Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

66 days of summer 2024

Build log forts at Lincoln Park or other locations in Puget Sound. It's a summertime right of passage. Photo by Joshua Huston.

66 Days of Summer: Head to the park!

There's something fun going on every day of summer

There’s a reason they call Seattle “The Emerald
City” and Washington “The Evergreen State.”
Seattle is home to 485 parks, and its neighboring
cities offer hundreds more. Kent manages 43 parks, Bellevue
100, Auburn 33, and unincorporated King County is home to
205 more. From wooded and wild to grassy and groomed,
parks throughout the region offer worlds of exploration,
entertainment, activity, and exercise each summer. And the
best part? Most of that fun is absolutely free.

For a complete guide to summer events check out our comprehensive and searchable Family Events Calendar

Below is our annual list of activities and outings to fill every day of summer from July 1 to September 4. This year, however, we’ve put a special emphasis on loading it with fun, free, park-based
activities, events, and ideas. Hint: scroll the whole list and
register early for activities that require it. As in years past,
you’ll find a few things on the list that cost money, but most of these ideas are free. We hope you and your kids will remember summer 2024 as the season of “Let’s head to the park!”


66 days of summer 2024

Play soccer on Waterfront Park’s mini-field.

Monday, July 1

It’s always play day pier 62 on the seattle waterfront. There is often a game of pickup soccer happening on the pier’s high-quality mini-soccer field and kids are welcome to jump in. Don’t forget protective gear and you may want to bring your own soccer ball to play among yourselves if no game is on. There are also free family-friendly classes and activities planned all summer long on the pier. When the kids are tuckered out, move on over to the corn hole game and giant chess or checkers boards. FREE

Tuesday, July 2

Get the lay of the land. Take a seattle free walking tour. Think you know this city? Think again. The tour leaders at the Seattle FREE Walking Tour have collected all sorts of interesting historical tidbits and stories that make their walking tours fun for the whole family. There are several tours to choose from, including the flagship Seattle 101, the Old Cemetery Tour and an Insider’s Tour of Pike Place Market. Love the tour? Donations welcome! FREE

Wednesday, July 3

Go for a row! The Center for Wooden Boats offers FREE boat “rentals,” Wednesday through Friday on the south end of Lake Union. Hop on board one of the center’s brightly colored peapod boats and paddle out for an hour to get a close look at maritime Seattle. Life jackets are provided and required. FREE

One more for today: Beat the traffic and enjoy an early fireworks show at Ballinger Park put on by the City of Mountlake Terrace. Festivities will begin at 6 p.m., and the fun includes pie-eating contests, field games, a DJ, and more. The fireworks display will take place at approximately 10 p.m. FREE

Thursday, July 4

Celebrate the nation’s independence with a good old-fashioned fireworks show. In Seattle, Seafair will host this year’s Rockets’ Red Glare with the best viewing at three different locations: Gas Works Park, South Lake Union Park, and Lake Union. The celebration in these parks runs from 3 to 11 p.m. with the light show around 10 p.m. On the Eastside, the largest display will be in Bellevue and feature free live music, entertainment, food trucks, and plenty of children’s activities. The fireworks begin at 10:05 p.m. Are your children sensitive to fireworks noise or crowds? Bring the party home! Put on the silly hats, pull out the BBQ, make flag-colored popsicles, set up a scavenger hunt (see August 19), and end the night with oven-baked s’mores and a fireworks broadcast. If you watch the East Coast celebration, you’ll all be in bed by 10 p.m. FREE

Other shows and times include:

Way more for today: Today is the First Thursday Free Admission Day at museums all around the seattle area. So grab your crew to check out the incredible range of history, culture, plants and more at museums like the Museum of History & Industry, Museum of Flight, Seattle Art Museum, National Nordic Museum, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and the Volunteer Park Conservatory. FREE

Friday, July 5

Watch fire spinners practice their art at Gas Works Park today. The demonstrations will take place during Northwest Flow Fest Community Fire Jam, where more than 30 workshops in yoga, dance, circus, and flow arts will take place on the park’s concrete pad from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Sunday. FREE

Saturday, July 6

Seattle Seafair Pirates make their traditional landing at Alki Beach Park in West Seattle today, bringing fun and a lot of shenanigans off their boat and into the gathered crowd. It’s a 70-year-old tradition and the semi-official start of Seafair summer festivities. Pirates will entertain kids of all ages and offer treasures to boot. So dress up as your favorite pirates and join the fun from 1:30 to 5 p.m. FREE

One more: Visit the Amazon Spheres. Every kid wonders what’s inside. Book your 1-hour FREE visit for a time slot on the first or third Saturday of the month, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. FREE

Sunday, July 7

Check out what lives beneath the waters of Puget Sound today as you stroll with a Seattle Aquarium volunteer during low tide from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It’s an invitation to discover Puget Sound’s multitude of marine plants and animals. Beach Naturalists Program runs on low-tide days throughout the summer. You’ll find a beach naturalist waiting today at Carkeek Beach, Constellation Park/Charles Richey Viewpoint, Dash Point State Park, Des Moines Beach, Golden Gardens Beach, Lincoln Beach, Olympic Sculpture Park Pocket Beach, Redondo Beach, Richmond Beach, Saltwater Beach, and Seahurst Beach. Next chances: July 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Note: There will be no naturalists on Des Moines Beach on June 5, June 6, July 4, July 20 and July 21 or at Dash Point on July 6. FREE

