Summer in Seattle is just about as good as you can get in the USA. The sun is shining, the rain has run away to bother someone else, and the temperatures are moderate most days. Rarely do we go above 90 degrees. There is no better time to grab the kids and head out to some of Seattle’s parks, beaches, museums and best animal attractions.
Seattle is bursting with parks and playgrounds that will have your kids swooning with joy. Why not pick a spot that you can both have fun in? Kubota Gardens boasts Japanese-inspired landscaping with trails and rock pathways even the oldest adventurer can appreciate. This south side park is fun to get lost in or simply enjoy a picnic. If you are up for more of a hike, head over to Discover Park. This converted army base is now home to bunny rabbits, forest trails, a beautiful walk down to the beach where you can peer into the old lighthouse, or simply run across meadows. Magnuson Park, one of the largest parks in the city, has a fabulous playground, dog park, running path, sports fields, and gorgeous views of the lake to gaze upon as you enjoy your morning latte.
If the weather gets a bit balmy head through Ballard into Golden Gardens. Dig in the sand, pop over to the playground, or just lay back and enjoy the sun. On weekends this beach gets packed with locals. It is also a popular wedding site; don’t be surprised if you pop up in photos with a bride and groom. Alki Beach runs along one of the main streets in West Seattle. There are concrete steps into the Puget Sound, or you can plop down in a bit of sand with some fish and chips from a restaurant across the street. Seward Park, located on Lake Washington, has a great little swimming area and lawn to relax or have a picnic on. The area is roped off for kids to swim, or you can pop over to the stellar playground with a zip line. This park is huge, so if you have time, go on a hike or join up with a weekday nature walk out of the education center.
Although the locals tend to be outside whenever the sun is shining, we do love the Pacific Science Center. The toddler area is filled with cars, helicopters, and my son’s favorite, a water table that runs along a third of the play area. Animatronic dinosaurs, a live snake presentation, and a space capsule will get your little scientists minds racing, while mom will enjoy a quiet and peaceful moment in the Butterfly House. When your kids are too rammy for a museum, but you still want to add a little culture to your trip, walk through the Olympic Sculpture Park. Your kids can run free while you gaze upon massive Calder and Richard Serra installations.
Continue to highlight some engineering marvels combined with a little salmon watching (seasonal) at the Ballard Locks Grab a burger at RedMill Burgers before walking over to the locks to watch the boats going up and down. For those looking for a little more up close and personal fish encounter, head downtown to the waterfront’s Seattle Aquarium. This small, but well stocked aquarium allows children to stick their hands in tide pools, watch the starfish being fed, and experience a few of the animals that call Puget Sound home. Woodland Park Zoo also offers up some great animal interactions. A slew of babies were just born in spring of 2013, including otters, lion cubs, sloth bears, and jaguars. There is plenty of space for kids to run around. Many of the animal enclosures give multiple views of the animals, and there is always an ice cream cone waiting for hungry tummies.