Aquatic explorations rule at Seattle Aquarium (*1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59; seattleaquarium.org) on the waterfront. Look eye to eye with a giant Pacific octopus and catch the interactive dive show at the colossal Window on Washington Waters exhibit. Kids delight in watching sea otters munch their lunch and harbor seals dive and play.
Seafaring fun abounds on whale-watching excursions with Clipper Vacations (*2701 Alaskan Way, Pier 69; clippervacations.com), the only outfit that departs from downtown Seattle. Keep little ones on the lookout for orca, minke, and humpback whales while comfortably cruising the San Juan Islands.
Just north of downtown Seattle, landlubbers adore Woodland Park Zoo (*5500 Phinney Ave N; zoo.org). Children can meet scaly, feathered, or furry friends during daily animal encounters. Feeding experiences offer a chance to get up close to birds, penguins, and giraffes. Be sure to pay a visit to the endangered Malayan tiger brothers, a ferocious sight to behold.
Felines of the smaller, domestic variety reign at Seattle Meowtropolitan (1225 N 45th St; seattlemeowtropolitan.com). Reserve a spot in the cat lounge, where parents sip their “catpuccinos” and kids enjoy the company of adoptable kitties from a local shelter.
Meanwhile, Discovery Park (3801 Discovery Park Blvd; seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/discovery-park) beckons visitors
away from the bustle of the city to hike along scenic nature trails. Search for chipmunks, otters, and beavers, or join a Saturday Bird Tour during the fall migration.
Another sure-fire kid-pleaser is the Tropical Butterfly House at Pacific Science Center (*200 Second Ave N; pacificsciencecenter.org). Hundreds of striking winged wonders float by—and sometimes land on—lucky visitors.
*Visit Seattle Partner