A Parent’s Review: Seattle By Foot’s Kid’s Tour
Magnolia moms Heather Chermak and Penny Truitt started Seattle By Foot’s Kid’s Tour to show visitors and locals just how child-friendly downtown Seattle really is. The .56 mile tour caters to the interests, needs and attention spans of kids as they discover the little-known delights of local treasures such as Pike Place Market, Seattle Art Museum, Benaroya Hall and Seattle Library.
As one would expect, Heather and Penny are great with kids. My 6-year-old would barely make eye contact at the start of the tour. By the tour’s end she was skipping alongside Heather babbling away! Penny’s daughter, Anaya, guides a big portion of the tour – the kids loved having a pint-sized tour guide with contagious enthusiasm. All three unflappable tour guides have a great sense of humor which makes the whole experience great for parents too.
We started our tour at Pike Place Market. I have been there dozens of times with my kids, but learned things we never knew and saw parts of the market we didn’t know existed. We felt like part of the market family on our tour, stopping at sociable vendors where the kids got to taste all kinds of exotic and local foods. This was a huge hit with both my girls. As an added tour bonus, if you decide you want to buy anything from these vendors after the tour, you get an extra discount.
The tour moves at the kids’ pace, and is customized each time to work for the age level, needs and interests of the particular group. We lingered in the market, then made our way through post alley via the gum wall (don’t worry; there is plenty of hand sanitizer on hand!) to the Seattle Art Museum. Discussing public art is a big focus of the tour and my kids were enthralled. There are delightful artistic surprises around every corner. Did you know there are maps of the city in the sidewalk all through downtown if you get lost?
At the art museum the kids learn about some of the pieces on display and created a piece of art inspired by a current exhibit. (It also had a nice, clean potty stop and water fountains.) We said hello to the “Hammering Man” on our way out and walked to Benaroya Hall where the kids got to try their hand at playing various musical instruments. Everyone was sad to leave! This was my 6-year-old’s favorite stop. When I asked if she enjoyed the tour, Lucy declared that she wanted to go on another one!
The tour is well thought out. Heather and Penny know all the shortcuts to get from place to place, balancing the need for little ones to expend energy while not having the walk take so long that they are tired out. Some stops may be shorter or longer for different groups. Often they include a stop at the Seattle Library.
Our family will certainly recommend the tour to any visitors with children coming to town as well as local friends who have been reluctant to venture downtown with their brood. The tour is great for birthday parties, Meetups, preschool and K-2 school groups.
I’d recommend bringing water along. Be sure to dress for the weather and plan to stick around downtown after the tour. You’ll want to explore some of the places you learn about in more depth and go back to visit some of the vendors on the tour. My kids can’t wait until our next downtown adventure!
Photos by Laura Spruce Wight.
If You Go...
Where: Downtown Seattle; meet at the Pike Place Market info booth at 1st Avenue and Pike Street.
When: Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. Tour lasts approximately two hours (advance reservations required).
Admission: $15 per child ages 2-13; $13 per person ages 14 and older.
Contact: 206-508-7017; www.seattlebyfoot.com.