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Two days in Seattle with young adults
I will be spending two full days in Seattle with three 20+
year olds that haven't been there before.
I would appreciate some suggestions on how to spend our
two days. They are adventurous and so perhaps some
suggestions that include outings we can do...possibly some
hiking? I want to do more with them than just walk around
downtown or typical sightseeing areas.
You have to go to the
Experience Music Project (museum), from the architecture to
the exhibits, it's very cool. It is touristy, and in the
very touristy are (Seattle Center), but otherwise, really
great (esp. if you need to be indoors for a day. Anon
Seattle visit with 4th grade boy
We are going to Seattle for a long weekend in mid-March and
we would love some advice on the best way to get around and
where to go with a ten-year-old boy. We will be attending a
Bar Mitzvah for the weekend mornings, so need some good
half-day long activities as well as something to do on the
one full weekday we'll have. How is public transport in the
area? Is it advisable to rent a car? How about getting to
the suburbs and to/from the airport? Thanks!
Seattle is a great place for a 4th grader to visit! Right
in Seattle Center there is the Pacific Science Center (very
cool exhibits, also an IMAX), Experience Music Project, and
Seattle Children's Theatre (check to see if they have any
performances that weekend). You can also combine any of
these visits with a trip up to the top of the Space Needle,
which is tourist-y but my 4th grader and his pal loved it.
If it's sunny, be sure to play in the huge fountain in
Seattle Center near the Arena. Pike Place Market is fun for
looking at curios, great eats and you can walk from there
down to the waterfront and go to the Seattle Aquarium. For
outdoorsy activities, Gasworks park is fun, the Woodland
Park Zoo if you like zoos, and Discovery Park is great. If
you stick to downtown locations, public transit (bus and
monorail) are very easy. In fact, there is a free ride area
downtown, and the monorail goes right to Seattle Center.
There are fast express buses from Bellevue, if that's the
suburb you'll be in. I'm sure the Seattle Metro (bus) has a
website. Have fun! Seattle is a great place to visit.
Seattle family vacation in late July or August
I am interested in hearing from parents who have gone to
Seattle during summer for a family vacation. We have two
girls who are 6 and 9 years old. Is this city a good place
for a family vacation with children? Is there enough to do
for ten days? would you rent a condo or stay at a hotel?
can you recommend a section of the city where we can stay,
with a park, children's entertainment and restaurants that
we can easily walk to without driving (we will have a car
but do not want to use it every day)? what are the main
museums and day trips that we can do with the children? can
you recommend a great hotel (mid price)? can you recommend
some nice restaurants that are good for children and adults.
thank you, Interested in doing something other than San
Diego but not too far from California. Lisa
Yes, Seattle is a fabulous place for a summer family
vacation, and there is plenty to do for ten days! (And then
some.) And July/August is the best time to go,
weather-wise, but yes, there will probably be some rain.
I can't recommend hotels or condo rentals, because we have
always stayed with relatives, but the city is chock full of
fun places to take grade school age kids. I would look to
stay near the Seattle Center or downtown which will give you
the easiest access to local attractions and public
transportation, though of course you might find something
less expensive in a more residential neighborhood. There's
no regional equivalent to BART, and cross-town traffic can
be very slow, but the city busses are quite decent, and the
monorail between Seattle Center and downtown is fun to ride
as well as practical. Plus, of course, there's the ferries!
Our favorites for the family include the Seattle Center
(lots of museums, rides, and other attractions there; do the
Space Needle observation platform, but don't eat in the
restaurant, which has not-good food at way-too-high prices),
the Pioneer Square area (the Underground Tour is worth
doing, and yes, it's fine for the kids although there will
be some bawdy innuendo in the stories the guides tell), the
downtown main public library, the Arboretum's floating
walkways on Lake Washington (combines nicely with a visit to
MOHI, a historical museum that's maybe more interesting for
the adults but does offer some displays and activities that
appeal to kids), the Wooden Boat Center on Lake Union, Gas
Works Park, the waterfront (you must visit the Pike Place
Market, of course, but don't plan on a LOT of time there; an
Argosy harbor cruise is worth doing), the locks, taking the
ferries out to Bainbridge or other day-trip destinations,
the zoo, the Fremont troll, and Archie McPhee's store.
