Seattle is known for many things, but above all else, it’s a hub of innovation, education, and creation. A wonderful city for the whole family to visit, Seattle is home to some of the greatest arts initiatives in the country. These are highlighted at various cultural institutions around the city with cars, planes, manmade marvels, and scientific discoveries on full display. Even though you’ll spend a weekend stimulating your kids’ minds at these stops, we promise you’ll love them, too.
Get Your Science On
The Pacific Science Center is an interactive experience set out to inspire curiosity, fuel a passion for discovery, and encourage critical thinking. Thousands of visitors each year are inspired to bringing science to life at unique exhibits like Body Works and Terracotta Warriors. The Tinker Tank is hands-on learning at its finest as kids have free rein to design and build their own imaginative creations. Adults and kids alike will love the IMAX, which truly brings the movie experience to life with 3D graphics that seem to leap right off the screen.
See What’s Under the Water
Did you know that Puget Sound is home to the world’s largest species of octopus? You can see these unique sea creatures and other marine mammals at The Seattle Aquarium. Other must-see exhibits inside the aquarium include Window on Washington Waters, Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, Birds & Shores, and the Underwater Dome. It’s a great place to teach your kids about conservation and provide a little more color to the otherwise true blue Pacific Northwest landscape.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Olympic Sculpture Park blends the outdoors with the arts. Funded and designed by the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), the park is completely free to the public and open year-round. Boasting expansive views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, pack a picnic and explore the 9-acres of green space interspersed with dynamic sculpture projects.
Feel the Wind in Your Hair
With water surrounding city on both sides, it’s easy to supplement your time on land with a day trip to Whidbey Island, Vashon Island, or Bainbridge Island via Washington State Ferries. One of the most popular excursions is the water taxi to Alki Beach in the summer. It’s a great spot for a brisk walk any time of year, and draws joggers, rollerbladers, volleyball players, beachcombers, bicyclists, and strollers out to enjoy the views. Kids will love the opportunity to get a beach day anytime of the year.
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane
The home of Boeing jets, one of Seattle’s many nicknames is Jet City. Whether you arrived on one of their “birds” or by car, the kids may enjoy touring the Future of Flight Aviation Center to see the incredible flying machines being built. Visitors will see models like the 747, 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliners being assembled for future trips around the world.
Learn About the Locals
The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) is one of the best places to get an understanding of local culture through the decades. Located on the docks of Lake Union, the museum shares the story of the technological, scientific, and artistic advancements of the region. Kids will enjoy interactive exhibits about life in the West and commercial trades, while adults get an interesting look into life as an early settler. If you’re more interested in the present day, you don’t want to miss True Northwest: The Seattle Journey, which showcases snapshots of the city through an immersive multimedia exhibit.
Get Out on the Water
Considered one of the top boating cities in the United States, you simply have to spend a day on the water in Seattle. From March through October, you can rent canoes or rowboats for $10 to $12 an hour from the University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center. Suggested routes to paddle around include Washington Park Arboretum on Montlake Cut, Lake Union and Lake Washington.
Catch a Show
The Seattle Children’s Theatre is one of the 20 largest regional theatres in the country and works to develop a lifelong interest in the arts. Kids can take a drama class to cultivate their inner performance artist or catch a family-friendly show like The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you’re in town.
How to Do It
Traveling with the kids is never cheap, however, throughout the month of February, Seattle Museum Month offers half price admission to over 40 cultural institutions. From the Kid’s Discovery Museum to the Museum of Pop Culture and the Museum of Flight, there are museums for any obscure interest your child may have. Simply book a stay at one of participating hotels downtown and you’re granted an instant passport to discover the city at a deep discount.