Welcome to Seattle’s Child’s Summer Route 66 JULY, a map to guide you through July. Whether you count it in months, weeks, days or hours, summer is the season for family doing and going.It’s the season of long, active, outdoor fun as you hike, bike, swim, dance and play close to home or across Washington State. It’s the season of lazy inside days spent reading, learning and watching creativity bloom from boredom. And, it’s the season of Washington’s major and most popular family-friendly fairs and festivals, the biggest and oldest of which are right here in Puget Sound.
Seattle’s Child’s Summer Route 66 makes a stop every day between July 1 – 31. It’s a guide full of great ideas, local outings and interesting destinations.
So, sit down as a family, check out the route, choose the stops that excite you all. Be sure to check websites and register early for events and activities that require registration. Once that’s done, sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through summer 2022.
Friday, July 1: Claim your campsite
Whether your clan prefers tents, cabins or yurts, rustic or modern, take this weekend for a little overnight adventure in the woods, on the beach or by a lake. Great family camping can be found on the Key Peninsula at Joemma Beach State Park (a first-come, first-served park). Cabins are the thing at Cama Beach State Park. And if you’ve never tried a yurt, head out to Tolt Mac-Donald Park, much closer to home near the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers. Spots all booked? Don’t let that stop your family fun! Pitch a tent in your living room or backyard, roast s’mores, tell spooky stories and Voilà! You’ve gone on the easiest camping adventure ever. For more location ideas visit waparks.org.
Saturday, July 2: Fly a kite
Feel a breeze today? If so, grab a kite, slop on running shoes and get ready to soar on the joy of kiting. For the best flying, head to the Great Earth Mound Summit at Gasworks Park or loosen your strings on Kite Hill – Magnuson Park’s 35-foot-tall kite run. Catch the last day of Come Fly a Kite Days at Chambers Creek Regional Park between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Need a kite? Purchase a kite kit online and build it at the park. For more great kite-flying opportunities, check out August 18 in this issue and “5 solid kite-flying spots” at seattleschild.com. For more on Kite Days visit piercecountywa.gov/6939/Come-Fly-a-Kite.
Sunday, July 3: Cruise through Bicycle Weekend
Your human-powered wheels are welcome right down the middle of Lake Washington Boulevard, today through tomorrow morning at 7 a.m., during Bicycle Weekend. On select weekends, the City of Seattle closes a portion of the boulevard to motorized vehicles from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Monday. So pack a sack lunch for a lakeside picnic and bike, jog or stroll the street between Seward Park’s entrance and Mouth Baker Park’s beach. Mark your calendar for upcoming Bicycle Weekends: July 15-18, August 12-15 and 19-22, and September 2-6 and 16-19. Check out “10 Bicycle Weekends set for summer 2022 along Lake Washington Boulevard” at seattleschild.com.
Monday, July 4: The biggest festival in the U.S. of A
Where should your family go to watch spectacular fireworks? In Seattle, the Seattle Seafair Fireworks show is best viewed at Gasworks Park or Lake Union Park. The light show begins at 10:15 p.m. Learn more at seafair.org.
The following cities are also lighting the skies this year: Bellevue at Downtown Park 10:05 p.m.; Everett at Legion Memorial Park 10:00 p.m.; Mountlake Terrace at Ballinger Park at 10 p.m. on July 3; Federal Way at Celebration Park at 10:15 p.m.; Renton at Gene Coulon Memorial Park 10 p.m.; Lacey at Rainier Vista Park at 10 p.m. on July 3; SeaTac at Angle Lake Park at 10 p.m.
Tuesday, July 5: Get lost on a tiny island
It isn’t big, but Everett’s Jetty Island is a fascinating place to roam on a Tuesday afternoon. A three-minute ferry ride takes you there – it’s a perfect spot to bask in the sun, discover tidelands and saltwater marshes, build sand castles and swim in shallow waters. Jetty Island ferries start running today and will continue to run Wednesday to Sunday through Labor Day. Reservations are required. Kids under age 2 are free. Swimming is only allowed on the west shore and at your own risk (no lifeguards). Check out “Everett’s lovely Jetty Island is just a ferry ride away” at Seattleschild.com. Learn more at visiteverett.com/jetty
Wednesday, July 6: Summer Reading Challenge
With more daylight hours and warm, curl-up weather, summer is the perfect time for a lazy day of reading. Dedicate today to the written word, starting with cartoons or a short story over breakfast. King County Library System’s summer reading program started in June, but you have until August to log 1,000 minutes of reading or (audiobook) listening. Consider a book from the Global Reading Challenge held by Seattle Public Library earlier this year. Read to your child or encourage your fourth- or fifth-grader to read a Challenge book to you. Go to spl.org to find more information.