There are lots of other museums and attractions we've never
managed to get to yet. There are some wonderful festivals,
events and attractions in the area, too, that are worth a
day trip (or half-day or evening or whatever) out of Seattle
proper, whether by car or by ferry (on foot or with car);
you'd have to investigate what's going on during the dates
you want to go. Plenty of opportunities for hiking, berry-
picking, kite-flying, boating, music and art festivals,
sporting events, farmers' markets and craft fairs,
historical and maritime exhibits, etc., etc., etc.
Bring the kids' swimsuits everywhere you go. There are lots
of public fountains where water play is allowed, and parks
with water features, and water-play friendly beaches. In
fact, it's one of the most astonishing things about Seattle
(and Portland too) for a Bay Area native -- there is just
water everywhere, in every form! LOL
Have a breakfast at the Original Pancake House in Ballard.
I know, it sounds like IHOP but it's much better. Get the
Dutch baby. There are a ton of good restaurants for dinner,
but I don't have any specific recommendations; we tend to
just hit whatever looks good wherever we happen to be at the
There are a couple of different entertainment cards/combo
pass deals available, which are worth investigating, but
be sure you'll make full use of them if you buy. Check the
museums' free day schedules, of course, as well as
discounts offered via any local museum or zoo memberships
We had a great family vacation that included Seattle this
past August. I don't know that I'd spend 10 days in Seattle
itself, although that wasn't the focus of our visit and we
stayed with friends there so didn't do a lot of digging into
what was available and kid-friendly. Our kids loved the zoo
(including feeding the giraffes) and the children's museum.
My husband & I weren't as excited about their children's
museum; we log a lot of hours at the Exploratorium in SF and
Seattle suffered by comparison, but that's just our
We actually spent the bulk of our time in the San Juan
Islands, which was wonderful. Our kids (then ages 2 and 3)
had a lot of fun too. We didn't do much that had any
structure, but enjoyed wandering around exploring a couple
of the islands, collecting stones & shells on the beaches,
going whale-watching (the girls still talk about Orcas!),
picking as many blackberries and plums as we could eat from
the bushes and trees at our hotel, going to farmers markets
& outdoor concerts, kayaking.... Our seven days seemed too
short and we'll definitely be back. I'm happy to share
details of specific islands, hotels.... Liz
I grew up in Seattle and still love visiting. It's a great
city for kids of that age, I'd say - the Pike Place Market,
the Aquarium, the Woodland Park Zoo, and the Pacific Science
Center (at Seattle Center, which also has an amusement park,
a monorail, and lots of other things to do) all come to mind
as fun things to do. And the weather is very reliably sunny
and nice in August. You could take a ferry ride, go up to
the mountains one day, take an Underground tour in Pioneer
Square, go to the Museum of Flight. Tons to do! You'll have
no trouble keeping entertained.
Now, where to stay? There are many great neighborhoods
around Seattle that would give you the restaurants, markets,
cafes, and nice walking you're interested in - Queen Anne
Hill would be a great place to rent a house if there are any
on vrbo.com. It's right next to downtown and the Seattle
Center and has lovely views and a nice neighborhood feel (if
a bit yuppie). Ballard, Fremont, West Seattle, and
Wallingford are also nice, though they'd be a bus or car
ride to downtown (the buses are great in Seattle - you might
only need a car for a few days). The neighborhoods are part
of what makes Seattle special, so it might be worth staying
in a house rather than a hotel. Plus you can cook at home!
Family Vacation to Seattle in August
We are beginning to plan our vacation this summer and are
considering a trip to Seattle and environs. I hae checked the
archives and have seen things to do, but little on places to stay.
