7 Overlooked Activities for Kids in Seattle
The Seattle Pinball Museum has over 50 machines to try, dating back as far as 1934.
Seattle Pinball Museum Facebook page
Everyone should take the time to check out Seattle’s marquee attractions, like the Space Needle, Science Center, and Pike Place Market, but the city has even more to offer once you've left the beaten path. Seattle is a unique mélange of adventures, feasts, and exciting activities, where opportunities to play Willy Wonka, take a boat adventure, or swim in saltwater await! Here is your guide to how and where:
1.) Take the Water Taxi to Marination Ma Kai
Public transportation has never been this fun! The Seattle water taxi whips riders from the South end of Downtown, across Elliott Bay, and straight to West Seattle. On the pier across from the taxi's destination is Marination Ma Kai, the fish-shack outlet of Seattle’s original Korean-Hawaiian taco truck. Pick from fish and chips or flavorful tacos for lunch, or take a shave ice out to the patio for a quick snack. Wrap up your trip by relaxing and enjoying a panorama view of the city from their brightly colored chairs.
2.) Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Big League Stadium
It may take a while for little ones to develop the attention span for sitting through a baseball game, but the experience of visiting an actual stadium will be awe-inspiring nonetheless. Both Safeco Field (the Mariners’ home field) and CenturyLink (home to the Seahawks and Sounders) offer stadium tours nearly every day throughout the summer. Just check that the occasional early game won't be in session. Kids can run around the VIP sections, upper decks, team locker rooms, and even the fields. Don't forget to bring the camera—the kids playing like they’re pros, and the view of Elliott Bay are worth capturing.
3.) Play with Pinball History
Want to show your kids what games were like before they all fit in a phone? The Seattle Pinball Museum keeps more than 50 games from as far back as 1934 in working condition. All the games are completely free to play once you've paid admission. With the slightly more expensive multi-entry admission you can even leave and take advantage of some of the International District's other attractions. (This one’s for the older kids: they must be seven or older to play.)
4.) Pick Your Own Snack
Colin Walker / Bellevue Parks & Community Services
Nothing makes fresh fruit taste quite as good as picking it off the bush yourself, and nearly every u-pick farm allows you to eat as much as you want while you’re picking. For convenience, picking blueberries from Mercer Slough just over I-90 in Bellevue is a family-friendly favorite (mid-June through September), but options abound for longer seasons with a short drive to the strawberry fields in early summer or pumpkin patches into the fall.
5.) Swim in (Warm!) Saltwater
At West Seattle’s Colman Pool you get the same beachfront landscape and saltwater as you would on Puget Sound’s beaches, but the water is a toasty 30 degrees Fahrenheit warmer. The Olympic-size pool sports a giant tube slide, diving boards, and pool noodles for floating—there are even lap swim lanes in case you want a little exercise while the kids play. The Lincoln Park location looks out over Puget Sound and the Fauntleroy ferries, and inside you’ll find murals depicting the local history of the pool.
6.) Walk and Learn on Foster Island
Lower woodland garden pond off of Azalea Way, Washington Park Arboretum
Pop into the Graham Visitor’s Center at the Washington Park Arboretum and pick up a trail guide to help you and your little one learn about the plants and animals that inhabit Foster and Marsh Islands. A 1.5-mile trail includes bridges, boardwalks, and (sometimes muddy) paths around the small islands in Lake Washington. Signs direct you to the information in your guide as you weave along the tree-lined route, popping out at small piers (perfect for picnicking) and panoramic viewpoints.
7.) Attend Chocolate Story Time at a Chocolate Factory
Theo Chocolate’s Fremont factory is famous for its tours—which are great for ages seven and up—but for the youngest chocolate fans, they offer a more age-appropriate option. “Full of chocolate and imagination,” the Chocolate Story Time Tour, offered Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, includes story-time with a book written by a Theo tour guide, Molly and the Chocolate Tree. And don’t worry: there’s still plenty of chocolate!