Photo: Ingrid Taylar

Family Fun in Seattle

Seattle boasts an abundance of family-friendly attractions, most of which are in mere walking distance from one another.  With more than 400 parks and open space, as well as easy walkability, Seattle is often considered a top family destination.

Family Attractions

  • The Children’s Museum, Seattle – The Children’s Museum, Seattle offers a fun, interactive learning environment for families with exhibits such as a Global Village, Mountain Forest, Imagination Studio and Discovery Bay.  For more information call (206) 441-1768 or visit thechildrensmuseum.org.
  • EMP Museum – Created by Microsoft co-founder, Paul G. Allen, EMP Museum is dedicated to exploring creativity and innovation in American popular music, from rock ‘n’ roll to jazz, soul, gospel, country, blues, hip-hop, punk and other genres. Visitors to the Frank O. Gehry-designed, 140,000-square-foot museum can view rare artifacts and memorabilia and experience the creative process by listening to musicians tell their own stories. In addition to the music exhibit, visitors can explore one-of-a-kind collection of artifacts and memorabilia of works by Isaac Asimov, Ursula Le Guin, H.G. Wells, George Lucas, Gene Rodenberry, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and other luminaries of the genre. For more information call (877) EMP-SFM1 or visit empmuseum.org.
  • Museum of Flight – From the Wright brothers to outer space, the wonder of flight comes alive at one of the world’s largest air and space museums. With more than 150 historic aircraft on display, interactive exhibits and special programs and events, the Museum of Flight offers an exciting experience the whole family can enjoy.  Museum exhibits include a retired British Airways Concorde jetliner, one of three in the U.S. on display, Air Force One and the Personal Courage Wing which showcases 28 rare and restored World War I and II fighter aircraft. For more information call (206) 764-5720 or visit museumofflight.org.
  • Pacific Science Center – Following the closing ceremonies of the 1962 World’s Fair, the United States Science Pavilion became the first U.S. museum founded as a science and technology center, known today as the Pacific Science Center.  The hands-on learning center for both children and adults offers permanent and traveling exhibits. Permanent exhibits feature an interactive dinosaur display, Tropical Butterfly House, Insect Village, Puget Sound Model and Saltwater Tide Pool, plus other exhibits showcasing animals, technology and more.  Two IMAX theaters showcase the latest in big-screen and 3-D films. For more information call (206) 443-2001 or visit pacificsciencecenter.org.
  • Seattle Aquarium – The Seattle Aquarium features a stunning 40-foot, 55,000-lb. viewing window that looks into a 120,000-gallon aquarium filled with salmon, colorful rockfish, vibrant sea anemones, other native Washington marine life and interactive divers.  Other exhibits include two pools filled with sea anemones and sunflower sea star, a pacific coral reef exhibit, marine mammals and an underwater dome, the aquarium’s largest exhibit.  The aquarium is located on Seattle’s waterfront at Pier 59.  For more information call (206) 386-4300 or visit seattleaquarium.org.
  • Space Needle – A legacy of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the 605-foot Space Needle observation tower is an ever-futuristic icon of Seattle. The Space Needle features an observation deck at the 520-foot level with 360-degree views of the Seattle skyline, Puget Sound and the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.  Just below, SkyCity restaurant rotates on the hour and specializes in Pacific Northwest cuisine.  A gift store is located in the Space Needle lobby.  For more information call (206) 905-2111 or visit spaceneedle.com.
  • Ride the Ducks of Seattle – Tour Seattle by land and sea with Ride the Ducks.  The tour features vintage DUKW vehicles (“Ducks”), amphibious landing crafts developed by the United States Army during World War II. The Seattle tour encompasses downtown Seattle by land and Lake Union by water.  Duck schedules vary throughout the year.  For more information call (206) 441-DUCK or (800) 817-1116 or visit ridetheducksofseattle.com.
  • Safeco Field Tours – Visit the home of the Seattle Mariners. The tour includes areas of the ballpark that are not normally open to the public, such as the press box, luxury suites, field, dugout and visitor’s clubhouse.  For more information visit seattlemariners.com.
  • Seattle Children’s Theatre – Seattle Children’s Theatre provides innovative artistic programming and professional theatre for the young people and families – and visitors to – of the Puget Sound region. In 2000, SCT completed the Allen Family Technical Pavilion, which consists of the paint, costume, prop, and scene shops as well as rehearsal and classroom spaces. This state-of-the-art facility was the first self-contained theater complex built for young audiences in the nation, and has since been used as a model for other theatres.  Plays (many of them world premieres) are written for children of varying ages and their families and are professionally produced on two state-of-the-art stages.  For more information call (206) 443-0807 or visit sct.org.
  • CenturyLink Field Tours – Visit the home of the Seattle Seahawks and Sounds FC. The tour allows fans to sit in a luxury suite, suit up in the visitor’s locker room and eventually set foot on the same playing surface as Seahawks players. For more information visit centurylinkfield.com.
  • Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center – Soundbridge connects children and adults to symphonic music through educational programming, concerts and interactive exhibits.  Visitors can explore instruments, go on a symphonic treasure hunt or become a conductor or join a handbell choir with Wii Music. Soundbridge is located in Benaroya Hall. For more information call (206) 336-6600 or visit seattlesymphony.org/families-learning/soundbridge.
  • Woodland Park Zoo – Often ranked among the top zoos in the country, Woodland Park Zoo is famed for setting international standards for animal care and its realistic landscape exhibits that allow animals to thrive and be seen in naturalistic environments. Popular exhibits include an African Savanna Safari, Northern Trail, Tropical Rain Forest, Bug World, Temperate Forest Zone, Willawong Station and Australasia Zone. For more information call (206) 548-2500 or visit  zoo.org.
  • Seattle Great Wheel Seattle Great Wheel – The Seattle Great Wheel is a 175-foot Ferris wheel located at the end of Pier 57 on the Seattle waterfront. The 42 Euro-designed gondolas are equipped with heating, air conditioning and glass see-through floors with views of Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains and the Seattle city skyline.  The structure extends nearly 40 feet out from the pier, hovering over Elliott Bay. For more information call (206) 623-8600 or visit seattlegreatwheel.com.

