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Welcome to JBLM … a base that has it all

Newcomers guide to family resources, parks and outdoor recreation

Travel and Leisure offices have discounted tickets for just about everything from discounts on whale watching to Tacoma museums. File photo

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Welcome to Joint Base Lewis McChord.

To help ease your transition to the area, I have outlined some practical and useful information to get you settled in and well on your way to living the full Pacific Northwest life.

Must Do First

If you're a parent, then first thing's first. You must take a trip to Parent Central to register your child. I encourage you to call ahead and make an appointment, as wait times could take a while, and make sure to take current shot records or documentation with you. At Parent Central, you will be able to register your child for on-post school, childcare and youth sports.

Madigan Army Medical Hospital is one location you need to know, and can find it easily from exit 122, the Berkley gate. Depending on your healthcare, this most likely will be where the bulk of your and your family's medical appointments take place.

For the Kids

Finding fun places for the kids was a top priority for us when relocating to JBLM. And fun places are abound at JBLM. Raindrops and Rainbows at Lewis North and Escape Zone at McChord Field are two such places. There you will find toys aplenty, craft and activity stations, outdoor play areas and tons of special events.

JBLM also offers fun playgrounds. A popular spot is Freedom Park, located across from the Commissary. There is a huge playground, skate park, entertainment stage, baseball and soccer fields, and a splash pad that operates in the summer. Take your snacks and enjoy them under the covered tables.

Recreation Activities

There's so much to see and do off-base, but make sure to stop by the Travel and Leisure offices before heading out to any major attractions. The office has discounted tickets for just about everything from discounts on whale watching to Tacoma museums. You can find both offices inside the bowling alleys.

Talking about bowling arenas, I encourage you to take the family at least once for some fun bowling. Sounders Lanes on McChord has a big indoor playground, perfect on those rainy days, and also an indoor mini laser tag and tables for parties.

If you love the great outdoors, make sure you visit Russell Landing Marina, where you can rent any type of boat for relatively inexpensive prices.

Did you know there's beach access right on base? Yes, you read that right. Shoreline Park and Summer Cove at American Lake have playgrounds for the kids that overlook the water. Summer Cove also has beach access, and in summer months, it's the place to be. 

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