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Go Out and Play: Kid-Friendly Activities in Seattle

We’re highlighting the best kid-friendly activities that Seattle has to offer — complete with art classes, animal encounters, and outdoor fun.

A child touches a glass tank at the Woodland Park Zoo as a Humboldt Penguin swims up.

The Woodland Park Zoo’s penguins are always a hit.

Photo via the Woodland Park Zoo

Table of Contents

We’re not kiddin’ around. From major attractions like the Woodland Park Zoo to hidden gems like Issaquah’s Swamp Trail, there’s something in the area for children of all ages. You’ll have no trouble entertaining the youngsters with this list of 32 kid-friendly activities around Seattle.

All about the arts

Arts Aloft, 3302 E. Spring St., Central District
Future Rembrandts ages 6-12 can take a variety of classes + workshops at this inviting studio run by watercolorist Betsy Erving. Kids will remember getting to work with fun materials like plaster and charcoal.

FayezArt Pottery Studio, 1806 NW 70th St., Ballard
After-school instruction for toddlers up to to teens lets kids mold their own creations. Kids will remember getting their hands dirty and taking a real-life pottery wheel for a spin.

Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT), 201 Thomas St., Queen Anne
For more than 50 years, SCT has been delighting younger audiences with their lively productions of newer works with a dedication to theater education. Kids will remember the playful outfits + sets.

Sunshine Music Together, 211 First Ave. W., Queen Anne | Family memberships available
Does your kid want to toot their own horn? This award-winning early childhood program provides mixed-age classes in a tunefully supportive environment. Kids will remember the group sing-a-longs + rhythm chants.

Animal encounters

Kelsey Creek Farm Park, 410 130th Pl. SE, Bellevue
Kids can check out rabbits, pigs, sheep, and more furry friends in action at this year-round farm that offers tours and hands-on programs. Kids will remember the pony rides that accompany barn chores.

Cougar Mountain Zoo, 19525 SE 54th St., Issaquah | Family memberships available
Ooh and ahh at animals like mountain lions, Siberian reindeer, swamp wallabiess, and more at this zoo managed by the Zoological Society of Washington. Or treat the kids to the zoo’s close encounters program that allows them to learn even more about featured animals.

Sammamish Animal Sanctuary, 16515 SE May Valley Rd., Renton
This nonprofit provides forever homes for animals that were neglected, abused, or homeless — give ‘em some love during goat yoga or let the kids romp around during its annual summer camp.

Seattle Aquarium | 1483 Alaskan Way, Downtown Waterfront | Family memberships available
Take a deep dive into Seattle’s celebrated marine habitats featuring the likes of harbor seals, eels, and giant octopi. Kids will remember feeding the sea otters, who always seem chill.

Seattle Meowtropolitan | 1225 N. 45th St., Wallingford | Family memberships available
The fur really flies at this cafe for feline lovers, where you can hang out with kitties up for adoption — and maybe bring one home. Kids will remember the playful kitties climbing through elaborate towers.

Woodland Park Zoo | 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Phinney Ridge | Family memberships available
Seattle’s major wildlife destination prides itself on sustainable practices and conservation, as well as engaging annual events. Kids will remember the Humboldt Penguins and exploring the Living Northwest Trail.

A child at a trailhead in Issaquah, WA looks at a sign that says, "Zoe and the Swamp Monster: A Self Guided Adventure"

The Swamp Trail at Tiger Mountain in Issaquah is a storybook and hike in one.

Great outdoors

Carkeek Park, 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd., Broadview
The North Seattle nature area has lots of short trails and a playground to explore, plus a significant bird population for curious kiddos. Kids will remember hunting for fruit at Pipers, Seattle’s oldest orchard.

Gas Works Park, 2101 N. Northlake Way, Northlake
Kids and adults alike get a kick out of the eye-popping scenery at this popular park with a hill that’s perfect for flying kites. Kids will remember the barn with old equipment from an old gas plant repainted in bright colors.

Swamp Trail, 26415 SE 79th S., Issaquah
Have you heard the one about “Zoe and the Swamp Monster?” This fun, easy hike at Tiger Mountain has the full tall tale with special signs and brochures for an immersive experience. Kids will remember looking for all the wetland critters on Zoe’s journey.

Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Dr. E.
Let the young ones spread their wings in UW’s 230 acres of plant life, which includes seven different garden areas. Kids will remember the self-guided seasonal adventures, including a fall scavenger hunt.

Foodie families

Bebop Waffle Shop, 2600 California Ave. SW, North Admiral/West Seattle
Any spot that has a dish called Rainbow Madness with sprinkles and whipped cream should be a hit with the little ones — you might want a bite, too. Kids will remember the bright decor + cool sticker merch.

