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Six Kid-Friendly Seattle Attractions
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Madison Park Beach, Seattle
Eric Sheckler
Finding kid-friendly activities that will also keep mom and dad happy is not always an easy task. These six attractions will keep children full of bliss while allowing parents to have a good time, too. That’s what we call a good, old-fashioned win-win situation.
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Here, kids of all ages can learn about natural history and cultural heritage through a variety of exhibits. The Burke’s collections cover more than 12 million species and include a herpetology exhibit showcasing more than 50 reptiles and amphibians, some of which can be found nowhere else. Also explore plenty of other “ologies” — including arachnology (spiders), ornithology (birds), ichthyology (fish) geology, paleontology and much more.
Ballard Locks, Seattle
Heather Bryant
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
Often called the “Ballard Locks” due to their location in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, these canals link saltwater Puget Sound with freshwater lakes Union and Washington, thereby allowing boats to pass from one body of water to the other. These are the busiest locks in the Western Hemisphere, and a few moments spent watching the operators guide boats through will have kids feeling like they are part of a maritime crew. The fish ladder is also located at the locks. Here salmon adjust to different levels of salt each step of the way, and glass panels make it possible to watch the process.
Seattle Center Fountain, Seattle
Eric Sheckler
First, head to the Pacific Science Center for a seriously hands-on experience. Kids can spin a two-ton granite ball in the outdoor area, stand in a dinosaur footprint, touch sea creatures and more. There’s even an Insect Village and IMAX theater. Next, try the EMP Museum, where kids can play with guitars and explore rock ‘n’ roll — there’s even room in the music booths for mom and dad. Finish the day with a thrilling trip to the top of the Space Needle. The observation deck is open until 9:30pm or later.

Seattles Waterfront
Hillary Hartley

The area between Piers 52 and 70 on Alaskan Way is called the Seattle Waterfront. This collection of attractions, restaurants and shopping is also the starting point for ferries and cruise ships. The Victoria Clipper and Argosy Cruises boat tours are also located here. Feed the seagulls at the statue of Ivar Haglund in front of Ivar’s Acres of Clams, stroll by the fountains on the wooden piers of Waterfront Park, admire the views or shop for souvenirs. Of particular interest to kids is Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, which houses a selection of mummies, shrunken heads, gag gifts, souvenirs and other oddities.
Underground Tour, Seattle
Jeremy Reed for the
Underground Tour
Pioneer Square
This historic neighborhood is full of unusual fascinations, some of which are found below the ground. Kids can climb underground for a tour of the original city, long-buried beneath the current-day Pioneer Square district. After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the current city was rebuilt over the top of the ruins. Guided tours, available through Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, take guests through hidden subterranean passages that once were the main roads and storefronts of original Seattle. Guides share interesting, often humorous, tidbits about the city’s past and the historical characters who lived here. Some of the historical topics are decidedly rated R, but the guides know how to edit for a kid-friendly tour.

Plenty of Seattle restaurants offer interesting décor and kid-friendly menus that will keep your little ones from squirming and sighing during your meal. The Hard Rock Cafe Seattle is a surefire crowd-pleaser with plenty of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia to look at between dinner and dessert. Buca di Beppo serves delicious Italian fare family style for a fun group experience. Ivar’s Salmon House is a long-time local favorite with some of freshest seafood around. And a large concentration of casual, brewpub-style joints offer the chance for adults to enjoy a brew while young, picky palates are pleased with burgers, sandwiches and other comforting fare.

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Seattle Aquarium
Melissa Doroquez
The Seattle Children’s Museum is a true hands on experience that can keep kids entertained for an hour or a full day — not to mention it’s a truly educational experience. The Seattle Aquarium is a place where children can learn that a sea otter eats more than 25 percent of its body weight in any given day and hang out in an underwater dome while dozens of species of fish and marine life swim by. More animals can be found at the Woodland Park Zoo, which not only showcases exotic animals such as snow leopards but it also works to save wildlife and habitats through education and conservation methods. It’s hard to decide what’s best about the Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park — the fact that it’s an incredibly cool museum that follows the gold rush or that it’s free. Can’t go wrong with either reason to visit. And what kid-friendly trip to Seattle would be complete without a trip to the Museum of Flight, which lets kids check out the air traffic control tower over the Boeing Field, learn about space travel and sit in a fighter plane. Adults can admit this is a pretty neat stop too.


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