The Great Indoors- Part II

Do you wonder what the weather is like in Vancouver? The short answer is unpredictable. Locals can be spotted easily because we will be umbrella-less in a deluge. We have become accustomed to frequent showers. While I cannot speak for all of us, I buy several pairs of dollar-store sunglasses. They are easily lost when the sun chooses to hide for days on end and easily replaced when it announces its reappearance with a glaring radiance. While I’ve heard the great outdoors as a turn of phrase commonly associated with the wonders of nature, there is much to be said about the great indoors as well; small escapes when the great outdoors causes even Northwesterners to stay in.

The Early Learning Center (ELC)- Vancouver Community Library

One such place to get away with littles is The Early Learning Center at the Vancouver Community Library. Tucked in the back of the third floor at 901 C Street, exploration abounds. While an employee of the library, I shelved books, straightened chairs, and put toys away all while admiring the art and educational value of this award-winning area. After I came back with my baby, I found so much more to explore. I never noticed the nursery rhymes hidden in plain sight, the tool-matching game, or the bench just conveniently located near the board books for the littlest among the patrons to take a break. The Early Learning Center has recently been remodeled, so even if you’ve been several times, come see what’s new. The sheer variety to do here is well-deserving of a part in The Great Indoors series.

More information can be found here:

At Vancouver Community Liibrary’s Early Learning Center, children can gaze into the depths of a bottomless ocean. Their imagination holds no limits!
The Letter Factory helps children create letters in a way other than pen and paper!
Are you having difficulty teaching a child how to tie their shoe? A change of environment may help!
Is the child in your life into all things nautical? Bring them in for a hands-on rope-tying encounter!
A new way to look at geography: viewing the continents by their coins.
A favorite of my son’s since he could crawl over to it, this wheel turns to spin the fan. The raindrops on the ceiling are blown by the wind it creates.
My son loves to play restaurant here. In this picture, he is preparing an egg for cooking. He used a novel to serve a menu.

Noah’s Ark Play Park

Pre-pandemic, we came to Noah’s Ark Play Park often. While Michael has outgrown it, the joy of having an indoor gym and play equipment not found at home served to aid a weary mom and busy toddler during rainy mornings. In addition to the variety of toys and play equipment, play dough and craft tables allow for creativity and contemplation and add something more to do indoors.

My friend Lilly Josten and I spent many an hour here watching our little ones and getting a few rare moments to talk as adults.

The first visit is free. More info can be found here:

My son thoroughly enjoyed filling his car with gas at Noah’s Ark Play Park.

Round 1 Bowling and Amusement

I LOVE this arcade. We took my son one day on a whim and the entire family was instantly hooked! I will admit two things, however-

  • It is HARD to not spend money fast here. Set a limit before you go. Research available deals and how to get the most for your money. If a machine takes your money (preloaded on a card), tell an employee. Keep your card on you at all times. Trust me, the money goes fast.
  • I cannot speak to the bowling, billiards, or concessions at Round 1 as I have not tried them. I feel like I’m cheating by not bowling at Big Al’s, where my husband and I had our first date. However, in the arcade, there is enough to do to keep you busy for hours indoors.

Now that housekeeping is out of the way, I’ll let you in on a secret: this is the best place for me to blow off steam. You put me in Round One and suddenly I’m winning a motorcycle race in Tokyo and screaming “YESSSSSS!” in a room crowded with teenagers. I’m icing zombies out of existence with my son or playing rounds of Pac-Man pinball with him. My husband and I are blowing up dinosaurs with machine guns. This quiet library worker suddenly turns into a youth minister adrenaline junkie and I love every minute of it!

If you need to grab some fresh air but still want to be protected from the elements, a game of cornhole awaits just outside under the covered area for free.

More information on Round 1 can be found here:

Rolling a die for Monopoly at Round 1 Bowling and Amusement, Vancouver, WA

Whether indoors or out, our corner of the great Northwest offers much to do. I’d love to hear from you, especially in the comments. Do you have a favorite great indoor attraction? Have you tried any of them I’ve listed? Let me know!

I dedicate every blog to someone. Lilly Josten, I dedicate this one to you. The short amount of time I had with you in Washington wasn’t enough in time but abounded in content. Your witty outlook, domestic skills, and ability to question established practices in light of ethics have continued to shape who I am. I’m a better person for having known you.

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

Until next time- Tammy

Published by nearvancouver

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

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