Local Adventures

Local Adventures: Marine Center and Museum at Fort Worden

Not every outing quantifies as a hike, but this one involved a lot of walking, and even hiking, to happen. Where we live we cannot walk like we used to, back on the mainland. Things are just too far apart and the roads are not safe for walking on the side of with children (our road is 50 mph for example). However, on the mainland in Port Townsend, it is more pedestrian friendly.

Taking a vehicle on the ferry from Coupeville on the island to the main land isn’t cheap and requires reservations. After running the profile on Google Maps I figured we could make it. At the worst I knew there was a public bus we could take back if it was too much. I loaded the boys up with their hiking packs and we set off, walking onto the ferry. Walking to the back gate at Fort Worden can be done a number of ways, pick the street you like, that goes uphill. We took the stairs up, then just set off uphill. You lose sidewalks about halfway up, the roads though are quiet residential with little vehicle traffic. Only in one section (Walnut) did I feel nervous about having the boys road walk. Overall it wasn’t bad, but they got reminded often to stay far left of the white line.

There is also a lot of bored cats that needed lots of petting it seemed.

When you get out of vehicles and walk you see a lot more, such as this really pretty Little Free Library, that was painted by Meg Kaczyk. I love wandering Port Townsend to see the houses, both old and new. It is a small city not defined by cookie cutter homes on the hill, which is refreshing.

The walk goes fast and about 2 miles or so later you come down the hill to the bluff with a view of the pier the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is on, with Point Wilson Lighthouse in the distance.

Walk through the gate and down past the officer houses, cross the roads and head downhill towards the beach. There is sidewalks on one side once you enter the park. (It is free to walk into the park, if you drive in you must have a Discover Pass).

I took the boys to lunch at the Cable House Canteen.

After that we headed out onto the pier to check out the marine center. It is small, but packed full of things to do – and lots of touch displays. The boys enjoyed it very much. Your admission also covers the natural museum that sits near the Canteen. The museum was well done with a full whale skeleton and a lot of activities for children. It is well worth the admission (which isn’t large, $5 an adult, $3 per child over 5 years).

Worn out and ready to walk back, we checked out the trails that cross the ridge, that run between property lines, an old easement system from when the land was platted. The trails are marked with a green sign, and do show up on Google Maps. One note: they are steep and go right up and down. Going up them is easier than down I felt! But you sure can cut off roads quickly.

We dinked around town, getting ice cream and book shopping, then onto the ferry to back home. A storm was brewing and the ride back was pretty epic for a summer crossing. Lots of riding over waves and soaked cars. I was so glad once we docked to get off that ferry……

We walked from the far left to the far right. A great feeling that the boys could do it. We put in about 6 miles in total, for a nice workout.


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