Top 10 Weatherproof Family Activities in Mammoth Lakes

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Your family vacation to Mammoth Lakes probably centers around our incredible array of outdoor activities. Most of the time, the weather cooperates, but what if it doesn’t? Fortunately summer storms tend to be short-lived and bring much-needed moisture to the Sierra Nevada so they generally pose only a minor and even welcome disruption. Nevertheless, Mammoth Lakes offers an array of indoor activities suitable for the whole family on a rainy day. Several are also great options for after the sun sets. Check out these top ten possibilities:


I always recommend checking out the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center when you arrive in town, but it’s also a great place to pass some time when you’d rather be inside. There are interpretive exhibits as well as books and souvenirs for sale. The helpful, knowledgeable staff will assist you in making plans for when the weather clears. The Welcome Center is located at 2510 Main Street, phone 760-924-5500. Open 8:00am to 5:00pm daily.


Did you know that there is free public transit available throughout Mammoth Lakes? Even when it’s raining, the Lakes Basin Trolley offers a scenic and fun ride between the Village and Horseshoe Lake with stops throughout the Lakes Basin. Service begins at 9:00am and runs until 6:00pm. Dress warmly and keep an eye out for wildlife!


Get a sense of Mammoth Lakes history at the Hayden Cabin, a museum established by the Southern Mono Historical Society in this hand built log structure constructed between 1927 and 1937. Exhibits include mining implements as well as original furnishings. Located at 5489 Sherwin Creek Road, phone 760-934-6918. Open daily 10:00am to 6:00pm Memorial Day through late September.


The Mammoth Lakes Library offers something for everyone. In addition to a diverse collection of books, audio books, and DVDs the library offers free Wi-Fi, 24 public computers, and both a children’s room and young adult area as well as art exhibits. Story times for children ages five and under are held every Wednesday and Saturday morning at 10:30am. Check the monthly Events Calendar for some great programming. Closed Sundays and major holidays. 400 Sierra Park Road, phone 760-934-4777.


There’s nothing like a little shopping on a rainy day, and the Booky Joint offers far more than books! In addition to a terrific variety of used and new titles, including a complete section of local and regional books, you’ll find a large selection of games, magazines, art supplies, and toys as well as the service and friendliness you expect from a locally owned, independent bookstore. Younger kids can try out a toy at the back table while older kids scan the latest Lego displays. Located in the Minaret Mall at 437 Old Mammoth Road, phone 760-934-5023. Open 9:00am to 9:00pm throughout the summer.


There are plenty of family-friendly restaurants throughout Mammoth Lakes, but several are particularly suitable for lingering during inclement weather. Grumpy’s at 361 Old Mammoth Road has a terrific selection of old-school video games as well as plenty of sports action on 35 HDTVs. Phone 760-934-8587. For younger kids, McDonald’s at 1 Sierra Park Road has a nice, clean PlayPlace for them to expend a little energy climbing up and sliding down. Phone 760-934-3357. Resort guests and restaurant patrons at the Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa can take advantage of the Cub Club, a free, supervised activity room open daily from 4:00pm until 9:00pm, welcoming children ages 4 and up. Activities include crafts, toys, movies, Xbox One and air hockey and Foosball tables. Priority is given to hotel guests but those dining at Jimmy’s, Red Lantern, and Rafters may also use the facility at 164 Old Mammoth Road. Phone 760-934-2515 for additional information.


Color Me Mine is our local paint-your-own pottery shop. They have hundreds of pieces from which to choose as well as a cool selection of paints to create your masterpiece, which they will then kiln fire for you to pick up later or have shipped home. Open daily from 11:00am to 7:00pm daily with the last seating at 6:00pm. Check out some of their specials like Two for Tuesday and Ladies Day for discounts on studio fees. Minaret Mall, 437 Old Mammoth Road, Suite D. Phone 760-934-8911.


Yes, Mammoth has a movie theater! Also located inside the Minaret Mall at 437 Old Mammoth Road, Minaret Cinemas is a perfect place to catch a recently released film on the big screen without big city prices. Two screens offer evening showings as well as matinees daily through Labor Day. Phone 760-934-3131.


The Mammoth Fun Shop opened to great acclaim this spring. So much more than a toy store and ice cream shop, the Fun Shop definitely lives up to its name with a huge variety of innovative toys at all price points as well as items like high-quality bath products and baby gifts. The Fun Shop is owned and operated by a local family, including a classmate of my daughter’s, so we can vouch that they are true kid experts. The store is beautifully laid out with thoughtful touches around every corner. Come for the premium ice cream with free toppings and stay to immerse yourself in the entire experience! The shop is located at 3163 Main Street, phone 760-924-1111 and is open from 11:00am until 6:00pm Sunday through Thursday and from 11:00am until 8:00pm Fridays and Saturdays.


Perhaps the most exciting thing to happen in Mammoth since Dave McCoy set up a rope tow, the new Mammoth Rock ‘n’ Bowl is a must-visit and not just for bowling! In addition to 12 spiffy bowling lanes with all the latest technology (including automatic bumpers for the kiddos), there are 3 golf simulators with 12-foot wide high definition screens, a pro shop, Foosball, darts, ping pong, a full bar, lounge, and two restaurants. The Rock ‘n’ Bowl’s architecture takes full advantage of the local surroundings with unobstructed views and a light, airy atmosphere accented with locally-inspired art and photographs. The Rock ‘n’ Bowl is another locally owned and operated venture that is perfect for families to enjoy. Open daily from 11:00am until midnight at 3029 Chateau Road, phone 760-934-4200. How does your family cope with inclement weather conditions on vacation? I’d love to hear about your favorite indoor activities in Mammoth Lakes!  

Betsy Temple-Truax

Betsy loves living and playing in Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra with her active family and friends. A passionate advocate for community recreation, Betsy never turns down an opportunity to swim, ski, paddle, travel or let someone else cook.

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