We will be two adults and two kids, ages 6 and 16. We are looking
for a family friendly 1 br suite hotel, ideally centrally located.
Any recommendations? Also, we will probably rent a car for a
couple of days (not the whole visit) and would like suggestions
for places to go outside of Seattle. And finally, if there are
more current recs for places to go, places to eat, etc. in
Seattle downtown that would be great. Is the monorail up and
running again? Thanks!
We were just in Seattle in March with 2 kids (much younger than yours, though). We did the monorail and the
Space Needle and Pike Place Market, the touristy things, and had a great time.
Your kids would probably really love the Experience Music Project (www.emplive.org) at the base of the Space
Needle, if you haven't considered that already. They might also get a kick out of the ''space travel supply''
(http://www.greenwoodspacetravelsupply.com/) that fronts 826 Seattle, the NW outpost of SF's 826 Valencia
(which has an excellent pirate supply store in the Mission, btw).
Seattle with a 4 year old & infant
Going to Seattle in July, staying near Convention Center. Ideas
on things to do for a 10 mo. old and a four year old with
grandma while I am in conference and then for after my
conference when we can go a bit further away from the city.
Places to go, restaurants, good kiddie places to swim, kid's
museum's, whatever. Thanks.
The Seattle Center (on the northern edge of downtown) is the obvious one
with a fantastic childrens museum, science center and fab fountain to
play in when it's warm. The aquarium is also just downtown and is OK.
Ballard locks - if your kids are interested in fish or boats. Shilshole
beach (just a little farther than the ballard locks) is great, sandy, fun
to play for the little ones. Woodland park zoo - 5 minutes N of downtown
- great zoo.
feel free to contact me for more info - I just moved here from there and
have two little kids.
I have visited Seattle the last two years during July/August and
found many great things to do with my four-year-old daughter.
Here are some we've enjoyed:
1) Children's Museum at Seattle Center
2) Fountains for water play at both Seattle Center and Redmond
3) Seattle Aquarium
4) Swimming beaches at Pine Lake, Sammamish
5) Pacific Science Center (Seattle Center)
6) Woodland Park Zoo
7) Seattle Public Library-architecture is amazing and children's
section is excellent with it's own theater with scheduled events
8) Pike Place International Market for a great variety of places
I highly recommend a resource book called Out and About with Kids
A few ideas for your trip to Seattle:
- the Aquarium is on the waterfront and very close to downtown and the
Convention Center. Down in the same area, it might also be fun to take a
ferry ride or hop on the trolley.
- Green Lake is good for kids. It is a short drive from downtown, just
west of the UW. It has paddle boats for rent and a play ground area.
There is a swimming area, too.
- There are several parks on Lake Washington with swimming. I recommend
checking out the Seattle Parks and Recreation website.
- Seattle Center, at the Space Needle, has some kids-oriented museums to
I'm sure you'll get lots of other postings. Also, google Seattle kids
places and I think there are some websites for more ideas.
The aquarium in downtown Seattle is fabulous. The Children's Musuem is
as well and would be perfect for the 4yr old. It is in the Seattle
Center, which is a fun, short Monorail ride from downtown. The new
library downtown has a great section for kids. The inside is done in
really bright colors, so kids love to just go up and down the escalators
and elevators and explore. The Seattle Center in general has some fun
stuff to do with kids and has various events going on throughout the
year. The Pacific Science Center there has a great area for little kids
and a wonderful Butterfly Exhibit, a big room with tropical plants and
butterflies everywhere. Downtown restaurants with kids, they change so
fast I am not as up to date with that. There are some fun places along
the waterfront and in Pike Place Market. Pike Place is also a great
place to get food if you want to shop and eat at the hotel. There is a
great little dairy shop in the ''sanitary Market'' which is back behind
the street vendors. The Crumpet Shop on 1st ave, right off of Pike
(small place right next to the flower shop on the corner)is a great place
for breakfast and lunch and so yummy. Taco del Mar is a decent local
burrito chain, so is Blu Water Taco. Outside of the downtown area there
is a great zoo, The Woodland Park Zoo, that puts the S.F. zoo to shame.