Thursday, July 7: Check out a museum for free!
A visit to a museum for the whole family can be prohibitively expensive. That’s why several local museums give you and yours the opportunity to explore for free – on the first Thursday of every month. Free Thursdays are a great opportunity to introduce kids to amazing art, ideas and history. The Museum of Flight, Museum of History and Industry, the Burke Museum, National Nordic Museum and others participate in free Thursdays. That makes today a perfect day to pick a museum and spark your child’s curiosity. Check out “Seattle-area museums to explore for free on First Thursdays” at seattleschild.com.
Friday, July 8: Meet the Bard in the park
William Shakespeare (or at least his plays) will be roaming parks in Seattle and King County this summer looking for you and your family. Tonight Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Wooden O Productions performs A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma and Cymbeline at Luther Burbank Park Amphitheater on Mercer Island. Greenstage (now in its 34th season) opens its Shakespeare in the Park season today as well. For summer lineups, go to seattleshakespeare.org and greenstage.org.
Kids not feelin’ Shakespeare? 14/48 Project’s high-energy staging of “Mega Hero Rangers Go Go Go Supreme” is onstage this weekend and plays every weekend through July. Think superhero mashup of Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For location and other information visit the1448projects.org.
Saturday, July 9: Ride the rails with Thomas and friends
Thomas the Tank Engine is rolling into the Northwest Railway Museum and depot in Snoqualmie today! Thomas will be joined by several of his railway friends, including Sir Topham Hatt, so head to the station to meet them and/or jump on board Thomas for an interactive train ride. Little engineers will also delight in the museum’s Dream Big Corner where they are invited to participate in lawn games and other activities. Can’t ride the rails with Thomas today? The world’s favorite No. 1 blue engine will return to Snoqualmie July 15-17 and 23-24. trainmuseum.org
Sunday, July 10: Farmers markets
Breaking news: Food comes from farms! Explore the bounty of fresh-picked fruits and veggies, bouquets of summer florals, baked goods, homemade jams, entertainment and more at summer farmers markets taking place all around King County this summer. Today, head to the West Seattle Farmers Market (Sundays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.). Farmers markets take place in neighborhoods across Seattle just about every day of the week. And outside Seattle too: Monroe Farmers Market (Wednesdays, 3.-7 p.m.); Renton Farmers Market (Tuesdays, 3-7 p.m.); Redmond Farmers Market (Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.); Tacoma Farmers Market ( Sundays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.). Check out “Picnic perfect farmers markets” at seattleschild.com for more market information. To find a list of all farmers’ markets in our region and beyond go to wafarmersmarkets.org.
Monday, July 11: Take a wander on the Seattle Waterfront
The Seattle Waterfront offers plenty to see and do today. While away the hours watching ferries come and go, check out skyscraper-sized cruise ships or join a game of soccer on the turf on pier 62. Take a spin on the Great Wheel carousel at pier 57 for a little tummy-dropping excitement and stunning city views. Then hunt for the Giant Pacific Octopus at Seattle Aquarium (Pier 59) or watch for seals gliding in the water nearby. There is a range of restaurants on the wharf or at nearby Pike Place Market. That’s where you’ll find artistic arrays of farm-fresh produce, colorful flowers, funky shops, street artists and more. Check the article “A day out on the Seattle Waterfront with kids” at seattleschild.com.
Tuesday, July 12: Find the pinball whiz in your family
Arcade games are always a pull for kids with their bright lights, sounds and flashing scores. The Seattle Pinball Museum is the place to see, learn and experience games dating from the 1930s to today. Let your own childhood memory of pinball play guide your fingers as you pull that spring-loaded pinball knob and watch the silver ball bounce down the board. Or challenge your kids to rack up points on what museum curators say is the original video game. Nostalgia alert: This museum is also a retail store, so don’t be surprised if a favorite game follows you home! Learn more at seattlepinballmuseum.com.
Wednesday, July 13: Set sail
Salt in the air, ripples on the water . . . does today’s weather scream “perfect day” to set sail with your family? The Center for Wooden Boats’ Public Peapod Program makes that prospect easy. Peapod boats are free to use (maximum of five adults) and are perfect for rowers of all experiences. Reservations are required and they fill fast (open Wednesday to Sunday, year round). In fact, Seattle offers an array of great family-friendly boating options, including the dessert and float experience of the Seattle Water Tours Ice Cream Sail. The King County Water Taxi ferries people to and from West Seattle and Vashon Island for the cost of a bus ride. You can also rent stand-up paddle boards at Agua Verde Cafe and Paddle Club. Or rent canoes at the Waterfront Activities Center, located behind the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium. For more easy family boating ideas, check out “On the water: 11 options for Seattle boat rentals and tours” at seattleschild.com.
Thursday, July 14: Take a guided wildlife tour
Learn all about nature on a tour led by a naturalist or park ranger. Go to Richmond Beach Salt Water Park or Carkeek Beach today and visit with the Seattle Aquarium volunteer naturalists, who stand ready to teach you a thing or two about ocean life. Today will be one of the lowest tides of the summer, so you’re bound to see a variety of shelled and/or tentacled beauties. Pick up different lessons about the what/when/where of local wildlife at the Seward Park Audubon Center, where experts teach all aboutbirds and other wildlife in the area. Visit Mercer Slough or Coal Creek Park to learn about owls, bats and other nocturnal animals.
Friday, July 15: 33rd Annual Seafair Indian Days Powwow
There’s a lot to discover at Seattle’s Discovery Park beyond its rambling trails and rocky beaches. This weekend is your family’s opportunity to discover or engage in Indigenous culture through dance, music, Native arts and crafts, and traditional foods during the 33rd Annual Seafair Indian Days Powwow.
The powwow takes place at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, located in Discovery Park, today through Sunday, July 17.
United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, event organizers, offer this history of the powwow: “In early times, hunters would invite their friends and relatives to share their good fortune. As time went on, while the meal was being prepared, relatives would dance to honor their host. Eventually, the dancing became the main focus of the event. Powwows also had religious significance. They were an opportunity for families to hold naming and honoring ceremonies.” This weekend, Native Americans of all tribes and cultures will come together to celebrate their heritage and showcase traditional Indian cooking, jewelry-making, music, dance and food which is a central part of Native Peoples hospitality. Join in a traditional salmon bake and get a taste of other traditional Indigenous foods. Don’t sit on the sidelines when the Grand Entry dance begins. After Native American dancers enter the powwow circle in their traditional regalia, all are welcome to join the dance. Check out the FAQs page at unitedindians.org.
Saturday, July 16: Strawberry fields forever
Classic cars, a parade, and strawberries everywhere: The free Vashon Island Strawberry Festival is an old-timey tradition filled with intergenerational fun. Hop a morning ferry from the Fauntleroy terminal in West Seattle to spend today gorging on ripe red heart-shaped berries in all forms (jams, sundaes, lemonade, pie). Burn off the calories dancing to live music and strolling among artist and vendor booths. The festival runs through July 17. vashonchamber.com/strawberryfestival
Sunday, July 17: Whidbey Island
Take the ferry or drive over to Whidbey Island today. Hike Ebey’s Landing, a 5.6-mile trail that winds over a bluff and leads down to a rocky shore. Share a picnic at the beach or head over to Kapaws Iskreme for a sweet treat. Don’t miss Price Sculpture Forest for another short hike, perfect for little legs and exploring art works from local artists. Check out “Parent review: Hidden fun at Whidbey’s Price Sculpture Forest” at seattleschild.com. Learn more at whidbeycamanoislands.com.
Monday, July 18: Day trip to North Bend
A visit to North Bend really starts at Snoqualmie Falls, or more precisely, at the two-acre park, gift shop, observation deck and popular Salish Lodge located at the top of this 270-foot waterfall. The upper observation and lower observation decks are open every day of the year. Challenge your little ones to spot the long pipes that carry the water from the falls up through turbines to create electricity for our region. From the falls it’s an eight-minute drive into North Bend to check out the city’s large murals, old steam engines, and learn about the region’s logging history. End your visit with two scoops from Snoqualmie Ice Cream. Find out more at discovernorthbend.com and snoqualmiefalls.com.
Tuesday, July 19: Sandsations sand castle festival
Did you know there’s actual science behind sand castles? It’s called “surface tension.”
Surface tension is the force that causes water molecules to be attracted to one another and it’s the strength behind great sandcastle building. So, add a little science fact to the fun when you pile in the car and head to the Sandsations Sand Castle Festival in Long Beach. This annual festival starts today and runs through July 23. Pack your buckets, shovels and tools and set to work on an enormous family castle. There will be inspiration aplenty – master sculptors from around the country will be on the beach, building incredible sand art as part of the Sand Castle Competition. Large-scale sculptures can be viewed all along the shoreline near the Bolstad Beach Approach and at participating businesses around town who sponsored sculptures in front of their storefronts. Don’t miss the individual and family sand castle competition entries or, better yet, enter your family! Learn how to build castles at sand sculptor-led drop-in classes for families. facebook.com/longbeachsandsations
Wednesday, July 20: A weekend in Skagit Valley
What’s there to do in Skagit Valley after the tulips have stopped blooming? Plenty. Rent a tiny home in the mountains and spend your days hiking. Check out the 1.8-mile hike to Craft Island, where you’ll discover an ocean wonderland at low tide. Head to Padilla Bay Interpretive Center, a free museum with touch tanks and information about all the animals in the area. Good cookin’ is waiting for your family at the Skagit River Brewery. Follow it up with a visit to Snow Goose Produce, where they serve up enormous scoops of ice cream. Learn more at visitskagitvalley.com.
Thursday, July 21: Lakeside lounge day!
We wait nine months for that sun you see in the sky. Bask in it during an all-day lounge at a lake. It’s easy: just inflate the alligator raft, grab loose change for the ice cream truck and head for the water. With so many beautiful beaches nearby, you could make lake-hopping a weekly activity. Consider Meydenbauer Bay Park in Bellevue, which boasts a big swimming area, water sport rentals, a playground, picnic tables and awesome views. Take a tour of Green Lake on an electric pedal boat. At Seward Park, bring bikes and scooters for a roll along the flat, 2.6-mile loop before spreading out a blanket at the lakeside or shady playground.
Friday, July 22: Themed Playgrounds
Have an aspiring astronaut in the family or someone who loves trains? Maybe a kid who likes to play boardgames? Fuel their passions at a themed playground today. Zip down the line at Wilburton Park in Bellevue, climb the Jupiter structure at space-themed North Kirkland Community 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” at seattleschild.com.
Saturday, July 23: Mima Mounds
What exactly are those orbs rising from the ground in the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve? Toss around scientific and silly guesses as you move through this eerie preserve near Olympia. Stepping into this environmental oddity is a little like landing on another planet. Visit the observation deck for a birds-eye view and to compare scientists’ best guesses on why the mounds may have formed to your family’s. Check out “The mysterious Mima Mounds: Family-friendly day trip from Seattle” at seattleschild.com.
Sunday, July 24: Petting Zoos
It’s one thing to see animals. It’s quite another (and a lot more fun for most kids) to touch goats, lambs, chickens and even bunnies. Visit Farrell McWhirter Park or Kelsey Creek Farms (or both) today for a hands-on experience with chickens, bunnies, pigs, horses and more. Both farms offer kid-friendly classes about animals, their behaviors and their habitats. Check out “Best family farms and petting zoos around Seattle” at seattleschild.com.
Monday, July 25: Get to know Seattle’s Asian heritage
Seattle’s China Town-International District is the perfect place to explore the Asian culture and to gain understanding of the historical role and experience of the region’s Chinese, Japanese and other Asian communities. Start your day with a boba-filled bubble tea and then head to the Wing Luke Museum. Stop for dim sum lunch at one of several Chinese eateries specializing in this small plates taste fest. Next wander up to Kobe Terrace Park, named after Seattle’s sister city, Kobe, Japan. After browsing shops, move on to sushi or another favorite dish at a nearby Japanese restaurant. Be sure to stop in at Uwajimaya, one of the city’s largest Asian food markets to stock up on delicious snacks to remember your day in the “I.D.” Learn more at visitseattle.org/neighborhoods/international-district.
