Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Things to do with kids and toddlers in Seattle!

I'm always up for trying new things and searching for fun things to do in Seattle or in general for that matter. I will be putting up a separate post about general fun things to with kids and toddlers, so be on the lookout for that. I'll probably keep updating this list as time goes by as well, keep checking back for that as well.

We have lived in Seattle for the last 14 years and I used to think that there was nothing to do here and especially with kids is kind of hard to find new things to do. What I've figured out is that sometimes its fun to do the touristy things. Below you can find how we enjoy the joys of Seattle toursts during off season.

We love Seattle, it truly is the most beautiful place in the US (in my opinion anyway) and it does not rain here as much as people think that it does. Winters are mild and summers are warm, lots of beaches, water, mountains and forests, and no State Income Tax :) What else can you really ask for. I'll keep adding to this list as time goes on and we discover even more fun things to do, so keep checking back. Please let me know in the comments what you like to do in Seattle.

1) SEATTLE MONORAIL - By far the number one thing to for my son. Every time as I ask him what he wants to do in Seattle, the first thing is the Monorail and we always have to go there first. I have to agree, its pretty cool. Yes, its short, super short, but the ride is well worth it for $4, kids under 4 are free. Here is what we do most of the time, occasionally we'll change our plans if we want to spend time at the Seattle Center. I always park at a parking garage near Westlake Center, then we can walk there and catch the Monorail. Now Chase always has to sit in the front (right next to the driver), so we wait next to the gates so I can make sure he gets the chance to run and pick his seat, its a very popular spot and well worth the fight for it. TIP #1: ask the driver if your kid can honk the horn and they will always say "YES", it is such a cool experience for them that they will never forget and they will be telling others about it for weeks. TIP #2: If you don't care about spending time in Seattle Center then don't get off the monorail there, just stay on and when everybody has gotten off, walk to the other side and sit next to the drivers seat, guaranteed front seat every time :) That's what we do, we take it there and back and I buy round trip tickets at Westlake for it, then we don't need to get off and back on again, guaranteing a front row seat!

2) SPACE NEEDLE - You would think this is not something that a child would like, but I think you could be wrong. My boy who is four, he loves to go up there. TIP #1: don't pay to go to the top, just have lunch (cheaper than dinner) and if you spend $25.00 it includes the trip to the observation deck. When we go, I just order a cup of soup and a grilled cheese for my son and it makes for a very special lunch, he thought it was so amazing and you can see seaplanes flying right by it. TIP #2: don't miss the store across the way from the Space Needle, same souvenirs, much cheaper prices :)

3) PIKE PLACE MARKET - Get a picture taken with the famous pig. Watch the guys through the fish, TIP #1 don't worry if you live far, they will pack any kind of seafood you buy on dry ice, ready to be taken on an airplane or bus or car :) Make sure you don't miss the much talked about gum wall, and yes it is exactly what you think it is, its lots of gum stuck to the wall, make sure you make your own contribution. Don't miss the very first Starbucks if you are a coffee lover. TIP #2, take your kids downstairs there are lots of funky stores that they will love to look around at.

4) YE OLD COURIOSITY SHOP - Located on the water, just a long walk down the stairs to the waterfront from 1st avenue or make your way towards the Seattle Aquarium and you'll see it around there. My son loves this store, it fairly large, but its a combination of a museum and a store with the weirdest things you'll ever see. TIP #1: make sure you bring some quarters and get their pressed souvenir pennies and a token. Don't forget to buy a shirt or even some fudge for a snack (like I said they have anything and everything). TIP #2: make sure you make your way to the very back of the store where you see real mummies and shrunken heads.

5) THE SEATTLE AQUARIUM - This one, I can personally skip, but this is for the kids after all, so make sure you go and check it out. To be honest, the reason I don't like it as much as my son is that there are a few aquariums that I like more than this one (Vancouver BC, Point Defiance Zoo). Anyway, I would recommend this for kids though, they have so much fun. TIP #1 don't miss the petting "zoo", where they let kids touch the sea creatures, which is always fun. Most of the fish there are local, I wish they did have more exotic types of fish, but oh well. The otters are too cute, so don't miss that. TIP# 2: make sure you make your way outside to check out the seals in their natural habitat.

6) WATER TAXI - This one is a hidden treasure in Seattle. Trust me, you have to take the water taxi to West Seattle weather you have kids or not, this one is worth it. It only costs $4.00 to go to West Seattle and kids under 5 are free, what?!?!? TIP #1: sit in the back of the boat upstairs outside, you get the most beautiful views of Seattle, don't forget your camera. TIP# 2: take the latest boat you can, so you can see Seattle at night as you are leaving, so beautiful. I wouldn't recommend this if its super cold and rainy, because they view won't be as nice and it will be cold, you are on the water after all.