Attraction Passes

  • Seattle CityPASS -Visitors wanting the “full Seattle experience” often choose to purchase a Seattle CityPASS to get the most for their money. Included in the CityPASS are admission tickets to many of Seattle’s most popular attractions including the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises’ Harbor Tour and two option tickets with the choice of visiting the Pacific Science Center or Chihuly Garden and Glass and the second option of visiting the EMP Museum or Woodland Park Zoo. The cost of Seattle CityPASS is $74 for adults and $54 for children, equaling a savings of 45% or more.  For more information, visit citypass.com.

Public Parks

  • Discovery Park – Discovery Park is located in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain ranges.  Occupying most of the former U.S. Army’s Fort Lawton, Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest park at 534 square acres.  Features include a children’s play area, tennis courts, picnic tables, wooded trails and a visitor center.  Stop by the Daybreak Star Cultural Center to view original Native American arts and crafts. For more information call (206) 386-4236 or visit seattle.gov/parks/environment/discovery.htm.
  • Gas Works Park – Gas Works Park, once an old gasification plant that powered most of Seattle in the early 1900s before the import of natural gas, sits on the north tip of Lake Union with picturesque views of downtown Seattle.  Portions of the original “Gas Works” remain, including the boiler room which was converted to a picnic shelter with tables, fire grills and an open area.  The former exhauster-compressor building is now a large play barn with brightly colored machinery.  For more information call (206) 684-4075 or visit seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=293.
  • Green Lake Park – One of Seattle’s most popular parks, Green Lake Park, features a 2.8 mile paved pathway that surrounds a freshwater lake popular for walking, running, rollerblading and bike riding. Additional park features include a full basketball court, a seasonal guarded beach area, a hand-carry boat launch and boating area, fishing, an indoor pool, outdoor tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields and golf.  The park also boasts Seattle’s largest wadding pool, perfect for young children to cool off on hot summer days.  For more information call (206) 684-4075 or visit seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=307.

Kid-Friendly Restaurants

  • Ivar’s Acres of Clams – Since 1938, the waterfront location, fresh seafood and award-winning chowder have made Ivar’s one of Seattle’s favorite traditions. Ivar’s serves lunch and dinner, offers an outdoor fish bar and kids menu, featuring a tuna sandwich and junior sized serving of fish and chips.  For more information call (206) 624-6852 or visit www.ivars.com.
  • The Crab Pot – Located on Seattle’s waterfront, The Crab Pot serves fresh Northwest seafood specializing in “Seafeasts,” an assortment of seafood, potatoes, corn on the cob and andouille sausage that is served without plates directly on the table.  Other menu items include Dungeness crab, Maine lobster, alder-smoked seafood and featuring fish and chips, grilled cheese and chicken strips on their kids menu. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.  For more information call (206) 624-1890 or visit thecrabpotseattle.com.
  • SkyCity – Located 500 feet above Seattle, the Space Needle’s rotating restaurant offers 360-degree views and features a Pacific Northwest themed menu, kids menu featuring Space Noodle pasta and a complementary visit to the Observation Deck.  SkyCity is open for lunch Monday-Friday, dinner daily and weekend brunch. For more information call (206) 905-2100 or visit spaceneedle.com.

Transportation

  • Link Light Rail – Sound Transit’s Link light rail line runs from downtown Seattle to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac). Downtown stations are located at Westlake Center, the financial district, Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District. The train makes stops in several neighborhoods south of Seattle before reaching the Sea-Tac/Airport Station, an approximately 30-40 minute trip. The Sea-Tac/Airport Station connects to the airport through the airport parking garage via a lit and covered pedestrian walkway. The fare for the trip from downtown Seattle is $2.75 for adults, $1.25 for youths 6-18 and free for riders under six when accompanied by a paying adult.  For more information visit soundtransit.org/Schedules/Link-light-rail.
  • Metro Buses – Metro Transit offers low cost transportation throughout the downtown core daily. The downtown core includes a 1.3-mile stretch from the tunnel at the Convention Place Station on Ninth Ave. and Pine St., through the retail core, financial district, Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District. Riders must pay when entering the bus for all trips. For more information visit metro.kingcounty.gov.
  • South Lake Union Streetcar – Seattle’s newest edition to public transportation, the streetcar traverses the South Lake Union neighborhood through the Denny Triangle, ending in the downtown core area. Adult fare is $2.25 one-way and children are $.75 one-way. For more information visit seattlestreetcar.org/slu.htm.
  • The Seattle Center Monorail (low cost) – For a quick, inexpensive trip between downtown Seattle and the Seattle Center try the monorail. A round trip ticket is $4.50 for adults, $2 for youth ages 5-12 and $2 for seniors, disabled, persons with Medicare cards and active duty military. Children four and under ride free. Terminals are located on the upper level of Westlake Center and at the Seattle Center near the Space Needle. For more information visit seattlemonorail.com.

 

Contacts:

David Blandford – (206) 461-5806, dblandford@visitseattle.org
Kauilani Robinson – (206) 461-5839, krobinson@visitseattle.org

 

(Updated 2/15)

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