13 ways to beat summer boredom in Federal Way

Georgette the Giant Pacific Octopus was a recent attraction at Highline
Georgette the Giant Pacific Octopus was a recent attraction at Highline's Marine, Science and Technology (MaST) center. MaST's Water Weekends allow the local community to interact with the underwater communities of the the Puget Sound. Visitors can 'see' and 'touch' animals from Puget Sound in 11 large flow-through tanks.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

There's just a few short weeks left of summer vacation. School in Federal Way starts before Labor Day this year on Sept. 2.

Most residents in Washington have sun guilt — that feeling of "if the sun is out, I really should be enjoying it, no matter what I really feel like do." Banish the sun guilt and get outdoors, explore some new places or visit old favorites. It won't be long until the months of rain are back.

For parents and kids who have run out of things to do, here are ideas to banish the summer boredom.

Free options

There are plenty of free options for outdoor activities in the remaining days of nice weather:

• Dash Point State Park, at 5700 SW Dash Point Road, has more than 3,000 feet of saltwater shoreline for those who want to swim, skim board, play on the beach, hike or camp.

• Steel Lake Park, at 2410 S. 312th St., has a giant wooden playset for youngsters along with a boat launch and skateboard park. There is also a swimming beach and plenty of areas for picnicking.

• Redondo Beach is located at the northern end of 1st Avenue. There is public and boater access to the beach as well as a wooden boardwalk during high tide. Salty's seafood restaurant is right on the water.

• There is also Highline's Marine, Science and Technology (MaST) center at Redondo. MaST's Water Weekends allow the local community to interact with the underwater communities of the the Puget Sound. Visitors can "see" and "touch" animals from Puget Sound in 11 large flow-through tanks. The center has volunteers, known as stewards, who give talks about the sea life in the tanks as well as caring for the creatures while spectators can watch. Until recently, the center had its own octopus, which was recently released back into the wild. Keep your eyes out for a new one. The plan is to put another octopus in the center once divers find one in the Puget Sound. The center hosts more than 100 species of local marine life. The MaST Center is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, and is free to the general public. For more information, visit

• The West Hylebos Wetlands Park, which features walking trails and a wooden boardwalk, is Federal Way's hidden nature gem located off South 348th Street. Admission is free.

More adventures

• There is always the option of Wild Waves, the water theme park in Federal Way. Tickets are $40 and under. The park features rides for kids, families and thrill seekers, like the Wild Thing roller coaster. Visit

• PowellsWood Garden, run by Monte Powell and family, is a 2-acre private garden with several "rooms." There is also a manmade stream and a pond that drains into Puget Sound. The Powells spent years getting the land ready for a garden, replacing the soil so it could again support life. Now there are several thriving areas, including the Perennial Borders Garden, The Woodland Garden and the Patio and Garden Room. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Self-guided tours are $5, guided tours by appointment are $8. To arrange a visit to the garden, call (253) 529‑1620 or visit

• The Rhododendron Garden, located at 2525 S. 336th St. on the Weyerhaeuser campus, has species blooming year round. The garden is open 10 a.m to 4 p.m. daily (except Thursdays), March through September. From October through February, the garden is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed on Thursdays and Fridays). The non-profit garden is not affiliated with Weyerhaeuser corporation. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, and free for children under 12. There is also free admission from November to February.


• Laser Quest, located at 2210 S. 320th St., is open 1 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8.50. There are several events lined up in August. There is an End of Summer Bash Overnighter on Aug. 21, starting at 11:45 p.m. and running until 6 a.m. Cost is $35 per person before Aug. 18, or $40 at the door. Ironman Missions are held Fridays and Saturdays, where for $10 at 9:20 p.m. and 10:20 p.m., participants can get 30 minutes of intense laser fights.

• Bowling is an option for all ages. Secoma Lanes at 34500 Pacific Highway S. has been a Federal Way mainstay since 1959. Call (253) 927-0611.

• Java Billiards, 34507 Pacific Highway S., hosts an alcohol-free all-ages pool league for the Federal Way community. All skill levels welcome. Individuals, families or groups from organizations such as churches are welcome to enter. Call (253) 838-2837.

• Want your kid to be the next Olympian? Both Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski got their starts skating at Pattison's West, 34222 Pacific Highway S. According to their website, the entire Pattison family has a history of being around skating rinks. The Pattison family moved east following a fire at their rink on Redondo Beach that devastated the first family skating rink owned by Mike's grandfather in 1951. Mike Pattison and his wife Kay moved back to the Federal Way area and own a skating rink of their own in 1979. Pattison's West is now managed by Mark and Darin Pattison. Novices can skate for $5 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. There is also Family Night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sundays. Evening skates are from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and admission is $7.

• Day passes are available at the Federal Way Community Center, starting at $4, depending on the child's age. Annual passes for a household run $739 a year or $61.58 a month. The center has pools and a 27-foot climbing wall as well as three gyms. There's also a game room that features a pool table. The center is located at 876 S. 333rd St. Call (253) 835-6900.

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