BrightSpot Cafe, 2809 Mount Rainier Dr. S., Mt. Baker
The kiddos will love everything in this unicorn-themed cafe from the bright + playful decorations, the giftshop with knick-knacks aplenty, and a menu with rotating soft-serve ice cream flavors, hot cocoa, and lots of sandwiches.

Proletariat Pizza, 9622-A 16th Ave. SW, White Center
Everyone knows that pizza is a fan favorite for the young ones — plus, you can unleash them upon the restaurant’s selection of video games while you sit at a table close by.

Seattle Chocolate, 1180 Andover Park W., South Center
It probably won’t be hard to convince your tykes to trek down here for a chocolate factory tour, despite the lack of Oompa Loompas. Kids will remember the sweet treats that accompany each tour.

Watson’s Counter, 6420 24th Ave. NW, Ballard
On the hunt for brunch? You’ll enjoy the eggs benny with pork belly, and the young’uns will enjoy the cereal french toast (made with either fruity pebbles or frosted flakes).

Shug’s Soda Fountain, 1525 First Ave., Downtown Waterfront
Pike Place Market’s retro ice cream shop offers sugary delights of all kinds (including boozy options for adults), but the sundaes are the decadent showstoppers. Kids will remember the fab toppings, particularly marshmallows made in-house.

Stevie’s Famous, 822 SW 152nd St., Burien
Tasty pizza + ice cream + arcade games = happy kiddos. The old school booths add a nice touch, too. Kids will remember seeing all the pizza-making action in the open kitchen.

Kherson Park in Kent with a replica Mars rover, astronaut, and play version of a lunar landing module.

Kent’s Kherson Park is a perfect play area for aspiring cosmonauts.

Photo via the City of Kent

Educational activities

Kherson Park, 307 W. Gowe St., Kent
Visits to this space-themed playground are an absolute blast with replicas of a lunar rover, a life-sized astronaut sculpture, and a mission control station to tinker with. Kids will remember getting to use augmented reality at the park through the app Space for Kidz.

Wing Luke Museum, 719 S. King St., Chinatown-ID | Family memberships available
The museum offers a free, virtual story theater that complements many of the in-person exhibits. Kids will remember the wonderful art around the museum and a permanent Bruce Lee showcase.

Seattle Children’s Museum, 305 Harrison St., Queen Anne | Family memberships available
Founded in 1980, the inviting museum at Seattle Center offers a mix of educational workshops and cool play areas (including a replica fire station). It’s also conveniently located near lots of food options + bathrooms. Kids will remember the tiny theater where they can put on their own plays.

Pacific Science Center, 200 Second Ave. N., Queen Anne | Family memberships available
From the dinosaur exhibit to the tropical butterfly house to the Tinker Tank Makerspace, you can easily spend a whole day STEM-ing it up here. Kids will remember the Laser Dome, which includes a special Taylor Swift show.

Several colorful pinball machines are lined up next to each other on a wall. The each have a plaque sitting on top of them that give information about the year the games were made, any interesting pieces of related history, and a fun rating.

The Seattle Pinball Museum’s playable exhibits also give the historical background of each console and an official “fun rating.”

Photo by SEAtoday Staff

Indoor activities

Seattle Pinball Museum, 508 Maynard Ave. S., Chinatown-ID
Play an unlimited amount of games on 50+ machines that date back from the 1950s to current times.

GameWorks, 1511 Seventh Ave., Downtown
Let the kids go crazy on classic arcade games like Dance, Dance Revolution and Space Invaders, or expand their gaming horizons with hard-to-find international titles. Plus, there’s a full bar for adults.

Seattle Bouldering Project, Judkins Park + Fremont locations
Letting the little ones scale some walls seems like a good way to let them burn through some energy. Kids can also join in on youth climbing teams, camps, and after-school programs.

Sensory-friendly

Inspiration Playground, 100 100th Ave. NE, Bellevue
The massive area in Bellevue’s Downtown Park is open year-round and has features for all abilities that engage sight, sound, sense, and touch. Kids will remember the Dr. Seuss-like Wisdom Tree sculpture that glows at night.

Pump It Up, 18027 Highway 99, Lynwood
The second Tuesday of the month is Sensory Jump Night at this inflatable party palace, reserved for children on the autism spectrum. Kids will remember bounce houses as far as the eye can see.

MoPOP, 325 Fifth Ave. N., Queen Anne/Uptown
Seattle’s pop culture museum offers sensory-friendly programs, including a map that shows the stimulation level of each exhibit. Kids will remember the interactive studio where they can jam with different instruments.

Museum of Flight, 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Tukwila | Family memberships available
On certain Sensory Days, families can gaze at the full-scale planes on display from different eras and a large aviation-oriented play area with lowered light + sound levels before the museum opens. Kids will remember the 3D movie theater and flight simulation rides.

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