Puget Sound Estuarium

The South Sound Estuary Association’s (SSEA) Estuarium is a marine life discovery center featuring aquariums, interactive activities, and interpretive exhibits.  It’s a great place to visit for all ages. See our website for hours and admission information.

Our Exhibits:

  • Aquariums featuring an amazing diversity of animals from intertidal, subtidal environments in South Puget Sound.
  • Preserved specimens from the depths of Puget Sound.
  • Video Programming features an exciting array of short videos from local organizations and projects.
  • Hands on Exhibits include the “Web of Life”, microscopes, coloring, puzzles, and aquarium activities. While not ideal for very young children, hands on activities at the Estuarium are great for school age children.
  • Interpretive Exhibits are highly educational on a variety of subjects relating to South Puget Sound ecology, geology, restoration, and recreation.
  • The Community Billboard connects visitors to upcoming opportunities beyond the Estuarium to enjoy and protect Puget Sound.

Volunteer Opportunities:

We operate the Estuarium largely using volunteers as docents and as marine educators. If you are interested in volunteering fill out a volunteer form on our website.

309 State Ave. NE
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 915-0773


Walk N Roll Program

Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll program works with schools and community partners to offer activities that educate and encourage youth to walk, bike, and take the bus. The Walk N Roll program hopes to create a healthier, safer, and more active community.

Walk N Roll offers a variety of educational and outreach activities:

  • Walk N Roll to School Days encourage youth and their families to walk or bike to school. The Walk N Roll program provides schools with the tools and coordination to make their events successful.
  • The School Bike Challenge is part of the Thurston County Bicycle Commuter Challenge. The Walk N Roll program helps schools organize a two week long bike challenge during the month of May. Students log their miles to win prizes. 
  • Pace Car Pledge asks drivers to commit to making roads safer for biking and walking by driving the speed limit, avoiding distractions, being cautious around kids, stopping for pedestrians, and sharing the road with bikes.
  • Rolling Classroom field trips provide school groups the chance to ride an Intercity Transit bus, tour the maintenance facility, and ride through the bus wash. Classroom presentations are also provided to prepare students for their bus riding experience.
  • Kidical Mass family bike rides provide an opportunity for youth and their families to practice biking on low-traffic roads. Rides include fun activities and family-friendly destinations. 
  • Earn-a-Bike classes teach middle school students basic mechanical and bicycle safety skills in the classroom and on the road. Students in need receive a bike refurbished by volunteers upon completion of the class.
  • The Walk N Roll Bike Shop is a volunteer staffed facility where donated and reclaimed bikes are refurbished. Completed bikes are given to youth participating in Walk N Roll activities.


Walk N Roll

Nisqually Reach Nature Center

For more than 30 years, the Nisqually Reach Nature Center has offered environmental education to thousands of youth and young adults at Luhr Beach in Olympia, Washington, and in the classroom. The Center provides field trip opportunities, supplemental classroom activities and summer camps, all aimed at sharing the beauty and uniqueness of the Nisqually Estuary and learning the values of conservation, particularly with regard to South Puget Sound. The Center has four salt-water tidal aquariums filled with crabs, sea stars, anemones and other marine animals that live in the waters of South Puget Sound.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Do you want to know how you can become involved with our organization? We can always use help! Our volunteer opportunities include:

  • Staff volunteers for the Nature Center
  • Environmental Educators to assist with school groups and field trips
  • Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee
  • Special Projects

Visit our website to learn more!

Nisqually Reach Nature Center

4949 D’Milluhr Dr. NE

Olympia, WA 98516

(360) 459-0387



Facebook Page

Mount Rainier Institute

In partnership with Mount Rainier National Park, University of Washington created the Mount Rainier Institute. Located at Pack Forest, Mount Rainier Institute is a residential environmental learning center that uses the natural and cultural resources of Mount Rainier National Park and Pack Forest to achieve its mission. Mount Rainier Institute provides schools in our region with in-depth, multi-day programs focusing on science/STEM education. Mount Rainier Institute also helps connect students and teachers to Mount Rainier National park, and uses the park and Pack Forest as its “classroom.” We partner with schools to provide experiences that enhance curriculum, enrich science, and build community.