Monday, July 8

What does a beaver house look like? Find out by visiting the Beaver Lodge Sanctuary, located at 37th Avenue E and E McGilvra St. in Madison Park. You’ll find this woodsy water sanctuary at the end of a short, semi-hidden gravel path, shoehorned between a couple of classic homes and a golf course. Look for piles of crisscrossed logs, groomed branches, and other signs of an active beaver dam, as well as other wildlife. The first one who spots the dam gets to choose what’s for dinner! Looking for other unusual spots to explore? Check out “Have you heard about Seattle’s hidden shoreline beaches and outdoor spaces?” on the SDOT blog. FREE

One more: Check out the family-friendly Magic Monday show at Third Place Books in Ravenna at 6:30 p.m. tonight and every second Monday of the month. Each show features the Pacific Northwest’s finest magicians performing feats of mystery, wonder, and bizarreness. With its origins in the theaters of London and New York, Magic Monday is a cabaret of conjuring in the intimate setting of a bookstore. FREE

And one more: Hey, water-loving kids ages 9 to 13! The Washington State Parks Boating Program will be holding a FREE water safety course today (paid for by the No Child Left Inside grant) at Alki Beach Park, east of the Alki Bathhouse. The program teaches the basics of paddle safety, water competency, and teamwork through on-water and land-based instruction. Participants will receive a life jacket and four hours of instruction during the Washington State Paddle Safe class. More classes will be held at different locations so search for “Paddle Safe” at the code below to find other date options. Space is limited so register early. FREE

Tuesday, July 9

There’s a lot of action happening at the Ballard Locks and Carl S. English Botanical Garden. The Locks work to keep fresh water and salt water separated. Explore the visitor’s center and museum (open Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), take a guided tour of the Locks to learn how salmon use them during their migration, and watch the boats rise and fall between gates. Each summer, the Carl S. English Botanical Garden is a great place to picnic, roll down hills, and wander through the foliage. FREE

Wednesday, July 10

Help your community! Grab a group of friends and spend a few hours beautifying Alki Beach through the Block Drop program. The program supplies buckets, vests, and pick-sticks and collects the garbage you gather; you provide the environmental preservation spirit. Head to the beach any day and look for Block Drop signs or go online to set up a group drop in a specific neighborhood. Once you’re done, the beach is yours to enjoy! FREE

Thursday, July 11

Bring your friends and family, picnic blankets, dance moves, and good vibes to Gas Works Park from 7 to 10 p.m. for an evening of free music, performances, and circus arts awesomeness. It’s a Burning Man-style gathering from Levity Arts that’s family-friendly and designed to build community and creative inspiration. FREE

One more: Take a trip to the Reptile Zoo in Monroe to experience close encounters with real reptiles. This zoo has the most extensive collection of reptiles on display that you will find in the Pacific Northwest, including turtles, alligators, lizards and many types of snakes (even some venomous types such as cobras and rattlesnakes). Some of their most popular animals include a turtle with two heads, an albino alligator, and Aldabra giant tortoises.

And yet another: The King County Fair kicks off today (through July 14) with all the favorite carnival rides, entertainment, demonstrations, and 4-H animals at Enumclaw Expo Center. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 5-12. Free for ages 5 and under. FREE

Friday, July 12

Imagine a Day Out With Thomas (as in Thomas the Tank Engine). The event at Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie includes a bubble-blowing zone and bubble bouncer-ball racing, the chance to play with Thomas & Friends toys, live entertainment, a maze, crafts, stories, and the chance to meet Sir Topham Hatt. And, of course, several train rides. Tickets are $28-$32 each for all ages, through July 28. Go online for tickets.

One more: Head to the Northgate Community Center’s lawn today to celebrate the center’s 18th anniversary with a community-wide party. The event includes live music, class demonstrations, games, and FREE food and beverages. 5-7:30 p.m. FREE

Saturday, July 13

Keep rolling through Seattle Bicycle Weekends throughout the summer. Give them more practice along Lake Washington Boulevard, which will be closed to traffic to make room for cyclists and walkers all day today and tomorrow, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Not sure how to get them rolling on their own or where best to practice riding in the Greater Seattle area? Check out “Teach a Child to Ride a Bike Using These 4 Steps.” FREE

More celebration! Head to Pasado’s Safe Haven today for a Vegan Ice Cream Social Summer Kick-off, including Journey the Cow’s 6th birthday celebration. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $35 for adults, $15 for kids ages 3-10, FREE for ages 2 and younger.

