Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Give the gift of experiences this holiday season

Skip the toys this year and create lasting memories

 

The holidays are here and with them often come an avalanche of toys for the kids in your family. There is an alternative to digging yourself out from under a mountain of toys and complaining about too much clutter. Give (and ask for) gifts that are experiences rather than tangible items. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite experiences to give as presents—and bonus: they have the added benefit of creating lifelong memories.

 

Children’s Museums

A membership to a children’s museum guarantees hours of indoor entertainment which is a huge plus during Seattle’s rainy season. We’re lucky enough to have multiple museums for the little ones within easy driving distance.
 

Seattle’s Children's Museum
Located in the Seattle Center, this museum is a classic for childhood fun. The pretend grocery store and water area are sure to entertain for hours. Memberships can be purchased for one adult and one child or for the entire family.

Imagine Children’s Museum
This interactive museum in Everett is top-notch in the fun department and has three levels of exhibits along with a highly acclaimed Rooftop Adventure exhibit. This museum is ideal for up to age 12 with exciting hands-on exploration in science, literacy, math, history and art. Memberships start at $90 for one adult and one child.
 

Hands On Children’s Museum of Olympia
With tons of exhibits both inside and outside, the Hands On Children’s Museum is worth the drive to Olympia. The two story building features two water exhibits, a room packed full of fire trucks, aid cars and a light-brite wall, along with a stage, craft rooms and building exhibits. Additionally the museum has chickens which the children can pet and learn about. Memberships are available for families with discounts for military, foster and First Responder families.
 

KidsQuest Children’s Museum
The newly re-opened KidsQuest Children’s Museum provides hours of fun for kids and adults alike. The museum recently moved from their old Factoria location to downtown Bellevue and features a semi-truck, mercantile, atrium, water gallery and a tot orchard. They host storytimes throughout the week along with other special events. Memberships start at $95 for one adult and child.

Pacific Science Center
Located in the Seattle Center, the Pacific Science Center offers live planetarium shows, a butterfly garden, IMAX movies and tons of other fun exhibits along with the Wellbody Academy. Gift a family membership for oodles of fun.

The Museum of Flight
Located in the Georgetown neighborhood, The Museum of Flight is the largest independent, non-profit air and space museum in the world. The over 175 aircraft and spacecraft provides a bird’s eye view of the history of flight. The Kids’ Flight Zone allows wee flyers to strap into flight harnesses and test their piloting skills.

Creative Art Sessions

Crafting, drawing and painting provide hours of fun and education for kids. Keeping the glitter out of your house by getting memberships or classes to some of the best art studios around means there will be more art in everyone’s lives and less mess in your house.

Arts Aloft
This studio in east Seattle offers classes to kids ranging in ages 4 to 12 and teaches them to express themselves through art projects featuring acrylics, charcoals, clay and water colors. Workshops, parties, and camps are also available and can be purchased as gifts.
 

Roaring Mouse Creative Arts Studio
Roaring Mouse Creative Arts Studio offers classes along with open-studio hours and a playroom packed with toys and art supplies. Drop-in classes start at $14 or register for a workshop for even more fun.
 

Thrive Art School
This studio has two locations in the Ravenna and Madison Park neighborhoods and offers classes for kids as young as 3. Thrive Art School teaches kids to draw and paint while also emphasizing confidence and creative problem solving. $86 and up for a four-class monthly pass; $60 for 3-hour workshops
 

Seattle ReCreative
Located in the Greenwood neighborhood, Seattle ReCreative’s emphasis on environmentalism means kids blend art with recycled supplies. The store sells art supplies and offers workshops along with drop-in sessions. Drop-in classes begin at $12, class passes available.
 

Paint the Town
Head to University Village, roll up your sleeves and paint some pottery. Gift certificates can be purchased for a set amount and can be redeemed for a future session. Paint the Town offers daily specials.
 

West Seattle Art Nest
This creative space is packed full of art and glitter. Kids will especially love the paint splatter room and parents will enjoy watching their tykes become artists. The West Seattle Art Nest offers open studio time along with workshops. Gift certificates can be purchased for set dollar amounts in person or online.
 

Open Arts Studio
This Tacoma studio offers almost everything for your kids’ artistic desires from charcoal drawing, pastels, fashion illustration, anime and manga, pottery and sewing. The studio has afterschool and weekend classes for kids age 4 and older along with a homeschool program. Classes start at $114 for six 1-hour classes, $139 for six 1½-hour classes.
 

Early Masters
Founder Shelley Thomas blends art history lessons with hands-on painting instruction. Students learn about Pablo Picasso and other art icons, and leave with their own work of art. Classes are $45 and up.

 

The Theater

Live theater is a treat for kids and the Seattle region is full of theaters ideal for short attention spans. Some even offer camps for kids interested in taking the stage themselves!

Seattle Children’s Theatre
This Seattle favorite, currently celebrating their 43rd season, offers subscriptions to their most popular shows along with single ticket sales. Upcoming shows include: The Little Prince, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and The Lamp is the Moon. SCT also has drama school classes and camps throughout the year.

Thistle Theatre
This theater specializes in tabletop Japanese puppetry called Bunraku and performs in Bellevue, Ballard and Seattle. Their 26 seasons have honed the shows for not only children but adults too. Tickets are priced the same for all shows and season tickets include a free show.
 

