The Most Surprising Things Seattle Families Can Rent

a girl gasps with delight and surprise iStock

Our world has changed a lot in recent years. Things parents only dreamed about having delivered to their doorstep just a few years ago are now a reality. Likewise Seattle families can now rent all kinds of stuff that makes life easier and a little less expensive. It kind of makes you wonder, why buy big ticket items if you’re only going to use them once in a while? Whether you’re looking for a private swimming pool to help you stay cool on Seattle’s hottest days, unicorns for parties, free museum passes or adorable sleepover supplies, our list of unique things to rent is here to help.


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A Truly Unique Ride

It might seem like a dream, but unicorns are real. Sort of. Whether you are looking for a guest star at your kid’s next birthday party or are looking for a perfect model for a special photo portrait, there’s a pony for you. Dreamland Ponies has a whole fleet of unicorns to choose from including solid white, rainbow, mini, pony, full-size and everything in between. They are available for hand-led pony rides at their home in Maple Valley or your home. They can bring the ponies to just about anywhere from a private residence to a local park. They will dress up the pony to fit your party theme from Pegasus to a western cowboy theme. And yes, they do offer “grown up” parties as well, but your kids will never forgive you (although, they don’t have to know, right?)

According to Dreamland, all of their ponies are “super sweet, gentle, safe, sparkling clean and healthy.” You may book up to a dozen different ponies at a time! The service providers also donate a portion of all pony party proceeds towards rescuing horses and ponies in need and other therapy services for children and seniors with chronic and terminal illnesses.

Online: dreamlandponies.com

Related: Let’s Party! Backyard Birthday Rentals for Every Kind of Kid

A Swimmingly Great Spot

Swimply.com

While it would be nice to own your own swimming pool, the investment might not be worth the actual splash time your family would use it. That’s where swimply.com comes in. Their business model is similar to AirBnb but for pool owners and the people who would like to rent them. The website features hundreds of private pools available to rent right now, including a large handful in the Seattle area, like this one which charges a weekday rental fee of $63 an hour for up to 10 guests. Just like the homes and owners that offer them, each pool and setting is uniquely different. Some come with all of the bells and whistles (think: large patio with picnic tables, barbecues, playgrounds, pool toys, private bathrooms). Rentals range from $49-$149 per hour, and a few even allow up to as many as 40 guests during the rental. Sounds like a birthday party in the making. 

Good to Know: You will need to reserve your spot ahead of time, but often arrangements can be made for the same day. Some pools will require you to rent it for more than one hour. 

Online: swimply.com

Related: Stay Cool at Seattle’s Top Splash Spots

Every LEGO Set Ever

NetBricks was launched in 2015 with the goal of providing an exceptional LEGO-building experience to kids (or their parents, or both) who might not be able to afford every set they want. They are LEGO fanatics themselves, so they understand what LEGO-maniacs want. They have hundreds of LEGO sets of which to rent from on a subscription basis. Pick the set and they’ll send them out to your family one set at a time. Start with one, build it, send it back and they’ll send another one to your residence, just like the old Netflix movie rental model! (“It’s a constant flow of fun” they say.) Or, go for the Pro Membership Experience where NetBricks will send multiple sets at one time and get another new batch 30 days later. And so on, and so on…

NetBricks offer sets that are new, hard to find or retired and range from “Junior” to “Master Builder Academy.” Sets offered include the “The Simpson’s” House (2523 pieces), “Star Wars” Death Star (3803 pieces), the famous Tower Bridge of London, England (4287 pieces) and many others. 

Good to Know: NetBricks plans start at $24 a month (plus shipping) to $65 a month (including shipping). 

Online: netbricks.biz

 

A Picture-Perfect Sleepover

Daydream Teepee

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.

Online: daydreamteepee.com

Related: 9 Unusual Sleepover Spots for Families (& Groups)

Passes to Seattle’s Best Museums, Zoos & More

Kids at the butterfly garden at Woodland Park Zoo over Memorial Day weekend when it reopns
Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/WPZ

You know about Free First Thursdays and Free Last Fridays, 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.

SPL passes online: spl.org

KCLS passes online: kcls.org

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Seattle’s Free & Cheap Museum Days

Powerhouse Pollinators

Steve Utaski

We’re buzzing with excitement over this Seattle 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: Although Rent Mason Bees 2022 season is over, you can keep the 2023 season in mind. Pick up takes place in March and the kits get returned in June.

Online: rentmasonbees.com

Everything You Need to Camp

camping gear families can rent is spread out on the ground including sleeping bags and backpacks
Back 40 Outfitters

If you’re itching to take the kids for a night in the great outdoors, but don’t know where to start when it comes to gear—no problem. 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 ($270-$440) 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.

Insider Tip: If you’re planning to camp in one of Washington’s amazing state parks, you can rent gear and have it delivered to your door or straight to your campsite. Another super easy option.

Online: back40outfitters.co

Your Very Own Garden

vegetables and flowers grow in a Seattle P-Patch garden, one of the weird things to rent in the city
Allison Sutcliffe

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. 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.

Online: seattle.gov

Tools You Need to Complete “That” Project

iStock

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.
Seattle
Online: neseattletoollibrary.org

Southeast Seattle Tool Library
4425 MLK Jr. Way S.
Seattle
Online: setools.org

Capitol Hill Tool Library
1552 Crawford Pl.
Seattle
Online: sustainablecapitolhill.org

West Seattle Tool Library
4408 Delridge Way S.W.
Seattle
Online: wstools.org

Ballard Tool Library
7459B 15th Ave. N.W.
Seattle
Online: ballardtoollibrary.org

PNA Tool Lending Library
6615 Dayton Ave. N.
Seattle
Online: phinneycenter.org

—Jeffrey Totey &  Allison Sutcliffe

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