One more: Dress up as your favorite superheroes today and march over to Wallingford for the annual Wallingford Parade, a celebration of all the heroes in the community who do good things for others. There will be dogs, drill teams, marching bands, and floats in this show, which rolls through Wallingford on North 45th Street starting at 11 a.m.. The 2024 theme is “Be a Hero.” Read how to participate on their website. FREE

Sunday, July 14

Ice cream and exercise, what better pairing is there? Sign up for the 4th Annual Sundae RunDay, a 5K run, a 2-mile walk, or a kids’ dash through sprawling Genesee Park along the shores of Lake Washington. And at the end of the race, reward! Each participant wins a trip through the Sundae toppings bar! All ages welcome. The race benefits Let Me Run, which teaches boys to be their best selves through a character development program powered by running. Runs are $45 for walkers or runners and $10 for kids’ dashers. Registration required.

66 days of summer 2024

Go plawing or ploggng with kids to keep your neighborhood clean. Photo by Nanci Santos/

Monday, July 15

It’s a great day to go plawk or plog in your local or favorite park. Yes, these are real words. Plawking or plogging is the simple act of taking a walk or a jog and picking up trash along the way — all part of the effort to keep community resources like parks and neighborhoods beautiful. The pastime, which originated in Sweden, is great exercise and a wonderful way to show your parks some love. Grab your walking sticks, tie trash bags to your waists, and plawk the litter into the bag. Then, place it in a trash bin. FREE

Tuesday, July 16

Hunt for gnomes! Maple Valley’s half-mile Gnome Trail, located in the Rock Creek Natural Area, is cool parkland that’s a perfect fit for a hot summer day. The canopy of trees provides some sun protection, and no matter how many times you go, kids are destined to meet a new gnome along the path. Be on the lookout for a 3-foot-tall gnome named George, the largest on this walk. Check out our article “Gnomes’ Sweet Home: A Visit to Maple Valley” at FREE

Wednesday, July 17

Visit the Seattle Japanese Garden. This 3.5-acre urban oasis in the Washington Park Arboretum is one of the city’s gems and a celebration of Japanese artistry and presence in this region. After your tour, extend your time in nature by strolling through the arboretum. Hours vary with the season, so check before you go. The garden opens at noon on July 4 and August 1 and every first Thursday of the month. It is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The last entrance is 45 minutes before closing. First Thursdays are FREE

Thursday, July 18

A walk, a story, time in nature, and a little literary adventure — what’s not to like about a Story Walk? The non-profit group Popup Storywalk integrates children’s stories (some by local authors) into popular trail walks in and around East King County. Check out the Pretzel Tree Trail, a permanent Story Walk installation in Issaquah. Learn where and when new stories will be displayed on the organization’s FaceBook page. FREE

Friday, July 19

Step into the colorful universe of Play Time, where music, dance, and storytelling collide, hosted by the dynamic duo, Merri Ann Osborne (Mahogany Project) and Chino Gonzales (Bonnet Black). This all-ages event invites you and yours to answer brain-teasing trivia questions, dive into hilarious improv games, and contribute to community art. Each episode of Play Time is unique. Along the way, you’ll uncover the stories of artists from the African Diaspora, both past and present, and their impactful legacies. Head to Garfield Community Center in Seattle on Fridays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to learn from a different local guest artist who brings their own creative talents to the game show each time. Learn more at FREE

Saturday, July 20

Bark by the Bay is all about the dogs (and their families). Head south to University Place’s Chambers Creek Regional Park for an afternoon of dog activities and games, dog art projects, treat hunting, adoptions, live demos, off-leash zones, a parade (at noon), and a costume contest. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost is $10 per vehicle.

One more: Visit Mast Center Aquarium in Des Moines, one of the region’s hidden gems. It holds free public discovery days on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center’s aquarium holds 3,000 gallons of seawater and more than 250 native Puget Sound species. Two large touch tanks are a draw for all ages. Don’t miss the 38-foot gray whale skeleton and other marine mammal skeletons on display. FREE

Sunday, July 21

Take in the artistry of Kubota Gardens, operated by the Seattle Parks Department, today — and every day from sunrise to sunset. Kubota is truly the “Hidden Jewel of Rainier Beach.” These lush gardens offer more than beautiful plants in the Japanese tradition; there are also 11 ponds, two red bridges, 140 varieties of maple trees, and 30 varieties of hydrangea. It’s the perfect place for a quiet game of hide-and-seek, to marvel at the shapes of bonsai, and to partake of a picnic. FREE

Monday, July 22

Build driftwood forts in Lincoln Park. Strange structures are popping up along the beaches of beautiful Lincoln Park in West Seattle. Each week a new teepee or art structure rises up from the wood-strewn beach on the west side of the park. Follow the sidewalk at the south end down to the beach. Or make it a forest adventure first, winding your way through the Lincoln Park woodlands and down several long staircase paths to the water. Did we mention there’s a troll in this park? Hint: Head north on the beachside path. FREE

One more for today: Introduce your well-mannered kids ages 10 and older to yoga and a new kind of bath — one that resonates inside the body. St. Mark’s Cathedral offers free community yoga and a sound bath on the third Monday of the month. The doors into the cathedral are opened at 6 p.m., and entry is closed at 6:45 p.m. You must attend the yoga session to enjoy the extended Savasana and sound bath from 7:30–8 p.m. Bring a blanket and yoga mat and invite these healing sounds to wash over the whole family. Ages 10 and older; kids should be able to sit quietly for 90 minutes. FREE

