Adventure on a budget

By Kelsey Par - Staff Reporter

Students on a budget have a plethora of options when it comes to affordable activities throughout South King County.

In Des Moines: The Highline MaST Center boasts the state's third largest aquarium. It is free and open to the public every Saturday.

Its various tanks hold more than 3,000 gallons of saltwater and about 250 native marine species from the Puget Sound.

Public viewings are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. in the summer. On the second Saturday of each month, Marine Science Technician Randy Williams takes the public on a free underwater escapade.

Live Dive events begin at 11 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. and run for approximately 30 minutes. The MaST Center is at 28203 Redondo Beach Drive S. For more information, visit

The Waterland Arcade and Sandbar, in the Des Moines Marina District is both family-friendly and affordable. The arcade features many new and retro arcade games that range from 25-50 cents per play.

The arcade also features a sand bar where those who are 21 and older can purchase $3 beers and ciders. Waterland Arcade is at 22306 Marine View Drive S., and is open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m.

For more information, visit

Saltwater State Park is an 87-acre park that features approximately 1,445 feet of saltwater beachfront on the Puget Sound as well as a swimming beach. The park also has 48 campsites and is a popular location for scuba divers.

Inside the park is an automated pay system where visitors can purchase a $10 one-day pass or an annual Discover Pass. Saltwater Park is open year-round from 8 a.m. to dusk and is at 25205 8th Pl. S. For more information, visit

Also in Des Moines, is the Mt. Rainier Pool that is open year-round and welcomes people of all ages. Some of the many programs the pool offers include swim lessons, lap swims, water exercise, and public and family swims.

Prices range from $3,75-$10 depending upon events and ages. Family and individual long-term pool passes can be purchased and range from $100-$600.

The pool is at 22722 19th Ave, S. For more information regarding hours and events, visit

In Renton: The 8-bit Arcade Bar is a family-themed adult-style arcade that serves beer, milkshakes and pizza. The arcade welcomes all ages until 9 p.m. then changes to 21 and older. 8-bit Arcade Bar features several affordable retro arcade games open to all.

The arcade is open Monday-Friday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 a.m. For more information, call 425-291-7693.

In SeaTac: Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden is a 10.5-acre botanical garden that features various gardens. Some of these include the Sensory Garden, Puget Sound Fuchsia Club, Seike Japanese Garden, Elda Behm's Paradise Garden, and more.

The garden is open from dusk to dawn each day of the year and admission is free. The Botanical Garden is at 13735 24th Ave. S. For more information, visit

In Federal Way: A surplus of entertaining and affordable activities are available for the extreme south county population. The AMC Gateway 8 theater, formally known as the $2 theater, features several new 2D and 3D films for only $2 per ticket (not including snacks and refreshments).

Currently the theater is running Finding Dory, Bad Moms, Jason Bourne, Kubo and the Two Strings, Suicide Squad, The Secret Life of Pets, Ice Age: Collision Course, and more.

Gateway 8 is at 2501 S., in the Gateway Center. For more information, visit

Also in Federal Way, is the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden that features self-guided tours through the largest collections of species rhododendrons in the world. The garden is home to more than 700 species found in the wilds of Asia, Europe and North America.

General admission is $8, $5 for students and seniors and free for children ages 12 and younger. Hours are Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but it is closed on Mondays.

The garden is at 2525 S., 336th St. For more information, visit

Dash Point State Park is positioned on the Puget Sound and features a 398-acre camping park and 3,301 feet of saltwater beachfront. Park activities include eight miles of biking trails, 11 miles of hiking trails, freshwater fishing, swimming, bird watching, sailboarding, and more.

Dash Point is open year round from 8 a.m. to dusk and requires a day-pass or Discovery Pass that can be purchased on site.

The park is at 5700 S.W., Dash Point Road. For more information, visit

Also in Federal Way, Trampoline Nation has more than 5,000 square feet of trampolines arranged together in a large open space. Ages 3 and older can enjoy the gym's launch zone, dodgeball, and more.

For children 3 and younger, there is a separate area where they can jump safely. Monday-Friday prices are $11 for the first hour and $7 for additional hours and $11 per hour Saturday and Sunday.

Hours are 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Trampoline Nation is at 35025 Enchanted Parkway S. For more information, visit

The Federal Way Community Center Pool features a leisure pool, two-story water slide, play structure, lap pool, diving board, and more. Admission is free for ages 2 and younger, $4 for children ages 3-11, $5 for teens ages 12-17, $8 for adults, and $5 for seniors.

The Community Center is at 876 S., 333rd Street. For more information regarding hours and events, visit

Also in Federal Way is Pattison's West Family Skate Center. The skating-rink features events such as family skate night, beginners class, advanced class, and public skate at various times throughout the week.

Admission is $10 with the skate rental included and $7 for those who bring their own skates. The skate center is at 34222 Pacific Highway South.

For more information on hours and scheduling, visit

In Auburn: The Flaming Geyser State Park in Auburn is a 480-acre park known for model-airplane flying and water activities on the Green River. Flaming Geyser State Park got its name from the historic flaming geyser that is no longer lit due to the reduction of its methane source. The park is open from 8 a.m. to dusk year-round. Model-airplane flying hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to dusk Friday.

The park is at Green Valley Road and Southeast 354th Street. For more information, visit

Drama lovers can enjoy a night out at a live theater performance at the Auburn Avenue Theater. The theater features several different family-friendly, comical, and holiday-themed performances. Upcoming performances include The Elves and The Toymaker, Danny Vernon – An Inspirational Christmas with Elvis, Yule Be Rockin' – A Family Holiday Concert, A Christmas Story Musical, Comedy at the Ave., and more.

The theater is at 10 Auburn Ave. For more information, visit

In Tukwila: ACME Bowl is home to 30 public bowling lanes, an arcade, shuffleboard, lane-side Break Room restaurant, and more.

Games prices range from $3.75-$6.25 per hour depending upon the time and date and shoe rentals are $4 per player. ACME Bowl is at 100 Andover Park W#100.

For more information about hours and events, visit

The Tukwila Pool features lap swim, open swim, family swim, water aerobics, club swim, and more. The pool operates 7 days a week and offers a wide array of public swim times.

Admission price is $3 for youth, veterans, and seniors, and $4 for adults. Long-term passes are available and range from $27-$380.

Tukwila Pool is at 4414 S. 144th St. For more information regarding hours and events, visit

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