There is also a really nice playground just north of the zoo, still in
Woodland Park. There is pool in the Ballard neighborhood called Pop
Mounger (I think), I don't know what it is like for everyday swimming,
but is THE place to have birthday parties, so I assume it is kid friendly
on a daily basis. Ballard and Fremont are great neighborhoods, with fun
shops, good food and both have street markets (farmers mkt, food vendors
and arts & crafts) going on the weekends. There are also some great
street fairs in various neighborhoods, throughout the summer.
The beaches along Lake Washington can be fun if the weather is warm
enough for a swim in the lake. Madison Park has a nice beach, good
restuarants and a nice playground across the street from the beach.
Golden Gardens Park also has a fun beach and playground as well as
beautiful views. It is on the Puget Sound, so it would have to really
warm to go in the water there. hope that helps.
Seattle Area B&B or other romantic lodging
My husband and I (without the kids!!) will be traveling to the
Seattle area over Veteran's Day weekend, somewhat on business
(we're considering a big move) and also as a belated
anniversary celebration. We will spend one or two nights with
friends in Kent (35 min. south of Seattle) and would like to
spend one or two nights no more than 2 hours driving time from
Kent. Can you please recommend either a B&B or other romantic
lodging place? Thanks
Our daughter applied for early decision to University of Puget
Sound in Tacoma, WA (she didn't get in -- all to the good,
ultimately), and when we visited the campus we stayed in a
nearby B&B that was charming as heck! It's called Chinaberry
Inn and here's their website: http://www.chinaberryhill.com/
Tacoma has a lot of fun places to visit, and it's a quick drive
When we stayed there, many of the people we met over delicious
breakfasts in the dining room were repeat customers, including
Washington State locals who just love it for a getaway!
Check out The Inn at the Market in downtown Seattle - a few
blocks (or just one?) from Pike's Place Market. I'm dying to
stay there. They are probably booked, but maybe you can get a
last-minute cancellation. Bonus: you'll be able to explore all
of Seattle on foot and public transport. If you want to check
out the out-lying areas, it will still be convenient. A side
comment, since you mentioned you are thinking of moving there,
don't be scared off if you don't like Kent, where you mentioned
you'll be for a few days. I grew up in a small town just next
door to Kent and while it has some things going for it, I
personally think there are far better (more attractive, more
interesting, etc.) areas within the greater Seattle area... so
as I said, don't let yourself be scared off initially. Poke
around! If you can stand the grey skies, it is a MARVELOUS
place to live.
We stayed at the Crescent Lake Lodge last fall (with our kids).
It's in the Olympic Nat'l Park and is gorgeous!! On that same
trip, we stayed at the Paradise Inn in Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park
and that too is fabulous. Neither is cheap and I'd say Crescent
Lake's accomodations were nicer, but you can't beat the scenery
at either place. Both offer upscale, good restaurants.
There's also the Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls. I think
that's even more expensive, but very romantic also. And their
restaurant is top-notch--one of the best meals I've ever had.
I have checked the website, but the postings are old and not exactly what I am
looking for. We are hoping to go to Seattle & environs in late August (prior to Labor
Day weekend). I would be interested in recommendations for (a) lodging that might
have suites, (b) fun things to do and see with our 6 year old daughter, and (c) child-
friendly places to eat. Also any recommendations for what to do/where to go
around Seattle would be great! Figure we'll be there a week max. Thanks much!
A few of my favorite Seattle restaurants, both in Wallingford:
Jitterbug on 45th. Great for all 3 meals. Fine with kids and
delicious food from burgers to california-cuisine style food for
dinner. The second place is Essential Baking. It's at about 35th
and Woodlawn, just above Gasworks Park (fun park to fly kites,
etc). The most amazing bakery with delicious lunch food also.