Tuesday, July 23

Jump in at a free swimming beach. There are many options for swimming in the Greater Seattle area and several where lifeguards help to keep swimmers safe. In Seattle,  Madrona Park Beach, Matthews Beach Park, West Green Lake Beach, Seward Park, and Pritchard Island Beach will have lifeguards on duty. Check the Seattle Parks and Recreation page to confirm guards’ presence. on the eastside, great swimming bets are Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Juanita Beach Park, and Houghton Beach Park, both in Kirkland, Idylwood Beach Park in Redmond, and Meydenbauer Bay Park in Bellevue. On the south end, Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is the spot. Always be sure there is a lifeguard on duty or a designated adult watching children in the water. FREE

Wednesday, July 24

Make the rounds to themed playgrounds. Have an aspiring astronaut in the family or someone who loves trains? Maybe a kid who likes to play board games? Fuel their passions at themed playgrounds today. Zip down the line at Wilburton Park in Bellevue, climb the Jupiter structure at space-themed North Kirkland Community Park, and knock one out of the park at Shoreline’s Baseball Playground at Shoreview Park. Hop square to square at the colorful Chutes and Ladders-inspired West Fenwick Park in Kent. Check out “10 Fun, Themed Playgrounds in the Seattle Area to Explore.” FREE

Thursday, July 25

There’s a new reason to take your clan to Pacific Science Center: The new Pollinator Path. Using a Native-led interpretive approach, this exhibit encourages visitors to reflect on the intertwined and cyclical relationship between plants, pollinators, animals, and humans. Native plant, pollinator, and animal names that have been used for millennia — and are still used today — by local and regional Indigenous communities will be on display. The Pollinator Path exhibit is included with admission, $23-$30 for adults, $20 for youth (3-17), and free for toddlers.

Friday, July 26

Bellevue Art Museum (BAM) Arts Fair opens today. Expose your kids to the creative minds and energies of hundreds of artists during the largest arts-and-crafts festival in the Northwest. BAM Fair isn’t just for grownups. Kids and their families are invited to the museum tomorrow and Sunday for a fun weekend of hands-on art projects, games, and gallery activities from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. And back by popular demand, “Chalk-It-Up” next to the museum on 6th Street during Kids Fair hours. Approved sidewalk chalk will be available on-site so leave your chalk at home. All are welcome, but most stations are best suited for ages 3-10. The fair runs through Sunday. Get the scoop at FREE

Saturday, July 27

There are parades, and there are parades. The Seafair Torchlight Parade (aka Alaska Airlines Torchlight Parade) is the latter. It’s the parade of the year in Seattle, with a long line of colorful floats, drill teams, bands, and pirates moving down 4th Avenue (from Seattle Center to Seneca Street). The march runs from 3 to 6 p.m., but get there early to find your viewing spot. Don’t mess with traffic by bus or taking the light rail downtown. Go online for the full schedule of Seafair events this summer. FREE

Sunday, July 28

You don’t have to go far to have a real farm adventure. Visit Kelsey Creek Community Park and Kelsey Creek Farm, which sit on 150 acres of forest, meadows, and wetlands in the heart of Bellevue. Visit the farm’s historic barns and popular petting yard, then hike park trails, hit the playground, and picnic on a grassy knoll to get the most out of this fun, very full day. FREE

Monday, July 29

Speaking of farms in parks, today’s a great day to visit the petting zoo at Redmond’s Farrel-McWhirter Park. It’s one thing to see animals; it’s quite another (and a lot more fun for most kids) to touch them. Today you’re in for a hands-on experience with chickens, bunnies, pigs, horses, and more. The farm at Farrell McWhirter offers kid-friendly classes about animals, their behaviors and their habitats. Check out “Best Family Farms and Petting Zoos Around Seattle.” FREE

Tuesday, July 30

It’s Duck Dodge night at Lake Union! This fun and funny boat racing event takes place Tuesday nights through September 3, and each week brings a new theme, including Onesie Night, Pirate Night, and more. Tonight’s theme is “The Olympics.” Costume up, pack a picnic, and watch the races from Gas Works Park hill. FREE

Wednesday, July 31

Embark on a summertime tradition: squeeze some lemons. Invite your kids to have fun and make a little money for a special treat or a favorite cause. Pull out old boxes, duct tape, and markers to help your crew fashion a lemonade stand. Then squeeze those lemons, take your spot on a lawn chair, and let your little entrepreneurs work the pitch. This free activity has some start-up costs, but with luck, they’ll be recouped in vigorous sales! 

