You know about renting bouncy houses, game trucks and magical ponies. But did you know Seattle families can also rent free museum passes, sleepover supplies, equipment from tool lending libraries and even mason bees? Read on to discover more useful things you can rent right now.
1. Powerhouse pollinators
We’re buzzing with excitement over Seattle’s newest rental service—mason bees! When it comes to pollinating flowers and crops they get the job done (at a rate 100 times that of honeybees), and you can help them do it by renting a mason bee kit to host in your yard. It’s as easy as hanging up your mason bee block, letting the bees do their pollinating thing and waiting for them to lay eggs in the block, that you then mail back. Those eggs are shipped to farmers around the country where they’re used to pollinate some of your favorite foods like blueberries, cherries and almonds.
The coolest part of this rental kit is the experience you give your kids. Mason bees are docile and non-aggressive so stinging isn’t something you have to worry about. That means your kids can watch the bees work and lay their eggs, packing them with mud, mason-style. It’s a fascinating interactive experience that directly connects kids with the foods they eat and the eco-system around them. Just think how different those cherries, pears and blueberries will taste to them this summer!
Good to know: Mason bee kits are available for pick up at various locations around the city or they can be delivered. They come with everything you need, including mason bee cocoons. Mason bee pick up takes place in March and they get returned in June.
Rent Mason Bees
2. A picture-perfect sleepover
Hosting that sleepover party at your place just got a whole lot easier because Daydream Teepee delivers everything you need to make it a smashing success. The centerpiece of this delivery service is the individual A-frame tents where kids will slumber (if you’re lucky). Each party package comes with expertly-styled set-up that includes airbeds, sheets (and liners), fairy lights, trays and all the color-coordinated banners and cushions needed to make the sleepover space Pinterest worthy. There are seven kids themes to choose from, each one as detailed as the next. And when it’s all over, the team comes back to whisk everything away, fairy-godmother style. It’s the dreamy rental you need for your next bash.
3. Passes to Seattle’s best museums
You know about Free First Thursdays, but sometimes you want to check out your favorite Seattle museums on your terms. Make it happen through the Seattle Public Library, where you can reserve free passes to the Seattle Children’s Museum, The Museum of Flight, MOHAI, even the Woodland Park Zoo (and more!) with just a few clicks. Passes can be reserved up to 30 days in advance of your visit (passes go quickly so reserve them as early as possible), and each pass includes at least two admissions, but many include up to four.
If you’re a King County Library cardholder, you can reserve passes through their system. This is a great spot to snag free passes to BAM, KidsQuest and the Seattle Aquarium, to name a few. Families can reserve up to two museum passes per month (with the exception of KidsQuest and BAM that only allow one every 90 days), and can sort by museum or date to make their plans.
Seattle Public Library
Rent passes online: spl.org
King County Library
Rent passes online: kcls.org
4. Everything you need to go camping
Camping season you itching to take the kids for a night in the great outdoors, but when it comes to gear you don’t know where to start. No problem, you can get everything you need for the perfect car camping or backpacking experience from Back 40 Outfitters. Simply choose your camping adventure and they’ll pack a kit that has the equipment you need to make it successful. Car camping kits ($210-$340) include your tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, a kitchen kit, cooler and more. All you need to do is reserve the perfect campsite. Plus, with pick up/drop off locations in Kent and South Seattle, you can easily grab your stuff on the way out of town. Yep, it’s that easy!
Good to know: You can add on extras like sunshades and pillows to make it that much easier. Just bring your crew and your sense of adventure!
Back 40 Outfitters
5. Your very own garden
Maybe you don’t get quite the right sun. Or your postage-stamp city yard won’t support the garden of your dreams. Whatever the reason, you crave fertile space where you and the kids can grow veggies, herbs and flowers. So why not rent some through the city’s P-Patch garden program? With 90 gardens throughout the city and over 3,000 plots, totaling 15-acres of grow-able land, you’re sure to find a garden spot that’s right for you. Garden plot annual fees range from $43-$85, depending on garden size, and most of what you need to tend your garden is on-site. Can you dig it?
Good to know: These plots are in high demand, so get your name on the interest list sooner rather than later.
P-Patch Garden Program
6. Tools you need to complete that project
If you’re used to checking out books from your local library, get ready for something different. Seattle is home to five tool lending libraries that (you guessed it!) lend tools to members for free or next to nothing. Like a library, tool libraries require a membership. Once you’ve joined, members have access to the library inventory where (between the five) you’ll find every tool you’ve ever needed and them some, including typical household tools, garden and automotive tools, even odds and ends like juicers and sewing machines. Memberships are free, but most suggest a donation between $20-$60, with flexibility, as each library is committed to making tools are accessible to all community members. Additionally, each library has different rental limits, but a week is pretty standard.
Good to know: The West Seattle, Southeast Seattle and Capitol Hill tool libraries have workshop space members can use too. And many of these tool libraries host fix-it workshops where people can bring broken appliances, toys and clothes in need of mending in an effort the keep them out of the landfill and practice sustainability.
Northeast Seattle Tool Library
10228 Fischer Pl. N.E.
Southeast Seattle Tool Library
4425 MLK Jr. Way S.
Capitol Hill Tool Library
1552 Crawford Pl.
West Seattle Tool Library
4408 Delridge Way S.W.
Ballard Tool Library
7459B 15th Ave. N.W.
PNA Tool Lending Library
6615 Dayton Ave. N.