School Programs
Mount Rainier Institute provides outstanding nature-based education experiences that are rooted in science and nurture the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders. In partnership with the National Park Service, Mount Rainier Institute uses the natural and cultural resources of Mount Rainier National Park and University of Washington’s Pack Forest to help students learn and to develop their relationship with the environment through an educational adventure they will remember for a lifetime. Mount Rainier Institute programs provide a mix between interdisciplinary content with science process skills such as observation, inquiry, analysis, and supporting claims with evidence. Mount Rainier Institute educators will work with teachers to better integrate the Mount Rainier Institute experience into their classroom curriculum.

Programs are 4 days and 3 nights (Monday-Thursday), or 3 days and 2 nights (Monday-Wednesday & Wednesday-Friday). 4-day programs are given scheduling priority. 5-day and 1-day programs will be considered based on availability.

Fall season begins mid-September through mid-November. Spring season begins mid-March through mid-June.

Programs can be tailored to meet the needs of upper elementary, middle school, and high school.


John Hayes


(253) 692-4161


WET Science Center

The WET (Water Education & Technology) Science Center in Olympia, WA is a fun, hands-on place to learn all about water – our most precious resource. It’s always free to visit and features interactive exhibits, weekend family activities, tours, and school programs. School programs are for 5th grade students and older.

Interactive exhibits
There are a variety of games and activities for all ages, although most are designed for older children ages 10 and up, as well as adults. An optional scavenger hunt guides visitors through eight stations of exploration and earns you a prize. Exhibits and interactive video games include information about:

  • The natural and built water cycle, water use, and water conservation.
  • Wastewater treatment, including the role of bacteria in the nitrogen removal process.
  • What not to flush or put down the drain.
  • Production and use of Class A Reclaimed Water.
  • Career opportunities at LOTT Clean Water Alliance.
  • Stewardship of the Puget Sound.

Presentations, Field Trips, and Tours
Presentations and tours are designed for 5th grade students and older, and must be pre-arranged. Presentation length and content can be modified to best meet the needs of the group. All presentations support the Next Generation Science Standards. See the Education Menu for options and full program descriptions.

Internships, Volunteering, Job Shadows
We offer opportunities to serve as a volunteer, intern, or participate in a job shadow experience. Volunteers and interns assist with our school and community education programs. If you have an interest in helping our community learn about water, get in contact with us!

LOTT Clean Water Alliance

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
YouTube Channel

Thurston County Stream Team

If you enjoy rushing streams, clean air, the smell of rich soil on your hands and the camaraderie of other people who like to make a difference, then get involved with Stream Team!

Stream Team offers a fun and rewarding way to protect and improve local streams, rivers and Puget Sound. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds can get involved. Love the outdoors? Join us at tree plantings or stream-bug monitoring sessions. Are you a bird watcher? Build a bird nest box, attend a shorebird field trip or help monitor purple martin nest boxes. If you enjoy talking with other people, you might want to become a Salmon Steward. Or perhaps you’d just like to attend workshops and learn more about what you can do to protect our water resources. Stream Team welcomes any level of involvement you choose to take.

Stream Team events are free and open to everyone. You can participate individually, or bring your family, friends or members of your community group.

Stream Team Website
Facebook Page


In Lacey Contact:
Emily Watts
ewatts@ci.lacey.wa.us or (360) 438-2687


In Olympia Contact:
Michelle Stevie
mstevie@ci.olympia.wa.us or (360) 753-8336


In Tumwater Contact:
Meridith Greer
mgreer@ci.tumwater.wa.us or (360) 754-4148


In Thurston County Contact:
Anne Marie Pearce
pearcea@co.thurston.wa.us or (360)754-3355 ext. 6857

The Hands On Children’s Museum

The Hands On Children’s Museum stimulates curiosity, creativity and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs for children, families and school groups. The Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Voted “Best Family Entertainment”
The Hands On Children’s Museum was selected “Best Family Entertainment” and “Best Museum” in the Best of South Sound 2013 contest. Hands On was also a Top 4 Finalist for “Best Fun Place to Take Kids” in the King 5 Best of Western Washington 2013. We are also a family favorite on Yelp and we received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.