For a complete guide to summer events check out our comprehensive and searchable Family Events Calendar


Play at Towers of Tomorrow

Check out the display at the ‘Towers of Tomorrow ‘exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry. Photo courtesy MOHAI

Thursday, August 1 

Look to the skies today to see the U.S. Blue Angels precision aeronautics team practicing for their Seafair show. Flights are usually scheduled for 11 a.m. to noon, noon to 1 p.m., 2:20-3:20 p.m., and 3:20-3:30 p.m. over Lake Washington. Note: The flight schedule is subject to change. Head to any Lake Washington beachside park in Seattle (Seward Park and Madrona Beach Park are good bets) or Bellevue (Chism Beach, Medina Beach, and Enatai Beach) for great views. FREE

One more: Check out dinosaur bones at the Burke Museum, home to the only real dinosaur fossils on display in Washington state (including one of the best-preserved T. rex skulls in the world). This museum has plenty of hands-on learning, rich in natural and Indigenous history. But there’s much more to the Burke, which offers free entrance on the first Thursday of the month. All ages. FREE today. 

And one more: Today’s the day for a “Block” Party at Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry where the main event is “Towers of Tomorrow.” The exhibit features skyscrapers from North America, Asia, and Australia, constructed in architectural detail by Ryan McNaught. Kids can create their own ‘Towers of Tomorrow’ with more than 200,000 loose LEGO® bricks available in hands-on construction areas. Adult tickets are $25; kids ages 14 and younger are free. And the museum is free on the first Thursday of every month. Showing through September 22.

Friday, August 2 

Take Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour: History can’t be boring when it’s literally beneath your feet. On this tour, you’ll learn about Seattle’s fiery and fascinating past, not to mention why the city raised all of the streets and sidewalks in Pioneer Square in the late 1800s. Tours run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through September. Adults $22, students/seniors $20, kids ages 7-12 $10, and children ages 6 and younger free (but they may find the hour-plus tour challenging). 

One more: If you’ve got kids who are eager to showcase their poetry, head to Seattle Parks and Rec’s Miller Community Center tonight. The center is hosting Open Mic Poetry Night 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. All ages are invited to participate, as either readers or listeners. Best for ages 10 and older. FREE

Saturday, August 3 

Head south to watch professionals perform kite tricks and fly your own kite at the Pierce County Kite Festival. The colors fly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow in the Central Meadow at Chambers Creek Regional Park in University Place. The event is free. Bring a kite or get a kite kit for $5. Can’t get to Pierce County? Head to the Great Earth Mound Summit at Gas Works Park or loosen your strings on Kite Hill, Magnuson Park’s 35-foot-tall kite run. Redmond’s Marymoor Park and Mukilteo’s Lighthouse Park also offer prime flying space. Check out “5 Solid Kite-Flying Spots.” FREE

One more: Join the parade at Magnolia Summerfest. A 10 a.m. kids parade precedes the spectacular Magnolia Seafair Parade starting at 10:15 a.m. Encourage your kids to reinvent themselves entirely or dress up as their favorite characters, animals, or entities. Then get in line for the parade at 9:45 a.m. at the corner of 34th Avenue West and West Raye Street in Magnolia. Summerfest is designed specifically with kids and families in mind, so plan to spend a good part of the day as you dive into free crafts and games, boogie to live music, spread out for an outdoor movie, and bop in the bouncy houses. All ages. FREE

One more in the park: Stargaze with astronomers tonight at Snoqualmie Point Park. Experienced volunteers from the Seattle Astronomical Society (SAS) will share their telescopes and binoculars to give kids and parents a stunning view of the night sky. The gazing starts at 9 p.m. at 37580 Winery Road in Snoqualmie. Dress for cold. Best for ages 6 and older. FREE

Sunday, August 4 

It’s Free National Park Day at Washington’s Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks. Expect more crowds and less available parking than usual. For more on Washington’s parks, check out “Three Magnificent National Parks in Washington.” FREE

Monday, August 5 

Get their toes wet — and possibly the rest of them, too! Wading pools and spray parks are a summertime must for parents with kids of all ages. Shallow, bordered, and usually within toddling distance of a playground, wading pools are a perfect solution to a hot afternoon. Spray parks can be a little more rambunctious as the cool flow flies in all directions. There are dozens of wading pools in and around Seattle and at least 15 Seattle-area spray parks. Seattle Parks and Rec’s Facebook page is your go-to for updated information regarding parks with water-play features. On the Eastside, check out these great wet spots: Crossroads Park, Redmond Town Center / Downtown Park, Grass Lawn Park, Bellevue Downtown Park (Inspiration Playground). Want more information? Check out “Guide to Seattle Wading Pool.” FREE

Tuesday, August 6 

Light up the night at the peace-promoting annual Lantern Ceremony at Seattle’s Green Lake, which commemorates victims of the nuclear bombs. Plan to arrive at 6 p.m. to make your lantern. Speakers and performers start at 7 p.m. The candle-lit lanterns will be floated on the lake at 8 p.m. just south of Seattle Public Theater (Bathhouse Theater). All ages. FREE 

One more: Take a night out with neighbors. Learn about public safety during block parties and other activities at tonight’s Citywide Night Out event. Night Out is an annual nationwide effort to heighten crime prevention awareness, get communities involved in anti-crime efforts, and unite neighbors to watch out for one another. FREE

