As a chill in the air hints at the coming winter months, this mom starts brainstorming ideas for indoor activities that can fill our family time with something other than screen time.
A wonderful place to engage and educate all ages is the Lynden Pioneer Museum. Located on scenic Front Street in downtown Lynden, WA, visitors can explore three levels full of history and culture.
Start with the pioneer homestead exhibits, with reproductions of pioneer-era barnyard, kitchen, parlor and bedrooms. You might just be tempted step into the past to cozy up with the bear-skin rug or on the old feather bed (unfortunately they are only for display).
Kids can sit inside the model of an old-fashioned outhouse. For some reason, this really captivated my kids â€“ they were talking about it for days afterward!
Exhibits on agriculture, logging, military life and Dutch culture also fill the main floor. As kids explore the museum, they are given a â€śpassportâ€ť where they can gather stamps and complete a scavenger hunt to find items around the museum.
Next, pass through the old-timey â€śCozy CafĂ©â€ť on the way to 1920s Lynden. A large part of the first floor is dedicated to a reproduction on Front Street from the late 1880s to 1920s. From the newspaper office to the milliners, the church, and even the saloon, visitors can get a feel for the Lynden of 100 years ago.
Head upstairs for more displays of town life from yearsâ€™ past: visit the hotel, dentist and doctor offices, and spend time behind bars at the police station â€“ if you dare!
Donâ€™t neglect to make your way down to the vast basement level. Visitors will discover the largest collection of horse-drawn wagons and buggies west of the Mississippi. For little ones, it may be their first experience realizing that we didnâ€™t always get from point A to point B by car!
The basement also includes exhibits of tack and farming equipment â€“ the immense 1912 thresher is an impressive piece of machinery â€“ along with an automobile gallery. Soon, a John Deere exhibit will join the collection.
Tucked to the left of the gift shop on the main floor, donâ€™t miss out on the vault room. This space has a collection of old cameras, Native artifacts and even a surprise for Star Wars fans.
Finally, take the time to head around to the back of the museum before you leave to check out the old Army truck and tank. My kids loved these as much as anything inside the museum.
If you go:
217 Front Street
Lynden, WA 98264
$4 Seniors / Students
Kids under 6: Free!
Monday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.