The Hands on Children’s Museum offers:

  • Volunteer positions for a variety of ages, interests and skill levels
  • Opportunities to gain valuable experience to include on your resume
  • Opportunities for individuals, groups and school classes
  • Special project opportunities
  • School credit for community service
  • Formal internships for both high school and college students
  • Teen Volunteer Program for youth ages 13 and above

To learn more about volunteer and internship opportunities and to fill out an application visit the Volunteer Page on our website.

Hands On Children’s Museum

414 Jefferson Street NE

Olympia WA 98501






Wolf Haven International for Students

Wolf Haven International, located in Tenino, Washington, offers a variety of presentations for groups of all ages. Groups may schedule a private guided walking visit of the wolf sanctuary and learn more about this often misunderstood animal. Presentations are also available and span a variety of topics depending on the age of the group. Presentations meet several Next Generation Science Standards – more information available upon request. For information on pricing, programs, or scheduling, please call or e-mail. Advanced reservations are required.

Onsite experiences appropriate for grades 3 – post secondary. Offsite experiences available for all ages.

To schedule, contact:
Education Department
Wolf Haven International
(360) 264-4695 ext. 223

Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge

Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge provides recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. Shorebirds migrating from as far south as Argentina stop to rest and feed in Grays Harbor Estuary every spring. The estuary’s open mudflats provide ample food for the migrants and great wildlife viewing opportunities for the public. Whether birding, practicing photography, or participating in educational programs, visitors enjoy viewing the unique ecosystems and diverse wildlife. Regulation of recreation activities allows for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats. Each spring, the annual Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival offers field trips, shorebird viewing, lectures, Fun Fair, poster contest, and more.

From late April through early May, hundreds of thousands of shorebirds concentrate on the muddy tideflats of Grays Harbor Estuary on the Washington Coast. Grays Harbor Estuary is one of four major staging areas for shorebirds in North America and one of the largest concentrations of shorebirds on the west coast, south of Alaska. To protect this important shorebird habitat, Congress authorized the establishment of Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge in 1988. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Grays Harbor NWR was established in 1990 and is located in the northeast corner of Grays Harbor estuary. It encompasses about 1,500 acres of intertidal mudflats, salt marsh and uplands. In 1996, Grays Harbor Estuary was designated a hemispheric reserve by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network as a site of international significance.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge needs YOU – your talents, your enthusiasm, and some of your time! If you enjoy working with people and appreciate and are concerned about our nation’s natural resources, our volunteer program may interest you. Various opportunities exist at the Refuge for the volunteer to gain valuable and rewarding experience.  Volunteers assist Refuge personnel in achieving management goals by assisting in environmental education, resource management, maintenance, and special projects. For more information and to fill out an application visit the volunteer page.

Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge

1131 Airport Way, Hoquiam, WA 98550

100 Brown Farm Road, Olympia, WA 98516 (mailing address)

(360) 753-9467

Nisqually NWR Website
Volunteer Page
Shorebird Festival Website
Facebook – Shorebird Festival



Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and provides numerous recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. Whether boating, walking the trails, or participating in educational programs, visitors enjoy viewing the unique ecosystems and diverse wildlife. Regulation of recreation activities allow for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats.  The Nisqually estuary was restored in 2009 by removing dikes and reconnecting 762 acres with the tides of Puget Sound.  This is the largest estuary restoration project in the Pacific Northwest and an important step in the recovery of Puget Sound. Many visitors, especially birders and boaters, have found that it is best to plan a visit to the Refuge according to the tides.  The highest concentrations of the estuarine bird species will be most visible within two hours of high tide. The Visitor Center includes The Nature Shop, an information desk, a view of the freshwater marsh, and interpretive exhibits.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Complex needs YOU – your talents, your enthusiasm, and some of your time! If you enjoy working with people and appreciate and are concerned about our nation’s natural resources, our volunteer program may interest you. Various opportunities exist at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge Complex for volunteers to gain a valuable and rewarding experience. Volunteers assist Refuge personnel in achieving management goals by assisting in: interpretation, environmental education, resource managment, maintenance and special projects. For more information on becoming a volunteer visit Nisqually Wildlife Refuge’s volunteer website.