Luckily my mom lives 4 blocks away so we make a daily pilgrimage
when we go up to visit.
We were just up and found that they have an incredibly easy bus
that gets you into downtown for $1.25 in 30 minutes. Bus
connections are fantastic there, we walked one block and got on
another bus to Wallingford, free because we got transfers. Not
sure what age kids have to pay,our 4 y.o. was free. Our original
plan was to take the monorail to the children's musuem at the
Seattle Center, but turns out there was a recent big fire on
monorail system so it was out of service indefinitely.
I would also recommend staying for part of labor day weekend if
you can. Bumbershoot festival at the Seattle Center is FANTASTIC
(tho you do have to be okay about crowds). You pay a flat fee
(in my day it was about $6, but I'm sure it's more now) and have
access to an incredible range of music from big (and I mean BIG)
name rock & roll bands to great local musicians. Tons of dance
performances, literary events etc.
For our five yr anniversary, we are thinking of flying to Seattle
then driving to Vancouver. I'd love to hear advice from others
who have done this. We have never been to Seattle or
Vancouver so all comments are much appreciated. We will
be taking our one year old so child-friendly things will be
useful. As for time frame, we will be doing this in six days.
Thanks so much.
- traveling man
I grew up in Bellingham (half way beetween Sea and Van) and have
visited a couple times with my two young boys -- now ages 4 and
2. The border wait can be up to an hour wait or more. And I
think they require passports etc.. now (used to be like crossing
into another state). There's a train that goes from Seattle to
Van. that we've ridden part of the route just because my son
LOVES trains. It's a beautiful ride along the coast! In Seattle
there's the Space Needle, GasWorks Park, the Aquarium and whole
waterfront area along Alaskan Way and Pikes Place Market.
Driving North on I-5, there's the House of Pie's right off the
freeway in Marysville -- that was always a favorite stop for us
as kids -- then there's Mt. Vernon in the Skagit Valley which is
home of the Tulip Festival (but that's in the spring). Mt.
Vernon is a cute little town but I don't know what's there. you
might want to check out the websites for Skagit County and
Whatcom County. In Bellingham, there's Fairhaven which is an
historic town from turn of the century that was reconstructed.
They have a doubledecker bus and the Alaskan Ferry, among other
things. The area by the Ferry is fun for kids to run around
since it's right by the water, you can see birds, seals, the
gift shop (key for my son), etc.. This is all 5-10 min from the
Freeway. There's a great park too (Waterfront Park?) that
stretches along the shoreline from Fairhaven north. The
Bellingham Marina also has a cute little hands-on mini-aquarium
for kids. There's some good restaurants around there too but
it's a little further off the freeway. Further north, there's
Lynden which is a re-creation of a Dutch town. And also the
Roeder Homestead (can't remember how to get there but it's near
Lynden) which is great for kids. It's an old farm. June 10-11
they have a big Highland Festival there. I haven't been any
further north than that with my kids. Vancouver has hundreds of
fun things for kids, but that's another topic. Have a great
time. We had a trip planned up there with the boys for first
week of June but had to cancel for medical reasons, sadly. This
makes me wish I was going.
Hi - we're contemplating a short (4-5 day) vacation in Seattle
with our 3rd grader in June. Saw the web site postings, but
looking for more recent information. What's ''not to miss''?
We'll be on public transportation. Can you see salmon in the
summer? Parks or activities/museums that are fun for a kid
that age? Any and all recommendations (or: things to avoid!)
Hope to visit Seattle
I'm from Seattle and please don't miss the Woodland Park Zoo. It
is a small manageable zoo with really, really nice exhibits.
Natural environment. My friend says it's the best zoo he has
ever been to and he's spent a great deal of time at the San
Diego zoo. It's also very accessbible on the bus. The bus system
is great! Reliable and clean.
