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Free family boat rides at the new Center for Wooden Boats in SLU

There's a new destination for family fun in South Lake Union. Celebrate the grand opening of the Wagner Education Center at the Center for Wooden Boats, March 23-24, with free boat rides and more.

PHOTO: Emil Anderson

I spent several years living in the South Lake Union neighborhood, taking weekend walks along the lakeshore, and I never knew that I could sail on a beautiful, wooden boat for free every Sunday. Perhaps that’s because the Center for Wooden Boats' small, floating boathouse was easily missed on the way to MOHAI or Lake Union Park.

That little boathouse will be bypassed no more. The Center for Wooden Boats makes landfall this weekend with the grand opening of the Wagner Education Center – a sustainably designed, two-story building for maritime exhibits, classes and programs, a wooden boat shop and lots of hands-on family fun.

You’re invited to check it out – for free – all weekend long, March 23-24. Festivities kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the fun continues 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday. So slip on your Sperry Topsiders, dig those Wayfarers out of the junk drawer, and head to South Lake Union for a weekend of boating fun, including:


  • Toy and model boat building
  • Maritime-themed scavenger hunt with prizes
  • Classic yacht tours
  • Canoe carving demonstrations
  • Try-a-tool boat restoration activities

And it’ll be a gorgeous weekend for free boat rides. Volunteer skippers will help families aboard a sprit boat, steamboat, electric boat, schooner, yawl or historic yacht for a complimentary tour around Lake Union.  

Wagner Education Center at Center for Wooden Boats

The new Wagner Education Center at the Center for Wooden Boats. Photo: Center for Wooden Boats

Can’t make it to the opening celebration? The Center for Wooden Boats and new Wagner Education Center will be a fun place to visit with family anytime (except Mondays, when they’re closed). Check out their lineup of drop-in family activities, from tugboat story time to pond boat sailing.

Bon voyage!



What: Center For Wooden Boats Grand Opening Celebration

When: March 23-24, 2019, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: 1002 Valley Street, Seattle, WA 98109

Cost: FREE; bring money for food trucks or for purchasing a CWB membership if you’d like (discounted this weekend)


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