The Great Indoors

If you’ve lived in the Northwest for any period of time, you know how unpredictable the weather can be. If it’s not ice too slick to walk on or rains so heavy they cause flooding, it’s the one hundred-plus degree days that occasionally hit in summer. Thus I’m going to highlight some fun and adventurous indoor places nearby.

Kray’s Coffee

While most people come here for the coffee and pastries (and believe me, they are excellent. My lavender latte was too delicious to put into words), the draw for me is the swings. On my most recent trip, my son had a blast being in a coffee shop where you could get your energy out. We didn’t take it to the extreme, mainly because no other children were among the clientele.

Nestled in Vancouver Plaza, you can make a day of it. A movie theater, stores, restaurants, a book shop, and a

pet store are all within walking distance of each other. Plus if the kids get tired, Chuck E. Cheese is set apart in the corner. The plaza itself is a bit outdated but still fun. Kray’s seems like a premonition to possible gentrification.

Battle Ground Puzzle Exchanges

Inside the Battle Ground Library and Urban Basics, there are puzzle exchanges. The idea is simple; trade out old puzzles for new ones. From what I’ve seen, each location carries a diverse selection including occasional Ravensburger puzzles. Urban Basics remains a favorite shopping location. It has the small-town atmosphere of Battle Ground with a swanky big-city boutique feel. A big thank you to my mom who took photos at Urban Basics so I could stay home with my sick boy.

Great Wolf Lodge

Enjoy Great Wolf Lodge as a family member or even as an alone adult looking to entertain your inner child. The water park is one hour and twenty-one minutes from downtown Vancouver, Washington. Great Wolf Lodge’s water park roars with activity. It boasts several watersides, a great cub pool, a huge water bucket, a wave pool, a basketball pool, and a warming pool. Be sure to check out the murals while waiting in line for the larger slides. They seem to be an often-missed source of enjoyment. The huge ceiling fans amaze too and you get an up-close view getting ready to ride the tornado.

It is more than just a waterpark, however. Several other activities please guests. Restaurants abound. Oliver’s Mining Company looks like a lot of fun as well.

I will leave most of the expensive options to those who want to spend the cash to discover. Since I try to highlight affordability, I thought I would highlight some ways to save:

  • Search for discounted stays and max out room occupancy. Each time I went to Great Wolf Lodge, I found a 50% off deal on Groupon and got a room for two adults and four children for half price. Deals can also be found here: Check with your concierge or a local friend for additional discounts.
  • If your family cannot meet the maximum room occupancy, buddy up with another adult or give the remaining occupancy as a gift. The first time I went, I purchased a half-price deal from Groupon, took my son, and split the cost with my cousin and three children. The second time, I took those same children for their Christmas presents. Each time held its own rewards.
  • If you have time, make the most of the destination by creating a road trip. Atlas Obscura lists offbeat tourist attractions en route. Several national and state parks are on the way. If none of these appeal to you, splurge on a hobby by supporting an out-of-town local business. If playing music is your thing, research instrument shops on the way. If writing, perhaps a stationery store deserves a visit! Is crocheting your hobby of choice? Seek out yarn shops.
  • Take advantage of the free entertainment. When you arrive, you will be given a sheet with story times and other family-friendly activities. These fun activities are usually complimentary with your stay.
  • Bring your own food or drive to neighboring restaurants with more inexpensive prices.
  • Splurge a little bit for a one-of-a-kind souvenir. We purchased items in the gift shop, including Tylenol for my cousin, and got a free stuffed animal for my boy. The arcade is a fun place to spend a little money for children. The prizes they win can serve as a memory of their trip for years to come. My son chose a backscratcher for a prize years ago and uses it to this day.
  • Art, art, art. Take a self-made scavenger hunt to find as many pieces of art as you are able. It will be in surprising places. Even the garbage cans are decorated!
  • Bring microwave popcorn and opt for a movie night after a day of swimming, or bring video and board games. TVs in each room have cable TV and also ports for video game consoles. We’ve done both and had a blast each time!

I truly hope you are inspired by this blog. Follow me to ensure you don’t miss any local travel blogs. I always dedicate them to someone. This is no exception. I would like to dedicate this to the hardworking individuals who make Kray’s Coffee so much fun!

Reader, dream fearlessly, buy locally, travel locally, and remember just because it’s in your backyard doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit!

Published by nearvancouver

Dreaming big and traveling locally in or near Vancouver, WA.

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