Friends Of Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Friends of Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which helps fund education, interpretation, and outreach programs at Nisqually NWR. Membership in Friends of Nisqually NWR allows you to help with public education about important wildlife and habitat issues of Puget Sound and Nisqually National WIldlife Refuge. In addition, you receive:

  • A 10 percent discount at the Nature Shop in the Visitor Center.
  • A chance to become a participant in Refuge activities and make a practical contribution to the operation of Nisqually NWR.
  • A tax deduction for membership and contributions as permitted by law.


Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
100 Brown Farm Road
Olympia, WA 98516
(360) 753-9467

Nisqually Wildlife Refuge Website
Facebook Page
Volunteer Website
Friends of Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Mount2Sound Adventures

Looking for an unforgettable summer? Mount2Sound Adventures is a summer camp is an extended stay youth camp focused on educating youth ages 12-17 through their connection with the natural world. Participants are exposed to a variety of activities and natural resource career fields: agriculture and aquaculture, aquatics, fish and wildlife, forestry, soils, education, leadership, geology, research and community service.

Mount2Sound (M2S) desires to leave a legacy of stewardship, community involvement, and a strong connection to the natural world in every participant of the program. To achieve its mission, M2S will partner with local tribes, agencies, non-profit organizations, local businesses and corporations. Diverse partnerships will bring well rounded historical, cultural and scientific perspectives to our outdoor education curriculum.

‘Getting back to nature’ is a trend among our society today throughout various age groups and M2S strives to provide the connection many young adults and families are looking for. Transformation and learning are gradual processes that involve a great deal of focus, where the overstimulation of today’s society is often distracting. Removing many of these barriers will allow participants to grow and strengthen the values and ethics learned this experience.

M2S seeks to encourage middle to high school participants from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds to engage in this experience, share and learn together. It is a core value of the program to serve participants despite their family’s financial situation. M2S intends to offer scholarships to underserved populations in hopes of never having to turn down a participant based on economic status. M2S embraces diversity and strives to foster essential leadership skills to empower participants from all walks of life to become outstanding environmental stewards in their communities.


Sarah Moorehead
Agricultural Outreach Specialist
Thurston Conservation District
(360) 754 – 3588 Ext. 136


Wolf Haven International

Wolf Haven International is a nationally recognized wolf sanctuary that has rescued and provided a lifetime home for over 180 displaced, captive-born animals since 1982. Guided walking tours offer visitors a rare, close-up view of wolves. Wolf Haven provides a variety of educational programs, participates in multi-agency Species Survival Plan programs for critically endangered wolves and advocates for wolves in the wild. Visitors can also follow a walking trail through beautiful native Mima Mound prairie and enjoy the native flowers, birds, butterflies that can be found there.

Guided tours are approximately 50 minutes and cover a variety of educational information about wolves, including biology, their role in a healthy ecosystem and recovery programs. Biographical information on sanctuary residents is also provided by tour guides. There is typically only one tour group in the sanctuary each hour, and the group remains together as a “pack”. The tour moves at a leisurely stroll and visitors are on their feet throughout. Benches are located along the tour route for those who might need a rest. The tour route is flat and wheelchair or stroller accessible – however be aware that it is a gravel path. Days & hours of admission vary widely depending on time of year, so please check the website or call and make sure that Wolf Haven is open prior to your visit.

There are many ways to get involved and support us, including:

  • Memberships
  • Adoptions
  • Donations
  • Volunteering
  • Planned Giving

Volunteers generously give their time, talent and support to Wolf Haven International. We simply could not successfully continue to focus on our mission without their help. Volunteers help to increase understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wolves, wildlife and South Sound prairie. They serve as ambassadors in the community, promoting Wolf Haven, wolves and native prairie species. If you have a desire to help, Wolf Haven will make good use of your time and talent. (Volunteers must be 17 years or older.)

Wolf Haven International
3111 Offut Lake Rd. SE
Tenino, Washington 98589

1.800.448.WOLF [9653] or 360.264.HOWL [4695]