We love traveling, seeing new places and trying new experiences. We also know family adventures can be tricky with young kids. This fall we enjoyed a short family road trip to Seattle, Washington. We tried to plan the perfect combination of driving hours with memorable stops and engaging attractions. Here are some of the highlights from our Seattle weekend getaway!
Seattle Artists At Play Park
My kids love going to playgrounds, climbing and running around. Stopping at a playground is a great way to take a driving break while on a family road trip. We visited the Seattle Artists At Play playground near the Seattle Center, right under the shadow of the space needle. My kids immediately tried to follow a winding orange maze-like walking path. The walking path activity took them several minutes of energetic running and walking to get to the center of the painted design.
Another fun feature of the Artist at Play playground is the massive climbing structure with two slides and a network of climbing ropes and ladders. This play activity isn’t designed for young kids because it’s challenging to climb and super high at the top. My almost 3-year-old son was able to climb up with Daddy’s help and go down the straight slide but he was anxious at the top. Older kids could spend hours climbing and walking along the suspended bridges and going down the slides. The Seattle Center playground also has swings and a smaller toddler play area with a rope walk that’s low to the ground and a small slide.
Tasty Food Vendors
Our walk under the Space Needle took us though several food vendors and we purchased hot dogs for a quick lunch on the grass. We’ve learned through our family travels that it’s helpful to keep kids fed and to spread out our activities! Sometimes going to the city is an event in itself; it’s fun to enjoy an afternoon walking around downtown or eating a picnic on a shaded patch of grass.
Seattle Children’s Museum
After lunch we visited the Seattle Children’s Museum which offered many interactive play areas and themed sections.
Science – Kids can shoot ping pong balls through clear tubes using air suction. Another activity allows kids to use levels and gears to send balls rolling down a metal track.
Lifestyle – At the Seattle Children’s Museum, kids can role play being an optometrist and checking their friend’s vision. A detailed mail room allows kids to sort and deliver mail. My daughter especially enjoyed the I-spy collage activity displaying hundreds of colorful postal stamps. Kids can pretend to be a sushi chef or visit replicated versions of a Chinese family home or African jungle hut. The kid’s museum also has lots of play vehicles kids can pretend to operate such as miniature versions of a public transport bus, sail boat, firetruck and a recreational van. The Metropolitan Market play area was another favorite activity; my kids enjoyed filling their carts with play food and taking turns checking out at the register as either the shopper or the check out attendant.
Discovery – My kids had fun climbing on the nature-inspired play structure and turning over rocks (on hinges) to find hidden reptiles and fossils. A dark cave has pretend bats hiding among the ceiling crevices and a play camping tent complete with a wood fire.
Interactive Play – My toddler son’s favorite area of the museum was the toy train table. He spent quite a while lining up the magnetic train cars and moving them along the wooden tracks. Another area allows kids to dress up and put on a show at the theater or practice operating the theater’s moving curtains or stage lights. If you suffer from stage fright, in another corner kids can put on a puppet show instead!
The Seattle Children’s Museum cost about $70 for our family of 5 to visit but we spent several hours playing with the interactive exhibits. The kids’ museum offers a secure place with lots of open space to let the kids run around, with only one exit that’s manned by the museum attendants.
On other trips to Seattle we’ve visited the Museum of Flight. My kids loved seeing all the aircraft displays up close and sitting in the cockpit of a fighter jet! The Museum of Flight also highlights a lot of the aerospace history that’s local to the area. We also enjoyed the detailed World War I & II exhibits that were displayed during our visit.
If you are traveling through the Tukwila, WA area it’s worth planning a Family Fun Center visit. Kids can climb the big play structure, jump in the ball pit, compete for top scores by playing the many arcade games, earn tickets and win prizes. The Tukwila Family Fun Center also offers laser tag, bowling, bumper cars, kids carnival rides, go karts and more!
It always helps make family trips go more smoothly if you plan a few activities ahead of time! Seattle, Washington is a great destination for a weekend getaway or road trip detour. The city offers a lot of culture and a diverse selection of restaurants, as well as shopping destinations and tourist attractions!
Katie enjoys all things creative; DIY projects, photography, decorating and family adventures. She feels blessed to be a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids and many artistic outlets.