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Family fun abound on the Harbor

<p>For beginners and experienced riders alike, horses can be rented by the hour on several beaches.</p>Buy Photo

For beginners and experienced riders alike, horses can be rented by the hour on several beaches.

<p>Ocean Shores Interpretive Center docent Steve Green, right, discusses one of the many hands-on items available in one of the center&#8217;s showcases to a visitor from Montesano.</p>Buy Photo

Ocean Shores Interpretive Center docent Steve Green, right, discusses one of the many hands-on items available in one of the center’s showcases to a visitor from Montesano.

<p>At Ocean Shores, there is almost always guaranteed to be at least a slight breeze, perfect for flying a kite.</p>Buy Photo

At Ocean Shores, there is almost always guaranteed to be at least a slight breeze, perfect for flying a kite.

<p>The sign at the entrance to Lake Quinualt says it all &#8212; there&#8217;s no shortage of activities for those who enjoy the outdoors.</p>Buy Photo

The sign at the entrance to Lake Quinualt says it all — there’s no shortage of activities for those who enjoy the outdoors.

<p>Do you dare? This visitor isn&#8217;t too sure about entering Sharkey&#8217;s, which offers shark-related memorabilia at Ocean Shores.</p>Buy Photo

Do you dare? This visitor isn’t too sure about entering Sharkey’s, which offers shark-related memorabilia at Ocean Shores.

<p>In addition to a replica of Moclips train station, train buffs will find a plethora of memorbilia.</p>Buy Photo

In addition to a replica of Moclips train station, train buffs will find a plethora of memorbilia.

<p>The Polson musuem offers a lifesize replica of a train camp in addition to a blacksmith shop, providing visitors a glimpse into life decades ago.</p>Buy Photo

The Polson musuem offers a lifesize replica of a train camp in addition to a blacksmith shop, providing visitors a glimpse into life decades ago.

But what can I do? The answer to the all-too-familiar phrase heard by parents everywhere lies in Grays Harbor’s backyard. Below are a few highlights of activities ranging from educational to play time, which ensures that everyone has a good time:

Beaches

The beaches are a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, and it’s easy to see why. Kids can play in the sand, splash in the water, get a little dirty, throw a ball around or even fly a kite, while parents can sit back, relax and watch their kids have fun. Both North Beach and South Beach offer a variety of activities for families.

Scooters, horses, bicycles, buggies, mopeds and quads offer a different view from the beach. Horses are available at the entrance to several beaches during the summer season at approximately $20 per hour. No experience is necessary, but age limits are usually enforced.

Classic summer fun

Are bumper boats, miniature golf, arcades and go karts more your style? A variety of kart tracks are available (some offer a slick track option for those who crave adrenaline), and it’s just a matter of selecting which track suits your style.

In Ocean Shores, bumper boats are available at the Pacific Paradise Family Fun Center, 767 Minard Ave. N.W. (the center is also home to 18 holes of miniature golf and an arcade center.

Bj’s Fun Center, located at 752 Point Brown Ave. N.E., offers go karts and an indoor bumper car center — perfect when the skies look a little less than promising.

In Westport, bumper boats, bicycle rentals, go kart track and an arcade is available at the Westport Family Fun Center, 1600 Montesano Ave.

Water sports

In Ocean Shores, there’s a variety of watercraft available for those who wish to explore the aptly named Duck Lake and its channels. Waterway Adventures, 813 Point Brown Ave. N.W. offers canoe and kayak rentals delivered to launch points. The Ocean Shores Electric Boat Company, 952 Point Brown Ave S.E., offers electric boats that seat up to 10 people with amenities.

Learning centers

At the Ocean Shores Interpretive Center, hands-off is not a phrase that is uttered often, if ever. Docents encourage hands-on experience of its multiple displays of the area’s nature and wildlife, and supply a wealth of information and history. A variety of worksheets, shells and rocks are offered to children to take home for free. During the summer months the center is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays, and open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends from September-March. Admission is free.

In Westport, the Westport Maritime Museum houses skeletons of whales on its grounds. It is also home to the Grays Harbor Lighthouse (the tallest lighthouse in the state) and the Destruction Island Lens (which is lit and rotates). The museum, located at 2201 Westhaven Drive, is open daily in the summer months, during weekdays in the other months and closed in December and January. Admission is $5 per adult, $2 per child ages 5-15 and free for children under 5. The lighthouse hours vary by season, call (360) 268-0078 or visit maritimemuseumghlighthouse.org. It is located at 1020 West Ocean Ave.

Also located in Westport is the Westport Aquarium, which features a variety of local fish exhibits, duck feeding and free crafts in the gift shop.

At the Aberdeen Museum of History, life-size exhibits give visitors a glimpse of what life was like decades ago. Looking for something a little modern? The museum also offers information on a Kurt Cobain walking tour of his life in Aberdeen. The museum is located at 111 E. Third St. Admission is $2 per adult, $1 for students and seniors and $5 for families.

In Hoquiam, the Polson Museum offers a comprehensive historic collection of Grays Harbor ranging from the logging industry to Native artifacts. Life-size replicas of a railroad camp and a blacksmith shop are also offered. The museum is located at 1611 Riverside Ave. An admission fee is charged for indoor exhibits.

In Montesano, the Chehalis Valley Historical Museum is located in the 1906 Scandinavian Lutheran Church building on West Pioneer Avenue. On display are items of particular historic significance to the Chehalis Valley. The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. on the weekends. Admission is free.

Also focusing on area history is the Carnell House in McCleary. The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. each weekend, beginning in June, through Labor Day in September.

Indoor entertainment

Bowling lanes are offered in nearly every town in Grays Harbor, and in Aberdeen, Rainier Lanes also offers nine holes of miniature glow golf. It is located at 415 W. Heron St., visitors should call ahead for operating hours; (360) 532-7977.

At Aberdeen’s SouthShore Mall, 1017 S. Boone St., an arcade room and movie theater are offered. On occasion, Hoquiam’s 7th Street Theatre will show films — visit www.7thstreettheatre.com for a calendar of events. Ocean Shores is also host to a theater, Cinema 3, which is located at 631 Point Brown Ave. N.W.

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