StoryBook Theater
Since 1998, StoryBook Theater has introduced young children to live theater with original, interactive musicals. The shows are 55-minute musicals filled with whimsical costumes and memorable characters. All shows are geared toward the ages of 3-10. Upcoming shows include Pinocchio and Rapunzel. Buy a season subscription or a gift certificate for a single show.

Second Story Repertory Theatre for Young Audiences
The Second Story Repertory Theatre offers year-round musicals, comedies, mysteries and dramas for young audiences from ages 4 to 10 in Redmond. Upcoming shows include: Junie B. Jones the Musical, Charlotte’s Web and The Adventures of Flat Stanley. Season tickets or single show tickets are available.

 

Animal Talk  

They say you shouldn't work with children and animals but they don’t have anything to say about children experiencing animal life. Seattle has a wide range of zoos, aquariums and animal parks to explore with the additional bonus of learning about lots of different animals.

Woodland Park Zoo
A membership to the Woodland Park Zoo is a year-long gift. During the winter, kids can explore Zoomazium while summer months mean camps and animal viewing. The classic, hand-carved wooden carousel is an anytime treat!
 

Cougar Mountain Zoo
This unique zoo just 15 miles east of Seattle is nestled on the north facing slope of Cougar Mountain. Along with the endangered species housed within the zoo, this location also offers a breathtaking view of the Cascade Mountain range. You’ll find many animal species here from cougars to parrots and even llamas. Memberships start a $78.
 

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Northwest and lets you see sharks, polar bears and peacocks, wolves and walruses, all in one place. The kids’ zone alone is worth the membership.

Seattle Aquarium
Situated on Seattle’s waterfront at Pier 59, the Seattle Aquarium features a 40-foot, 55,000-lb. viewing window looking into a 120,000-gallon aquarium filled with salmon, colorful rockfish, vibrant sea anemones, and other native Washington marine life. The two touching tide pools filled with sea anemones and sunflower sea stars are a child’s delight along with a pacific coral reef exhibit, marine mammals and an underwater dome. Membership provides a year-long learning experience of sea life.
 

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
This 725-acre park is just 55 miles south of Seattle and has a commitment to showing North American animals in natural habitats. Check out bighorn sheep, caribou, bison and mountain goats. Tickets can be easily purchased online for the perfect holiday present.

 

Music/Language Classes

The earlier you expose children to other languages and music, the broader their minds will be. Seattle is chock full of classes that can teach kids to be multilingual or how to move and groove with music.

Sponge School
Sponge School provides classes in Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese), Japanese and Hindi. The 55-minute classes teach not only language skills but also educate kids about the cultures in which these languages are spoken. Kids are taught through games, crafts, songs and movements – all in another language.
 

Tiny Tots at the Seattle Symphony
Introduce the younger set to the orchestra with the Seattle Symphony’s Tiny Tots series. The 35-minute concerts teach kids about instruments, rhythms and melodies through playful songs and stories. Come early to explore the pre-concert activities including instrument exploration, percussion play and crafts.  

Musikgarten
This established children’s music school provides exceptional music experiences for toddlers, preschoolers and school aged children. Each level is tailored to specific age groups and provides a stepping stone to the next level. Classes are fun and yet purposeful with a solid music education which includes song, movement and dance.

Music Together
This internationally recognized music program provides a fun program for children from birth through age 7 along with the grown-ups in their lives. Classes can be found all throughout the Seattle region.

Sunshine Music Together
Sunshine Music Together is a researched-based innovative music and movement program for children from birth to 5 years old. Classes are made up of musical and movement experiences and are located throughout the Seattle area.

 

Active and Off the Beaten Path Experiences

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that allow your kids to run off their excess energy or do something a little different. Luckily for us, Seattle has tons of places that are perfect for active kiddos or offer something a little different.

Playdate Seattle
This indoor 8,000 square-foot indoor playground includes a cafe for parents along with interactive dance floors, climbing, crawling and a ball room. There is also a separate toddler room for children under the age of 3. Gift certificates and passes are available as gifts.

Seattle Gymnastics Academy
The Seattle Gymnastics Academy offers fantastic classes and daily open gym sessions. Located in Lake City, Columbia City and Ballard, your kids will get all their wiggles out at the Academy. Punch cards are available for open gym sessions and make great gifts.

Arena Sports FunZone
The Inflatable FunZone is perfect for burning off energy on a rainy day for kids up to age 12. Inflatable FunZone playgrounds are located in at Arena Sports in Magnuson, Issaquah, and Redmond. Purchase a 10 visit punch card for hours of bouncing fun.
 

Kids Science Labs
Located in the Greenlake neighborhood, this cool spot offers science enrichment for kids ages 2-12. The hands-on classes are available on a monthly basis with drop-in classes offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
 

The School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts (SANCA)
This place is perfect for one-time classes for those who "wanna join the circus, but [are] afraid of commitment." Offered on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, "The Intro to Circus" class is suitable for ages "6 to 106" and costs $30. Make sure to reserve a space: Classes with low enrollment 48 hours prior may be cancelled.
 

The Seattle Bouldering Project (SBP)
Head to this spot in south Seattle to allow kids to climb without ropes up to 10 feet high over a foam floor. Kids ages 4 and up can take classes while kids ages 9 to 18 can even join a bouldering team. Drop-in times are also available.