 7) PACIFIC SCIENCE CENTER - This is a pretty cool place for childen of all ages and adults as well. Dinosaurs - Although I'm pretty sure they don't have an real disnosaur bones or fossils or anything like that, this area is still fun for the kids, they are a large scale models that move and make noise.
The Tropical Butterfly House - This is well worth it, its a room full of beautiful butterflies, they come and sit on your shoulders TIP #1: Please watch were you step here, its so easy step on the butterflies, they land on the ground a lot :(
We love the Insect Village, right outside the Butterfly House, this is a little boys dream to be able to watch instects, he could spend hours watching them. There are tons of different exhibits to see, the above ones are some of Chases favorites though. TIP #2: You can have birthday parties there, we had Chases very first birthday there, they provided the decorations, cake, ice cream making and eating, we made rockets and launched them outside, lots of coloring as well.

8) BURKE MUSEUM - This is a hidden treasue of Seattle, I never even knew this excisted until someone posted something about it on Facebook. Now I'm passing on the word, go check it out, its fun for all boys and girls no matter what their age. They have lots of dinosaur stuff, real dino bones and skeletons, lots of games, puzzles and toys as well. TIP #1: Leave lots of time for your kid to play, the games area is awesome, we could have spent hours there. TIP #2: Family Events, check out their website for fun family events, where you get to do hands on experiments and crafts with your child.
This is a Natural History Museum, so there are lots more things to look at, not just dino related, that's just the part we enjoy the best.

9) THE FREMONT TROLL - Now, I get there is nothing really to do at the Troll itself, however for a little boy like mine just climing on it and being able to see the VW Beetle like that is all the fun he needs. This is a Troll made by four local Artist, he his holding a real VW Beetle in his hand and he lives under the Aurora Bridge, you can find ton of street parking near by and I've never seen it overly crowded.     
TIP #1: You can climb on it, touch it, draw on it (as long as its not permanent). Just be careful, there tend to be homeless people sleeping under the bridge on the top of the Troll, so please watch your children. TIP #2: Check out Fremont, you are just minutes away from Fremont, its little, but it has so much charm, good stores and even better food. Don't miss Theo's Chocholate Factory. Tours are offered all day long, however not recommended for small children due to noice factors and its boring (for children :). That's what they told us at the store anyway. Also check out "Pie", they have the best and most unique pies we've ever had.

10) LEMAY CAR MUSEUM - It is a little drive away from Seattle, its about an hour south, in Tacoma. This is well worth the drive, escpecially if you have a little boy who loves cars. Again, this is fun for children of all ages and adults. These cars are all owned by the same person and they do switch out some cars occasionally so there are some new cars to see every time you go. TIP #1: Don't miss the car races, on the third level down you can buy tickets and race little remote control cars for 10 minues, this is what my son looks forward to the most. TIP #2: Enjoy the view, make sure you step outside on the main level on the very back, you get beautiful water views.

11) THE SEATTLE GREAT WHEEL - It's a Ferris Wheel on pier 57 in Downtown Seattle. It's the largest observation wheel on the west coast. This is the only Ferris Wheel of its kind to extend over water, 40 feet of it is completely over Elliott Bay. I think it costs around $12, with discounts to children. You get some amazing views of Downtown and the island accross the water. TIP# 1: Get there early and go during off season. Lines can get really long during the summer time. TIP# 2: Ask if you can get a pod all to yourself, otherwise they will seat other people in with you, because it seats 8 people. Its always hard to deside which side to sit on if you have to share.

12) TWIN FALLS HIKE - There are lots of places in the Seattle area to go hiking. Twin Falls is one of my favorites for a few reasons. It's close, its about 35 minute drive from Seattle. It's short, only 3 mile round trip. It's gorgeaus, you cannot go wrong with a trail in Washington State. It has everything, it starts out flat with a river running next to you, then you get to a foresty area, then you go uphill with huge trees, then you get bolders are rocks for kids to climb under and over, then you get to the first waterfall that you cross over and then you get to the other waterfall. On the way we saw chipmonks, they were so cute. TIP# 1: Pack a lunch that you can have at the river in the beginning of the trail. TIP# 2: Go during off season or during the week, this trail can get crowded during nice weather, but it is open all year round.

No comments: