Let's face it, sometimes when the family goes on vacation the kids are bored silly spending time visiting with people they don't know or wandering through museums or sights. Fortunately, the Seattle region offers a lot of attractions that children will find fun and memorable, and that will allow them to be active and to burn off some energy. And that teenagers and parents will enjoy too.
Here are our top picks for Seattle/Tacoma attractions that will appeal to children and their family.
Located within Seattle Center, the Pacific Science Center is the place to learn about science and nature in a fun interactive way. Permanent exhibits touch on such subjects as dinosaurs, butterflies, the Puget Sound, the human body, and gravity. Special exhibits are featured throughout the year, covering everything from science fiction to archaeology. Families visiting the Pacific Science Center can also enjoy the planetarium, Imax theatre, cafe, and gift shop.
Kids and their family will find lots of fun and funny sea creatures and marine mammals at the Seattle Aquarium. The aquarium's tide pool touch tanks are a favorite with youngsters. They'll get the chance to touch bright-colored sea stars and prickly anemones. Otters, seals, octopi, and jellies are among the other exhibits that are both amusing and interesting.
This Tacoma waterfront park is home to a number of attractions and activities that children adore. Foremost is the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, where you can view critters from the Northwest and around the world. The Fort Nisqually Living History Museum brings the history of the fur trade era alive through re-enactors and old fort buildings. There are lots of places to run and play, from expansive lawns to beaches to hiking and biking trails.
This former Seattle gas plant has been transformed into one of the city's iconic play and gathering spaces. Located on the north end of Lake Union, the park enjoys stunning views of downtown Seattle as well as such water activities as sailing boats and sea planes landing and taking off. The park's grassy lawn is great for picnicking, kite flying, playing catch, and generally romping around. What remains of a portion of the old gas works is now a brightly-colored play barn for kids.
Located in the lower level of the Center House at Seattle Center, The Children's Museum of Seattle allows kids to get their hands on all kinds of fun stuff. They can create art in paint or clay, move things with pulleys and cogs, or try out the fashion of another nation. They can experience a forest hike, a motorcycle sidecar taxi, or working at a grocery store. Daily programs can include storytelling, sensory exploration, and treasure hunts.
Wild Waves Theme Park has exhilarating water attractions along with rides that range from tame to thrilling. Children will enjoy riding little trains, boats, planes, and kiddie coasters with the parents looking on, or the whole family can laugh together on such rides as the Ferris Wheel or Lumberjack Falls. In addition to all the thrilling rides and water attractions, Wild Waves hosts special holiday-themed events throughout the year, including Fright Fest at Halloween and Christmas-time light shows.
Everett's Imagine Children's Museum provides lots of stimulating and fun hands-on activities for little ones. Children can play and interact with a number of "adult" spaces such as a bank, a farm, or an airport. They can climb about on a rock wall or in a tree house. They can create block structures in the "Construction Studio" or seasonally-themed items in the "Art Studio." The Imagine Children's Museum also provides rental space for parties, days camps, and educational programs.