Only living in the Seattle, WA area for some 3-1/2 years, I have noticed a few fun places to take your children while visiting or living in this area. This is by my personal experience of course, as though your opinions may differ. The following is what my family enjoys doing on the very few sunny days we see in The Emerald City.
1) If you are animal lovers as our family is, you will enjoy visiting The Woodland Park Zoo. Although there are not a huge variety of animals, such as The San Diego Zoo, it is quite nice nonetheless. The set up of the zoo is set up fairly well with everything spaced out just right to allow everyone to see the animal displays. Some of the animal displays even have windows so you can be as close as possible with some species.
Although the food there is quite pricey, they do allow you to bring a picnic lunch along. There are a lot of quiet and cozy places to sit and relax with a calm atmosphere around you while enjoying your meal. Our favorite little spot is by some of the birds. It’s really comforting to hear the sound of birds while we sit and enjoy “family time”.
During the summer months, they have quite a few concerts lined up. This attraction is called ZooTunes. A lot of well-known musicians had performed during this great fundraiser. Their tickets aren’t badly priced, but it additional to zoo admission. Kids 12 and other are free for ZooTunes as long as there is a paying adult. It is great because it is more of a family atmosphere than most of your typical concert events and there is no shoving and pushing so you can enjoy the show.
For your little tykes, they have a new attraction called ZooMazium. It has nature themed and an interactive play area for children 8 years old and younger, although all ages are welcome inside the attraction. ZooMazium is indoors, so if it rains while at the zoo, this is a good way to escape those raindrops. They hold story telling, presentations, and demonstrations all focusing on nature and animals. It is ran by Zoo Corps which a program of teenage volunteers.
We visit here quite often and highly recommend you do so as well. How do we afford to go so often you ask? They offer a variety of family packages that are a wonderful deal. The packages are valid for one year from date of purchase. You can find more information at http://www.zoo.org/ or call 206.684.4800.
2) Still focusing on animals, another place my family and I enjoy visiting is The Seattle Aquarium. My kids enjoy the tide pools the most. You can have interaction with different sea life such as crabs, urchins, sea cucumbers and many other different species. You are able to pick up and touch most of the animals in the man-made tide pools.
There are many different species of fish as well as seahorses and other odd sea creatures. They even have animal displays of sea otters, sea lions, seals and other similar sea animals. The aquarium announces when the sea otters or the seals are to be fed and you can experience this exciting event as well as learning some facts about these extraordinary animals during the feeding process. There is also a very well educated employee/volunteer that you can speak with about the local pods of killer whale that visit Puget Sound frequently.
There isn’t quite a full days’ worth of entertainment here, but it is a great place to get away from the land life and a little closer to the wonders of sea life. Admission isn’t extreme, but you get a better deal when purchasing a membership combined with the zoo. For more information, you can visit their website http://www.seattleaquarium.org or call 206.386.4300
3) Another place full of family fun is the Pacific Science Center. Our first visit to the Science Center was just this summer and would definitely make the trip back. My kids had a blast with hands on science experiments. There were many displays that show how typical household things work such as they typical toilet as well as other household items.
There is one room that was a “shadow room” that the kids, both young and old, really dug. It’s a dark room that takes a picture of your actual silhouette on the wall. My kids, and I have to admit that I took part too, spent quite some time there. They also allowed you to participate in a news broadcast (although not really aired live) but got to see how the green screen works that the daily weatherman uses, which was quite interesting. They, like the aquarium, also had man-made tide pools that had sea creatures that you can touch. While the older kids and adults can visit the planetarium (little tykes aren’t allowed), you can take the little ones to a play area that includes a little music room where they can make all of the noise they want. For those of you who are fond of bugs, there is a whole exhibit of all kinds of strange, but yet interesting creepy critters.
This place took almost a full day of entertaining. The admission price isn’t too extreme, but the IMAX Theater is an additional fee unless you purchase a CityPass (see any of the above sites for details). For more information on The Pacific Science Center you can visit their website at http://pacificsciencecenter.com/ or call 206.443.2001
I really hope you get a chance to take your family to these fun filled places. Your kids, and the kid at heart, will just love it!