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Free Rainy Day Fun at Ballard Playspace

Ballard Playspace is a new free play space in the Ballard Church

Ashley Breckel

If you’re a parent with kids that are bouncing off the walls on yet another rainy day, we suggest a trip to Ballard. There’s a new free play space and plenty of other spots to entertain the little ones for an afternoon.
We suggest getting out of the house after breakfast, and heading for The Ballard Playspace by 10:30 a.m. when they open. Open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (plus evenings the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month), the Playspace, designed for kids up to 8 years old, is located on the second floor of the Ballard Church. There is parking in the lot behind the building, but if it’s full, there is also plenty of street parking. There are only a few rules: no shoes allowed, but socks are a must, and you can bring in outside food, but no nuts. Oh, and play nice.
You’ll be greeted at check-in with a waiver to sign and then you’re free to run wild—or rather, you’re free to relax a little while the kids run wild. There are wooden benches around the slides and tubes of the climbing structure and next to the mini soccer field. The mini soccer field is one of the coolest features here—it has goals at each end, turf and plenty of balls to share, and it’s all enclosed by sturdy plastic walls that make it easy to track Junior’s movements.
Our other favorite feature was the road on the floor that goes around the play structure. Kids on trikes and other riding toys seem to love pretending they’re out on the open roads of Seattle. There is also a toddler-only area for kids under 2 years old, with colorful patterned pillows and rocking chairs in addition to the wooden benches. Little behinds and knees will appreciate the soft padded floor and the giant foam blocks. You’ll also find blocks, stacking cups and other infant-friendly toys.
If the kids are hungry for a snack or need a break, they can take one at the kid-sized tables outside the toddler-only area. While they snack they can read books or do puzzles.
Once everyone has had their fill of fun, if the rain is still coming down, head into downtown Ballard for lunch at Li’l Woody’s. The hand cut fries and onion rings are divine, and the Northwest grass-fed burgers are mouthwateringly delicious. If you’re feeling generous and the kids are behaving (wink, wink), you’re within walking distance for the Secret Garden Bookstore that specializes in children’s books, and Clover Toys, where kids are actually encouraged to touch the stuffed animals, wooden toys, instruments and more.
For the ultimate sweet ending to the day, stop into Cupcake Royale for fresh baked cupcakes for the kids or Stumptown coffee for you. Okay, maybe you deserve a cupcake too—for all the rainy days you’ve been stuck inside the house with energetic kiddos. At least now you know where to play on a rainy day in Ballard—and where to treat yourself afterward.
If You Go:
Where: 1460 NW73rd St.
When: Tuesday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 1st and 3rd Fridays, 5-7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free


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