Wednesday, August 7 

Go birding at the UW’s Center for Urban Horticulture. The grounds offer excellent spots to get a good look at numerous bird species. A kiosk on the east side of the natural area provides a weekly list of birds observed there. Google “Common Birds of Seattle Field Guide for Youth” from Seattle Audubon, print it out, and make note of the birds you find. Or, even easier, download the new BirdA app to identify the birds by their calls. The Merlin app is terrific. FREE

Thursday, August 8 

Build a toy boat at the Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) today in South Lake Union (building from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). Then test out your creation in the model boat pond in Lake Union Park after your boat is complete. FREE

Friday, August 9

Today is a great day to head into the forest for a real hike, perhaps one that is more than a mile but less than 5. The 2.8-mile Discovery Park Loop in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood is a good challenge for young kids, wandering through beautiful forests, meadows, and beachland. Lighthouse included! Stop halfway for a leisurely lunch. Check out our article “7 Spring Hikes That Are Easy and Kid-Friendly.” FREE

Saturday, August 10

Is one of your kids a canine? Head to Seattle’s Bell Street Park today from noon to 3 p.m. for the Bell Street Puppy Crawl. Give your kids the leash and let their furry sib lead the way through the park, picking up treats along the path. Treats will be peppered throughout the park. FREE

Sunday, August 11

Step back in time to 1855 today at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum’s Annual Brigade Encampment. This event recreates the bustle and excitement of the historic visit of fur traders to Fort Nisqually in 1855. Families with kids of all ages will meet living history interpreters at their tents and receive hands-on lessons on period skills and games. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Prices TBA.

Monday, August 12

It’s a great day to pull out a blanket, pack a picnic, and laze in a park reading! Each year, King County Library System challenges kids to take the Summer Reading Challenge. The goal? Read for 20 minutes each summer day through August 31. On your way to the park, stop at your local library, where librarians are full of ideas. FREE 

One more: Hey, kids ages 13 to 17! Head over to Magnuson Community Center to ‘Rock the Park’ with Seattle Parks and Rec. Kick back and relax, cook some food, play games, and take a field trip today. A form must be filled out to participate. Contact Jiordi at 206-684-7026 for the form and to learn about drop-in spots. Learn how to register for this or any Seattle Parks summer program from the department’s 2024 summer guide. FREE

Tuesday, August 13

Douse yourselves at the International Fountain at Seattle Center. It’s the mothership of hot weather spray parks. The fountain sits on a cement foundation surrounded by a velodrome; so consider knee and elbow pads for younger kids. Snacks, bathrooms, and often inside entertainment are available in the nearby Seattle Center Armory. FREE

Wednesday, August 14 

Climb a tree — or several trees. We know, we know. There’s danger in climbing trees. On the other hand, it’s a child’s summer rite of passage. So find a big, branchy one, stay near your climbers to help prevent a fall, and let them enjoy this summer classic. Have a timed competition, but set the rules on how far up. Google WikiHow: “How to Climb a Tree” for great preparation advice (with illustrations) and safety tips. FREE

66 days of summer 2024

Show some Blackberry love! Head out to your favorite park to pick.

Thursday, August 15

Show some Blackberry love. Head to your local park and pick! Not sure where to go? These parks are often overrun with bushes: Discovery Park in Magnolia, all along Burke Gilman Trail, and in Bridle State Park between Kirkland and Redmond. You’re also likely to find them at Beacon Hill Food Forest and Magnuson, Seward, and Carkeek parks in Seattle, and at Hamlin Park and along the Interurban Bike Trail in Shoreline. Check out “Blackberries: All You Need to Know to Pick Your Own.” FREE

Friday, August 16 

Fly over to Dragonflight Convention, “Seattle’s longest-running tabletop gaming convention.” The event, which takes place at the Hilton Bellevue, includes hundreds of hosted games and multiple tournaments. Don’t miss the family area of the convention, where you’ll find dress-up clothes, a library of kids’ books, arts and crafts for kids, a kids’ game library, croquet, Robo Rally LARP (Live-Action Role Play) with robot costume-making, and other activities perfect for those aged 12 and under (accompanied by an adult). 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. $60 for a 3-day pass or $30-40 for one day (adult), kids ages 12 and younger free.

Saturday, August 17 

Play wheelchair basketball at the Seattle PlayGarden. Children and youth of all ages and abilities are welcome. Extra chairs and balls will be provided as Coach Nick and other wheelchair basketball players and coaches help newbies give the sport a try. In partnership with Rainier Adaptive Sports & Seattle Adaptive Sports. 10 a.m. to noon. FREE

One more: Take part in the annual Big Day of Play, a celebration of Seattle’s diversity, encouraging neighbors, communities, and families to have fun, build relationships, and be active together. The Summer 2024 event is happening today from noon to 5 p.m. at Rainier Playfields and Mt. Baker Rowing and Sailing Center. You can also take part online through YouTube, Facebook, and the Big Day of Play website. Go to BDoP website to see the lineup of fun planned for the day. FREE

And another: It’s T-Rex Race Day at Emerald Downs, the racetrack in Auburn. Yep, you heard that right. Racing T-Rexes (or folks dressed up like the old dinos) from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Can your kids even tell them apart? Cost $4-8 and up. 