I also recommend going to the top of the space needle which is
at the SEattle Center. Also at the center is the pacific science
center which is also fun.
Seattle Center rocks for kids...not only is there an amusement
park, merry-go-round, and ice rink, but the Seattle Children's
Museum is there...think Habitot with a bunch of Microsoft money
for swanky exhibits. In fact you can get in for free if you are
a Habitot member at the $100 level.
Downtown is also fun...my daughter loved watching the horse-
drawn carriages at Westlake Center.
We're thinking of driving to Seattle with our 2 kids (ages 7 and 3) to
spend Thanksgiving with friends. We'd take off the whole week, so have
a couple of days to travel each way. Are we nuts? Has anyone done
this, especially with kids near these ages? If so, was it horrible? Ok?
Great? If it was great, where'd you stop along the way? (We're
particularly nervous because of the time of year; If it was summer we'd
plan to camp and do outdoor things along the coast.)
We regularly drive to Vancouver, BC, which is 3-4 hours longer
than the drive to Seattle. It takes us about 16 hours of driving
time to Vancouver (less if I'm the one who is driving :-) ). We
do the Vancouver trip in 2 days, stopping mid-Oregon
(Eugene/Springfield has lots of choices), although you might want
to stop sooner (e.g. Ashland - the factory outlets are good
there, and there is no sales tax in Oregon). If you just want to
get it over-with, you could drive to Seattle in one long day from
here. We find that taking I-5 is best. Although the coast is
more scenic, the driving is slower.
We've done the drive to Vancouver starting with a crawler, who is
now 8. Although we don't like the food, we find that stopping at
McDonalds or Burger King with Play-places really helps. There is
a good one in Weed. Depending on the weather, there are also
lots of rest areas with grass along I-5. If you bring a frisbee,
that helps to burn off energy, too. However, the fast-food
places help if it is rainy.
We find that books, cd's, books on tape, etc help. Our son has
been through the long drives so much that he can entertain
himself. However, last summer, I read Harry Potter: the first
book on the trip up, the second on the trip down (plus time to
finish each at the destination). We find that staying
someplace with a pool helps, too. There is a Holiday Inn Express
in Springfield that is good. They also provide a good breakfast.
Re: Driving to Seattle. We just drove from San Francisco to
Seattle in mid-August for our one-year sabbatical. We have
two kids, just about 4 years old and 6 months. We had a
great time, mainly because we took the following steps:
1) Give yourself enough time. Perhaps with slightly older
kids you can get away with more time in the car in a single
day, but we decided that 6-7 hours of driving was the max
our kids (and us) could take, so we budgeted three days.
Have a daily destination. We planned to stop somewhere
interesting each day to hold out as a carrot for the kids. The
big treat was to visit Crater Lake in Oregon. Unfortunately,
the smoke from nearby forest fires prevented us from
actually seeing the lake itself (but having been there before I
HIGHLY recommend going - call ahead to get conditions.
There will definitely be snow by Thanksgiving, so not sure
which roads will be open). The other thing we did was to
make reservations at motels that had a pool for each night.
That really helped to release steam at the end of the long
driving day. Having prior reservations helped to avoid
anxiety in the car, too, as we didn't have to worry about trying
to find a place to sleep. The internet has plenty of options,
just pick a city on the map and look it up.
3) Be sure to drive
along the coast for some portion of the trip, but don't try to
take Hwy 1 all the way - it will take too much time. We took
101 up to Crescent City, CA, then drove inland using state
roads over to Crater Lake, then over to I-5 and up to Seattle.
But if you're not going to go to the Lake, then I recommend
taking I-5 through California and moving over to Hwy 1
through Oregon, where the coast is simply astonishingly
beautiful. In summer it can get clogged with RV's, but in
November it should be easy, although be prepared for cold
4) You may need to budget more time for the total
vacation, if you're going to drive both ways. Or make the way
up the slow drive and the way down the quick one. If you
took I-5 the whole way, you could probably do it in two days
and one night.
