Trail Mix and a Brave Adventure with my guys (Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, near Olympia, Washington)


June 11, 2014 by Terumi

nisqually wildlife refuge with kids

Every so often I get a whole day with my guys all to myself. I let the dishes pile up. I leave the little messes to figure themselves out until after the kids go to bed. And I plot some ridiculous adventure. And we go.

On days like these we’ve ended up at the Northwest Trek or waiting in line to feed elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo.  We’ve ridden the ducks or headed for fishing and shopping adventures. This time I wanted to see if I could do something a little less spendy and a little bit more back to nature. The guys thought we should go to the Olympia Children’s Museum.

walking the boardwalk at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

But I had heard about something in Olympia that also sounded pretty cool.  I think this adventure was inspired by some memories we had from Refiel Bird Sanctuary up in British Columbia and I was curious if we had one here.

And then I found the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. So I piled up all the leftover snack bags of goldfish, peanuts, m and ms and craisins on the table and had the kids mix them up and make us trail mix bags while I figured out if going to this place was a sensible plan for the day. I had left over tortillas so I peanut buttered and jammed them up too so we could lunch if we were stuck out on the trail.


And off we went for the hike.  I just put the name “Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge into our GPS and it got us there just fine. The trip was about an hour from our house in Seattle and  3 dollars to park the car and we stopped at the visitors center for maps and bathroom and asked about the paths that would be the best for one mama and her two five-year-olds.

#hikingwithkids #seattlenisqually wildlife refuge hike with kids
We decided to a do a few miles to do the boardwalk trail and a little bit of the trek out on a dyke.  The guys got pretty tired, but we saw so many neat birds and animals and they liked that there were signs and telescopes and places to stop.

barns at nisqually wildlife refuge
We saw birds and baby geese.

birds at the wildlife refugebaby geese
We searched for frogs.

frogfrog in the grass
Someone told us where to find a snake,

snake in the grass
And we noticed a deer nibbling on some grass.

deer in the grass at Nisqually Refuge

We want to come back here with the hubby.  I love that there is a table that shows you the seasons of wildlife on the Nisqually Refuge website because I didn’t realize so many animals were out there in our wilderness and I really want to see a beaver or a mink the next time we visit.  And even though I fully exhausted myself and the guys it was so fun just hanging out together in nature and it was rewarding to see that we had such a memorable adventure without spending a lot,  I felt like one terifically brave mama for taking my kids out into the wilderness by myself and I think this hike has given me a lot of confidence for our next adventures together too!

(Have you been here?  And if so, what kind of wildlife did you see when you visited?)

nisqaully wildlife refuge





  1. Marta says:

    I love this. First of that looks like an amazing place to visit and second I love the idea of just taking off on an adventure. I regularly tell my son I want to do that, but in practicality never take the day off work and pull them out of school/camp/daycare/whatnot to go on an adventure. Maybe finally one of these days this summer I truly will!

    • Terumi says:

      Thanks Marta! I love just getting up and going and sometimes I forget that it’s worth it for even simple things-it doesn’t have to be a trip or something flashy or expensive. I hope you have an awesome summer and I hope you get a day of adventure too and I’d love to hear about it when you do:)

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