We spent a wonderful week with friends in Seattle, Stanwood, and Camano Island last week. There was so much to do, so much to see.
We packed in a lot of sightseeing during our stay, including these 3 kid-friendly locales:
Imagine Children's Museum
General Admission: $7.50; Children 12 mo. and younger: FREE
Geared to kids who are 12 and under, the Imagine Children's Museum offers plenty of opportunities for pretend play and hands-on learning. There's a bank, a cafe, a farm, a theatre, a train, a plane, a treehouse, a dinosaur excavation site, and more. In many ways, the ICM is more a "play center" than a museum. It's more about imagining careers and possibilities than it is about looking at historical or artistic artifacts. I would say that the target age range is about 5 years old, but I saw plenty of wee ones running about. Strollers aren't allowed in the facility, but - if you have a baby - you are able to borrow a front or back Snugli carrier...free of charge.
Our 3-year-old's favorite spot in the whole museum? Up on the roof...on the big playground! What preschooler can resist slides, tunnels, and climbing walls, after all?
My one suggestion for ICM is to add in a small cafeteria, restaurant, or snack shop. As it is, there is a vending machine on the premises, but I think the museum could make a lot of money (plus, provide a great service) if they sold food on-location. Even a simple menu would be nice (pizza by the slice, burritos, frozen yogurt, that kind of thing).
Exhibits Only Admission for Adults: $14; for Youth (6-15): $9; for Kids (3-5): $7
Located in the heart of downtown Seattle (right near the Space Needle), the Pacific Science Center consists of 5 interconnected buildings surrounding an outdoor pavilion. Right now, the featured exhibit is sponsored by the cartoon network and is all about animation. Kids can record their voices, do the sound effects, try their hand at drawing, and more with all kinds of interactive displays. There's also a dinosaur area, an insect village, a place to see boa constrictors and naked mole rats, a body works area (where you can test your heart rate, stress level, vision, sense of smell, etc.), and a giant water wheel. Those things are really just the tip of the iceberg.
The cool thing about PSC is that parents will like it just as much as their kids! The exhibits really are fascinating. I could have wandered around there for hours sans kids (trying everything). Our 3-year-old was a bit "young" for most of the displays, but we all were entertained nevertheless.
A minor critique would be that I'd love to see the body works area expanded and updated. It seemed a bit outdated and smallish to me. Anatomy intrigues me (I think I might have wanted to be a doctor in another life...In fact, I actually considered going to med school after getting my masters degree). The Body Works area, though very neat as it is, could be much bigger and more techie.
Here are a few fun pics from our day...
Check out this silly optical illusion (that's a rare shot of me in my glasses, which I wear when I am driving and/or when I need to see things at a distance):
And my daughter near a triceratops (she just takes my breath away):
Adults (13-64): $11-$16.50, depending on time of year; Child (3-12): $8-$11; Toddler (0-2): FREE
The name for this zoo is fitting because it really is kind of a combination of a park and a zoo. There is so much greenery everywhere (remember, I'm not used to that since I'm an Arizona girl) and you can plan to do plenty of walking in this animal wonderland (don't forget to bring a stroller!). You'll see gorillas, orangutans, lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, and more.
When we asked our 3-year-old what animal she wanted to see most on the way there, she surprised us by saying, "rhinoceros"...and then "puppy." Unfortunately, there were no rhinos to be found, but there was a wild dog and a wolf (does that count for a "puppy"?).
The zoo also features a Zoomazium, an indoor playspace for tots and little ones. It's fun and a nice reprieve for parents with toddlers, but I personally would rather spend my time looking at animals. Playgrounds are everywhere. Bald Eagles, Pandas, and Vampire Bats? Those are harder to find.
If you want to eat at the zoo, you can stop in at the Rain Forest Food Pavilion, which offers plenty of food options (pizza, deli sandwiches, burgers, nachos, and more. We didn't stop there, but I appreciate that the pavilion offers healthy food options beyond the standard fast food fare.
YOUR TURN: What are your favorite family-friendly places to visit in or around Seattle, Washington?
WIN IT! There will be three winners. The first winner will receive four passes to the Imagine Children's Museum. A second winner will receive four tickets to the Pacific Science Center. A third winner will receive a Family Fun Pack to the Woodland Park Zoo. To enter, leave a comment stating which destination you would like to visit most and why on this post prior to Wednesday, October 14th at 11:59 p.m. (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).
*UPDATE* The winner of the tickets to the Pacific Science Center is #32 arlene a. The winner of the Family Fun Pack to the Woodland Park Zoo is #12 Chris. The winner of the passes to the Imagine Children's Museum is #16 April. Congratulations to all!