5) Consider Amtrak. There's a sleeper train
that goes from Emeryville to Seattle in about 24 hours or so.
It's pricey, but if you're looking for something special I think it
would be great, especially for the kids. You could take the
train both ways, or do a one-way train/one-way plane trip.
I'm pretty sure Amtrak and United have some sort of
package for this. 5) Regardless of car/train/plane: pack lots
of things for the kids to do, especially have new things they
can open and enjoy.
Have fun!!! It was great to get back to my roots of road trips
with my own family as a kid. Feel free to email me if you'd
like more ideas, or specifics on places to stay.
Long, long ago, my parents took my brother and me (then 4 and 7)
to visit grandparents in So Cal. We drove from Seattle in a tin-
box Fiat with no air conditioning and black vinyl seats. It was
a heat-wave summer. And although I'm told by my mother that we
drove them crazy, we both remember loving it. At least you won't
have to put up with the heat! The trick my parents used was to
start VERY EARLY each morning, bundling us into the car in our
pj's, so we slept. Then, around 7:30 or 8, and 100 miles down
the road, we'd stop for breakfast at Denny's or some such place.
It felt like such a huge adventure! Lots of stops kept things
interesting; if you take the most direct route, I-5, there isn't
as much to see or do along the way, especially until you reach
the California/Oregon border. On the other hand, once in Oregon
there's plenty, and don't forget to stop at Mt. St. Helens once
you get to Washington State. What could be cooler to kids than a
recently exploded volcano?
I just did the drive with my sister and two small children (5
and 6 months) from Oakland to Seattle last weekend and I will
NEVER do that again -- at least not in the same way.
Based on our trip planning research with AAA, OnStar, and
MapQuest, we estimated the trip would take around 12 hours, but
it was more like 17! I quickly learned that those trip planners
are not reliable for planning the actual timing of long car
ventures because, as you can imagine, with the need to stop for
meals, bathrooms, diaper changes, gas, rest, etc. additional
travel time can add up.
My kids did as well and even better as one could expect for such
a long journey. Although after arriving in Seattle, I was
heartbroken to find that my daughter's bottom was red and chafed
from so much sitting in the car seat. During the return trip I
was wiser and excessively powdered her bottom and that did the
While my five year old alternately slept, played car games,
workbooks, puzzles, those got old after a while and we were not
prepared for the additional 5 hours. So there were some moments
where we just had to pull into a rest stop so he could just run
to let off steam and energy.
The upside is that we both found the drive itself to be easy and
very beautiful. The road conditions were excellent and traffic
was minimal because we did a lot of driving during off-peak
If we chose to drive again, I would definitely rent a RV and not
be so ambitious about getting there so quickly. In retrospect, I
would have much preferred to spend the night at some point to
break things up. It also would have been nice if there was time
to explore some of the quaint, historic towns along the way.
Regarding the comment that mapquest etc. give too short times: Of
course they will only quote the driving time not including any
stops. How long it will take you including breaks depends on how
many and how long breaks you take. With two or three drivers and
stops only for getting gas you'll probably need not that much
more time than the quoted 12 hours. Of course, if you travel with
children, you will need more and longer breaks.
Our daughter (also 4 1/2) has really enjoyed the Seattle Center
(formerly the site of the World's Fair). There are two good
museums (Children's and Science), and there are often
activities in the big indoor food court area (this place is also
great for the little cars and trucks they leave out for kids
to scoot around in while parents finish a more leisurely lunch).
There are also some standard amusement park rides (not
sure if these were permanent or temporary when we were
Pike Place Market is interesting to see, but pretty crowded
and an easy place to lose sight of an overly mobile kid. It can
quickly turn into one of those "look out for that (whatever)" or
"don't break that (whatever)" kind of experiences. Plan
on using a backpack for the baby if you can. There's also a nice
aquarium right on the waterfront below the Market.
