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Seattle Family Vacation Ideas – Science Things, Orca Whales, and Lively Theatre for Kids.532WASeattleDock This city displays an amazing amount of creative energy and makes vacationing with kids a delight. Beginning with Pike Place Market offering plenty of lively entertainment, spunky restaurants, candy, books, flowers, gifts, and fish, the city makes for a lively urban family adventure. Surrounded by natural beauty it offers unique activities including arts and music as well as science, history and just pure fun. Visit the original Starbucks; cruise the bay; sample sushi; watch saltwater taffy being made; ride a mono rail. We have a list to make planning the fun easier.

Go under the sea. At each turn in the Seattle Aquarium there are terrific hands-on touch tanks and interactive stations designed to delight, amaze and educate. It is an awesome way to share discoveries about the Puget Sound ecosystem. One of the most amazing underwater spots is the underwater dome offering 360-degree views into a 400,000 gallon tank filled with fish of all shapes, sizes and colors. Discovery: Plan to arrive and stay for feeding time because naturalists give short talks during feeding see birds that fly underwater, watch the Octopus having lunch. Stay on for training activities and watch school time for harbor seal, sea otters and fur seals. Bonus points: So cool and rewarding, within the Aquarium the Family Activity Center allows parents to have a whale of a time with their children. The themed area is all about J-pod orca whales and their cousins who live in K and L pods. (Pier 59 at 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle Central Waterfront, below Pike Place Market. (206) 386-4300 or 24-hour recorderd information (206) 386-4320 or

Take a kid and be a kid again. Bright, cheery, and fun Seattle Children's Museum contains eight unique hands-on, body-on, minds-on, permanent exhibits each providing interactive bliss for ages one to 11. In “Mountain Forrest” trek, climb, slide and tent; in the “Neighborhood” drive a bus or go grocery shopping. Imagination Studio provides space and materials for youngsters to create and “Go Figure” helps connect math and books to fun. In “Discovery Bay” created for the youngest tykes showcases the sea and its inhabitants. “Cog City” provided plenty of cause and effect lesson all in fun. Bijou Theatre offers young ones a chance to be center stage complete with lights and costumes. Bonus points: And not-to-be-missed “Cultural Sundays” programming celebrates diversity and world culture every week. This a terrific way to share musical performances, dancing, art, storytelling, and guided descriptions of life in other countries with your children. (Seattle Children's Museum 305 Harrison Street Seattle, WA 98109. (206) 441-1768 or

Take center stage. The Seattle Children's Theatre was recently named one of the US’ most outstanding children theatres by Time magazine. The two state-of-the-art stages host plays written especially for children of varying ages and their families, as well as such favorites as Seussical, Sleeping Beauty and Peter and the Wolf. The theatre season runs from September through June: this year’s season features include The Wizard of Oz, Dot & Ziggy, The Edge of Peace, and Adventures with Spot. Bonus points: The Seattle Children’s Theatre is located in the Seattle Center, which hosts free concerts as well as amusement rides, street performers, shops and restaurants. (Seattle Children's Theatre Seattle Center 201 Thomas St. (206) 441-3322 or

Head for the sky. The Space Needle, which is also located in the Seattle Center, is a 530-foot tall “needle” originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair which offers a fantastic birds’ eye view of Seattle. Visitors ride to the top in a 41-second elevator ride to the observation deck – after checking out the astounding view you can grab a meal at SkyCity, a sky-high restaurant that revolves 360° while you dine. (The Space Needle Seattle Center 400 Broad St., (206) 905- 2100 or

Explore the natural world. The Pacific Science Center is a stable of kid fun in Seattle. From roaring robotic dinosaurs to butterflies emerging from chrysalis, giant robotic insects, a two-ton granite ball they can spin with their own hands and predicting weather, the Pacific Science Center is a great place to explore the natural world. Discovery: The newest exhibit, “Grossology: The (Impolite) Functions of the Human Body” is all about “unmentionables”– the sounds, gases, fluids and functions of the human body. Visitors will squirm, laugh, be embarrassed, and leave with a better understanding of just how all of our bodies work. Bonus points: The exciting Family Science Workshop series pairs up parents and students with a variety of fun options through the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue. (Pacific Science Center Seattle Center 2000 Second Avenue North. 1(206) 443.2001 or

Strike gold with your kids. The Klondike Gold Rush Museum is a free national historic museum that celebrates the gold rush and Seattle's early years. Located in the Pioneer Square Historic District, the museum commemorates the origin for many of the stampeders who left from Seattle to seek their fortune in the Klondike region. By re-telling the stories of the 1897-1898 gold stampedes, the park offers a glimpse at the many stories of adventure and hardship of the gold rush. (Klondike Gold Rush Museum 319 Second Avenue South. 1(206) 220-4240 or

Get out on the water. Departing from Pier 52, the Washington State Ferries cruise 10 routes through the area’s misty waters and archipelagoes. Passengers are encouraged to watch for orcas and sea lions as well as harbor seals and shorebirds. More extensive tours of Seattle’s harbor and extended tours of Puget Sound and the Ballard Locks are available through Argosy Cruises, a family-owned and Seattle-operated company located on Pier 56 and 57, while Ride-the-Ducks offers a 90-minute land and water sightseeing tour abroad amphibious vehicles once used during World War II to storm beaches. (Argosy Cruises (206) 623-1445 or Discovery: Be sure to check out Ivar’s Acres of Clams, located right on the water at Pier 54, which serves up great-tasting seafood in a casual, family-friendly restaurant (206) 624-6852).

Go wild in the woods.532WASeattleZoo The Woodland Park Zoo spans 92 acres, and is home to more than 1,090 individual animals representing nearly 300 species. Divided into bioclimatic zones, the zoo exhibits range from the tropical rain forests of the equator to the frigid arctic climes of the Far North. Meet the elephant keepers; watch zoo staff as they feed fish to the endangered Humboldt penguins; meet resident raptors or watch an anaconda in the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit. The nature-centered, interactive facility is divided into nature-themed zones and encourages active play and learning. A day in the 5,500-square-foot Zoomazium play space might include ascending a mountain, crawling through a nurse log, climbing a towering strangler fig tree or squirming through a dark cave. Not to be missed: The popular walk-through bird feeding experience transports visitors to the world of the Australian parrot – and the Australian grasslands habitat, while Willawong Station is a fun opportunity for the whole family to get up close and feed birds in a controlled, safe environment. Bonus points: The Woodland Park Zoo offers a wonderful overnight zoo experience. The theme is the ZSI: Zoo Scene Investigation - Mystery of the Missing Penguin – participants will come up-close and personal with an interesting zoo resident, follow a trail of evidence around the zoo and determine whodunit. (Woodland Park Zoo N. 50th St. & Freemont Ave. N. of 55th St. & Phinney Ave N. (206) 684-4800 or

Content  and images by the Family Travel Copyright updated 2016.

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