And yet there’s more: How about a ferry ride to Suquamish on Bainbridge Island today? Once there, you’ll take part in the Suquamish Tribe’s Chief Seattle Days weekend. The Suquamish — known as People of the Clear Salt Water — will celebrate the great chief with canoe races, softball, and horseshoe tournaments, games, traditional singing, and more. A memorial service will be held at the gravesite of Chief Seattle at 10 a.m., followed by a salmon bake at noon. FREE

Sunday, August 18 

Go fishing! The statewide 2024 Trout Derby runs every day this summer. Kids ages 14 and younger fish for free, while adults and youth 15 and older must purchase a fishing permit ($11.35/day). Go to a King County lake participating in the derby (Cottage Lake, Green Lake, Lake Margaret, Langlois Lake, Pine Lake, Steel Lake, Wilderness Lake), drop in your line, and if you catch a trout with a blue tag, keep the tag. To claim your prize, log onto the state Wildlife Department’s webpage, enter the tag number, the lake you caught it in, the date it was caught, and your contact information.

Monday, August 19 

Use the park as an obstacle course or scavenger hunt today! Pick a park near you and load up your blankets, hula hoops, and other easily portable items to use in an obstacle course. Invite your kids’ friends to each bring one item to add to the course. And, of course, include playground equipment in your challenge. Once it’s set up, kids go through it one at a time, timed on every try. The goal is to beat your first time by your third time through. Water and snacks are a must. FREE

Tuesday, August 20

Put on your own play or variety show in the park (or your backyard). Gather some friends, make up a play or plan a talent show, cobble some costumes together from around the house, invite parents, grandparents, siblings, and neighbors, and stage your show. Need a stage? Lay washable blankets or sheets on the ground to map out your space. Need lighting? Designate one or two people as the lighting crew and hand them flashlights so they can spotlight the actors. Don’t forget the cue cards! Need play ideas? Check out the article “Put on a Show! How to Turn Your Backyard into a Theater” by our colleagues at PDX Parent in Portland, OR. FREE

Wednesday, August 21

Calling wannabe chefs! Kids ages 11 to 17 are invited to drop in at the International District Community Center for the center’s Teen Chef Program from 3-5 p.m. today. They’ll learn culinary techniques, work collaboratively, and have a blast in this easy-to-follow class from Seattle Parks and Recreation. FREE 

One more: Head over to Port Orchard to tour the Lady Washington, the state’s mascot tall sailing vessel (as in pirate days). The crew will be onboard to answer questions for visitors, young and old. A suggested donation of $5 is welcome. Through August 26. FREE

Thursday, August 22

Today’s the day to learn bocce ball, a game that originated in Egypt 7,000 years ago. Visit Les Gove Park in Auburn, where all ages are invited to participate in free bocce instruction at the park’s bocce courts every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. through mid-October. All ages. The adjoining Discovery Playground is a little climbers’ paradise and includes an ADA swing. The park’s spray feature will cool everyone off. FREE

Friday, August 23

It’s Board Game Day! Playing Ticket to Ride or Candy Land on the living room floor might seem simplistic, but in the big list of summer activities, a low-key game day might be just the breather you need. Equally important, games help your kids practice their math, language, and strategy skills. So dust off the classic games from your childhood for a dose of nostalgia and head to Queen Anne’s Blue Highway Games all-age game tonight (or any Friday) from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. FREE

Saturday, August 24

Turn your kids on to the strategic game of chess today at the Detective Cookie Chess Club. Recommended for kids ages 7 and older, it’s a great place to learn the game, enjoy a gentle challenge, and build community. Parents are welcome to play, too. The club takes place at Rainier Beach Community Center from noon to 2 p.m. FREE 

More get-your-game-on: Continue your board game spree at Meadowbrook Community Center or Yesler Community Center in Seattle today, any time between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. (Yesler) or 4:30 p.m. (Meadowbrook). Just bring your favorite games or try one of the centers’ games. Kids under 12 need to be accompanied by an adult, so roll your sleeves up and jump into the games with them. FREE 

For kids with ASD: Today is Sensory-Friendly Morning at MoPOP, an opportunity for adults, youth, and families to experience the museum with lower volume and light levels (8 to 10 a.m.). Tickets are $10 per adult and $9 per youth. This event is best for kids ages 8 and older.

Sunday, August 25

What would the harvest festival be like in a medieval village? Find out while enjoying archery and sword demonstrations, music, dance, and more at the Harvest Festival at Camlann Medieval Village in Carnation. Adults are $15, and kids ages 6-12 are $10. Children ages 5 and younger are free. Dinner is available by reservation at an additional cost. 