Finally, Seattle has lots of great parks. Of course there are the
big ones. The Olympic peninsula is beautiful if you have a full day
for driving and hiking (you can take a loop route and work a nice
ferry boat ride into the trip). There are also lots of nice city parks.
My in-laws used to live in Leschi (a district by Lake Washington)
and there were several great beach parks on the lakeshore.
You're picking a great time to see Seattle. Have fun!
We just spent a week in Seattle with a 9 yo, 5 yo, and 3 yo (visiting two
families with a 5 yo, 7 yo and 7yo) and the favorite activity was the
Children's Museum which is at Seattle Center. There is quite a fountain show
outside at 5 pm also. The Science center would also be fun for your 4 yo. Its
expensive but you can bring your own food (and should). We saw a IMAX movie on
Beavers that they loved. The Everest IMAX is suppose to be spectacular but
centered a lot around some of the deaths that occured on that trip.
We also went north an hour and went inner tubing in the snow. There are some
places that take reservations but we just found an area to play in. There was
a lot of snow this year.
Our children really like going on the Ferry. We took a longer trip this year
to Whitby Island which involved more driving than Ferry, but the trip to
Bainbridge is a good distance to enjoy the ferry ride, and you can get on
downtown. There are shops to browse and an ice cream store and a park at the
other end. There is a Whale Museum on Friday Island that is kid friendly but
again you will need a rental car and the trip is several hours long by car AND
ferry. We did not see any Killer Whales while we were there but there had been
some earlier that same day migrating.
The zoo is nice and you can get a combo pass for it and the aquarium. There is
a park at the north entrance.
I really liked Pikes Place but the children were bored.
Hope this helps and Have fun!
Seattle has a terrific zoo, and I understand their children's museum is
pretty good, although we didn't make it there. Lots of good recommendations
can be found at http://www.child.net/seakids2.htm.
Seattle has an excellent Aquarium (on the waterfront)--much better than
Steinhardt, but not as good as Monterey, I'd say.
Additionally, the Pacific Science Center (where the Space Needle is) is not
to be missed. They have a butterfly room, where you walk in and are
surrounded by butterflies of all kinds. They often land on your head and
shoulders. And they have a special toddler and small child area set up
with a bubble wall, water play, and other child friendly exhibits. My two
year old loved it.
Yay Seattle! It's a terrific place to take small kids. I was there with
two free weeks and a 2-yr. old a few years ago, and we had a marvelous
time. Really don't miss the Children's Museum & the Science Center. We
bought a year's family membership at the Museum, and we went so much in a
week we saved money. It's about the best Children's Museum anywhere I
think (& don't miss the potties in graduated sizes in the restroom!) The
Science Center has a super section for small ones. There is also a
fabulous, fun & free thing to do in Seattle - for all ages! - so fabulous
that when my husband used to talk about moving up there I could almost
agree just by remembering what a great time we had. That's the wading pool
on the north end of Green Lake. It's fed by a tiny stream & it then
funnels into the lake, so it has fresh water all the time, though they do
load in some chlorine or something every day. It's nearish to the street &
traffic so it's not as though you're at Lake Anza, but there's something
really wonderful about it. Maybe bc it is so urban, or festive, or
comfortable. There's a very shallow end as well as a slightly deeper end.
I think it's much more fun for tiny kids than the "beaches" on the lake
itself, right nearby. Remember to bring some water toys. There's a place
to rent skates nearby if you want to skate around the lake, and there's a
super bakery/cafe just across the street & maybe down a block. Good food
nearby too. Another place that can be fun is Archie McPhee's, a "novelty"
store that sells amazing things. You may want to skip it with kids, but if
you're used to taking them to Mr. Mopps, it's not that different. The only
thing that's unimproved over the years is that I think they now manufacture
in China many if not most of their own "novelty" items. They're just not
all classics any more. Ah well. (They have a website of course:
http://www.mcphee.com/) Have fun in Seattle! (Yes, I would move there,
except it would mean moving away from here...)
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