We’ve been to Seattle a few times as a family now and have really enjoyed it. Our most recent adventure was just a few weeks ago while we had one of our nieces visiting and we did the See It All: Seattle Center Summer 4-Pack tickets. This included passes for the Space Needle (including a “fastpass” kind of thing where we got to skip a good chunk of the line), Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, the Pacific Science Center, and a ride to downtown on the Monorail. While our niece was here, we went to everything except for the Science museum and returned later in the week to visit it.
We parked in a parking garage near the Museum of Pop Culture (another museum I wouldn’t mind visiting when we get a chance) and it was an easy walk to the Seattle Center. As soon as we got close, we saw an amazing playground that the girls were super excited to check out called Artists at Play. It had a fun maze drawn on the blacktop, a climbing structure, a carousel, swings, and also fun little play areas that made music. Our girls loved it and happily played there while Aaron got our tickets.
The Space Needle
Our first stop was the Space Needle and it was actually pretty cool. I was worried it was going to be a bit overrated, but it really wasn’t. Because of the tickets we purchased, we got to get ahead of the line a little and that really cut down on our wait time. On our elevator ride up, London asked the employee in there if the Eiffel Tower was taller or the Space Needle? I totally thought that the Space Needle would be taller (since it was built much later than the Eiffel Tower) and London was positive that the Eiffel Tower was taller. It turns out that she was right though! The Eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet tall while the Space Needle is only 605 feet tall.
The Space Needle was built in 1962. It recently (very recently) had some renovations done that changed the observation deck to having floor to ceiling glass put in. I never saw what it previously looked like, but it was really nice when we went and the views were gorgeous! Afterwards, we checked out the gift shop and read a few fun books, like Larry Gets Lost in Seattle and Wheedle on the Needle (both are affiliate links).
Just a short walk from the Space Needle was the Armory, a food court of sorts where we had many delicious looking options to choose from. We decided to get BBQ from Bigfood BBQ and our niece got a burger from Quincy’s. Good food and plenty of options for families.
Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
After lunch, we headed over to the Glass Museum, also near the Space Needle. I was a little nervous about taking our girls to a museum full of glass, but it ended up being really neat and they both did a great job around the exhibits (and luckily most exhibits were out of reach anyway).
A couple of my favorites- I loved the Glass Room exhibit where all the glass was up in the ceiling. I also loved when we walked into the big glass house at the end with the hanging glass sculpture. The gardens were also beautiful and full of colorful glass sculptures.
After enjoying the museum, we hopped on the monorail and headed down to the market on Pike Place. It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat and look around. The first Starbucks is located there, but the line is super long so we personally have always skipped it. Beecher’s Cheese also has their flagship store and restaurant down there that is worth going in (try their mac and cheese!). In the past we’ve also tried Le Panier (we didn’t care much for their baguette) and Piroshky Piroshky (I liked their Smoked Salmon Pate).
The Fish Market is also fun to see (although always pretty busy) and if you wander downstairs, you’ll find the Gum Wall.
Pacific Science Center
We ran out of time to go to science museum our first day up in Seattle, but luckily the passes we got were good for 14 days so we headed up to Seattle again on Independence Day and checked out the Pacific Science Center that morning.
We really enjoyed our morning at the museum! We started in the Dinosaur area, which made our girls a little nervous at first but a very kind employee came up and showed the girls how the dinosaurs work and how they aren’t real.
We also checked out a 15 minute preschool show in the planetarium, which was really cool and perfect for our girls.
Then, we headed to the Tropical Butterfly House where we saw tons of beautiful butterflies. I think we got lucky, but for a while we were the only ones in there. They also had little laminated guides that you could refer to for the names of the butterflies and plants. Our girls loved matching the butterflies that they saw to the ones on the guides.
The entire museum was very well done and I wish we lived closer to it so we could go back more often! We explored outer space, played “Wizard’s Chess” with the giant chess pieces, saw naked mole rats, explored how sound waves work, and so much more!
We ended up grabbing lunch there as well and that was probably the only disappointing part of our trip. The food consisted of premade sandwiches and salads or warm items sitting under a heat lamp so they weren’t the most appetizing.
After lunch, we checked out their What is Reality? exhibit where we took turns playing with virtual reality goggles.
We also found a discovery area/play area for younger kids that we also enjoyed. It had a water table along with some fun, hands on exhibits. It was definitely hard to drag the girls away at the end. There was plenty more we could have enjoyed if we stayed longer!
What are some of your favorite kid-friendly activities in Seattle?
**Also, if you loved following our adventures in France and the rest of Europe, we are now offering digital downloads and prints of a few of our favorite places. You can check them out here.
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