Monday, August 26

If making art is just your kid’s thing, head to Seattle Parks and Rec’s Donnie Chin Children’s Park in the International District today from 3-5 p.m. for “Art in the Park.” They’ll learn to make classic crafts like papier mache, along with some not-so-ordinary pieces. This park has unique play equipment, including drums and an iconic bronze dragon sculpture by Gerard Tsutakawa. FREE

Tuesday, August 27

Did you know there are more than 3,000 roses representing more than 200 varieties at the Woodland Park Zoo Rose Garden? This pesticide-free garden is located at the southeast end of the zoo and is a feast for the senses. Can your kids guess how many varieties of roses are planted here (without you spilling the beans)? The garden is open from 7:30 a.m. until dusk every day of the year. FREE

Wednesday, August 28

Juggling anyone? Ever wondered how they do it? Drop in at the Seattle Parks and Rec Ballard Community Center to learn this fun and impressive skill. All ages are welcome, so bring the family and then put on a show for yourselves once you’ve got the hang of it. 5:15-7:45 p.m. FREE

One more: Get them out to play and practice ultimate frisbee skills from 3:30-4:30 p.m. at the Ravenna Upper Playfield in Seattle’s Ravenna Park. Volunteer coaches will be on hand to lead a fun practice and help kids develop skills and game strategy. All skill levels are welcome. FREE

Thursday, August 29

Get out and geocache. A great family activity, geocaching uses a phone app and GPS technology to lead players on a worldwide hunt for specially placed containers, called “geocaches” or “caches.” Once you find the cache, you log it, leave it, and start navigating toward another container. There are literally hundreds of caches all around Puget Sound. Hint: City parks are popular spots for caching. Check out Remember geocache treasures are for everyone. Leaving what you find for the next player keeps it fun. For more information check out Check out FREE

Friday, August 30

Video games. They are to young people today what reading and kickball were to kids of yore. Step into the play at PAX West, where visitors can play pre-release video games, watch game competitions, and see a whole lot of costumes. There will be video game lovers of all ages in this popular event. At the Washington State Convention Center through September 2. For details and cost, visit

One more: Today’s the day to “Do the Puyallup.” Head south for the first day of the Washington State Fair. This largest and oldest fair in the state takes place at Washington State Fair Events Center and runs through September 22. Rides and attractions cost, but admission is FREE

One more: Mark the almost-end of summer with Tukwila End of Summer Bash at Tukwila Community Center tonight. The event includes family activities, a variety of food trucks, back-to-school gear, and an evening movie in the park, “Kung Fu Panda 4.” The bash starts at 6 p.m. FREE

Saturday, August 31

How about going out for a run as a family today? The Summer Spirit Run in Magnuson Park is a fun and funky event where dogs are welcome (on leash) and kids have a blast, whether they do the kids’ dash or run along with their parents in the 5k. Registration is $30 for the 5k and $5 for the dash. Just do it!

For a complete guide to summer events check out our comprehensive and searchable Family Events Calendar


Hop on board at the Great Northern and Cascade Railway in Skycomish. Photo courtesy Great Northern & Cascade Railway

Sunday, September 1

All aboard! Head to the Great Northern & Cascade Railway at Depot Parkin Skykomish today. The depot museum and souvenir shop are open Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. year-round. Kids can take unlimited miniature train rides today and every Saturday and Sunday through the last weekend in October. Rides run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rides take 10-12 minutes on a double loop trip over 5,000 feet of track that includes a tunnel, a snow shed, and two bridges. FREE

Monday, September 2

Hone the whole family’s rock climbing skills, or try it for the first time, on practice walls throughout the greater Seattle area. Check out Schurman Rock in West Seattle’s Camp Long, open to the public when not being used for classes. You’ll find a sizable climbing wall at Les Gove Park in Auburn — a 30-foot climber with three lead routes and eight belay stations. Or check out the free outdoor wall at Marymoor Park in Redmond. For safety’s sake, an adult should always be present when kids are trying to scramble. FREE

Tuesday, September 3

School starts tomorrow, so take a “Do Nothing” day. You’ve hiked, you’ve biked, you’ve played, you’ve danced. You’ve visited tide pools and petting zoos and museums. Instead of cramming in one more end-of-summer event or activity, how about just hanging out as a family and perhaps engaging in or starting a new back-to-school tradition? Spaghetti dinner anyone? Stage a first-day fashion show, then early into jammies — parents, too. Finally, settle onto the couch for a low-stress family flick before hitting the hay early. Tomorrow’s a big day. FREE

Wednesday, September 4

Let’s pretend it’s still summer. Head to the park and play the afternoon and evening away. How about a quick collection of fallen leaves and branches? Can you identify the type of plant they come from? Check out the free PlantNet and PlantSnap apps from your phone’s app store and use them to ID the leaves your kids collect. FREE

For a complete guide to summer events check out our comprehensive and searchable Family Events Calendar. And, click here to get your free downloadable summer calendar.

Read more:

Family-friendly outdoor movies in the parks Summer 2024

Family-Friendly Summer Outdoor Concerts around Seattle 2024

Drive-in movie theaters are open! Here’s where to catch a show.

Summer reading programs at local libraries, bookstores

About the Author

Cheryl Murfin and Kaiya DeCory-Keen