Tuesday, July 26: Stairway walks
Running up and down stairs has several benefits: stairs get you to new places, they can tucker out ansty kids and they can provide a heart-pumping workout for parents. We call that a win-win-win! With more than 650 publicly accessible stairways in Seattle, there’s plenty of adventure waiting to be found in every neighborhood. Step up to the longest staircase in Seattle – Howe Street Stairs, ascending a lofty 388 steps! And check out “5 Seattle stair walks that are fun (and worth the work) with kids” at seattleschild.com.
Wednesday, July 27: Take me out to the ballgame!
What could be more iconic in the summertime than cheering from the stands at a baseball game? Today the Seattle Mariners take on the Texas Rangers, so grab your placards, hats and mitts and head to T-Mobile Park for an afternoon game. Along with game viewing, T-Mobile Park has a Kids Zone and lots of opportunities to meet the mascot, Mariner Moose. But major league play isn’t the only great baseball in Puget Sound. For more action, check out the Everett AquaSox and Tacoma Rainiers, our region’s minor-league teams. Hint: Get lawn tickets at the Rainiers’ home, Cheney Stadium, to give kids room to roam and play on the adjacent playground. Everett’s Funko Field also has a Fun Zone, with a big slide, bouncy house and pitching cage. For a list of Washington’s professional teams, go to wsscaseattle.com.
Thursday, July 28: Story walks
A walk, a story, time in nature and a little literary adventure. What’s not to like about a storywalk? The non-profit group PopUp StoryWalk integrates children’s stories (some by local authors) into popular trail walks in and around east King County. Learn where and when new stories will be displayedt at facebook.com/popupstorywalk/popupstorywalk.org. And don’t miss the Pretzel Tree Trail, a permanent story walk installation in Issaquah.
Friday, July 29: 75th Annual Bellevue Arts Museum Arts Fair
Expose your kids to the creative minds and energies of hundreds of artists during the largest arts and crafts festival in the Northwest.
First launched in 1947, Bellevue Arts Museum Arts Fair showcases the handmade crafts and art of more than 300 artists. With that much creativity on the streets, there’s something sure to capture the attention of every member of the family. Not to mention, there’s a lot to do here, from free museum exhibitions to art vendor booths to music, food trucks and more.
Do the words “arts festival” sound a little too lofty for a family outing? Have no fear. This arts extravaganza isn’t just for grownups. Kids and families are invited to step into Bellevue Art Museum Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., for hands-on art projects, games and gallery activities. All are welcome, but most stations are best-suited for ages 3-10. The younger set will also enjoy the BAMboozle Stage located near the Bellevue Macy’s store fountain, featuring local music just for kids. Not to mention, a bubble area and crafts.
Bring your sidewalk chalk! Your family is invited to create chalk art and graffiti all along the closed portions of NE 6th Street (outside Bellevue Arts Museum) from Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. The fair runs July 29-31 at Bellevue Square and Bellevue Arts Museum. Learn more at bellevuearts.org/artsfair.
Saturday, July 30: It’s SEA-ttle! More tide pools please!
Check the tide pool charts and head out to find amazing Puget Sound creatures usually visible only at low tide. There’s a lot to look for: crabs, sea stars, gunnell fish, anemone, barnacles and more can be found at Marina Beach Park in Edmonds or on the beaches at Discovery Park below Magnolia or Golden Gardens Park in North Seattle. Remember to use a gentle two-finger touch to explore sea creatures. Check out “Your guide to exploring Seattle-area beaches at low tide” at seattleschild.com.
Sunday, July 31: Wildflower wonders
Rolling hills, swaying meadows and waterside wildflowers are a sight to see! Head up to Snoqualmie Pass today for a walk in the wildflowers along Gold Creek Pond. It’s an easy 1.2-mile stroller- and ADA-accessible walk with plenty of colorful flowers come mid-summer. Pack bug spray and leave flowers on the fields so others can share in the experience, too. Go to “Gold Creek Pond Loop: These kids had so much fun they hiked it twice” at seattleschild.com.