flyers, migrating water birds and awesome driftwood structures. Don’t miss the hand-dipped ice cream at the nearby Hansville store.
Hop, skip, walk or bike along the Clear Creek Trail
This urban trail runs more than 7 miles through the heart of Silverdale, winding through woods and meadows. You’ll have to cross a few busy streets, but you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous scenery and quiet spots where there are wetlands, ponds, giant cedar stumps and a picturesque iron and concrete bridge. Download a map here and be sure to pack a picnic. Don’t miss Old Mill Park on Dyes Inlet. It’s also fun to explore Old Town Silverdale and end or begin your adventure at Silverdale Waterfront Park.
Check out a museum that’s all about kids
At Kids Discovery Museum, 301 Ravine Lane, Bainbridge Island, it’s all about hands-on fun. There’s a pirate tree house, a kid-sized town complete with ferry, and science exhibits about motion, light and magnets that will make your kid say, “Wow!” Check the calendar for special activities like Messy Mondays and Discovery Fridays. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Closed on Easter. Admission is $8 with a $1 off for seniors and military.
Pull the strings at your own puppet show
Bremerton’s Valentinetti Puppet Museum, 280 Fourth St. (inside the Kitsap Historical Society Museum), has an amazing collection of puppets from around the world that are truly works of art, but your kids will probably have the most fun in the play area where they can create their own puppet shows. There’s also a fabulous gift shop. Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays – Saturdays, 5-8 p.m. First Fridays. Suggested donations: $2 for adults, $1 for students or $5 per family.
Play at a park where you can see submarines and a drawbridge
Salsbury Point County Park, 3160 NW Wheeler St., Poulsbo, has a pirate ship play structure, beach access, picnic tables and a huge grassy expanse for playing games. And all of that makes it worth a visit, but we especially love this park for its spectacular view of the Hood Canal bridge. If you’re lucky, you might get to see the drawbridge open to let tall boats go through. If you’re really lucky, you might even see a submarine go by on its way to or from nearby Bangor submarine base.
Ready to plan your spring getaway to the Kitsap Peninsula? Start at VisitKitsap.com, where you can find lodging and dining options plus lots more ideas for family fun.