Seattle: 5 Best with Kids Under 5

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seattle best with kids under 5Visiting Seattle with a baby, toddler, or little kids? This guest post’s got you covered with great recommendations of the best things to do in Seattle with a baby-through-preschool-age child, written by Seattle local and mom of two young boys, Keryn Means. Keryn is a freelance writer who blogs all about her family’s adventures at home and abroad at Walking On Travels. For more details about Keryn’s Seattle recommendations, follow the links provided in this post.

Living in Seattle for over eight years, five of which have been with our kids, has made me a bit of a baby activities fanatic. I like to get my boys outside as much as possible, even when the drizzle is coming down. When the rain and cold get to be too much we have a few favorite spots we head to that are indoors, but still give us plenty to do and fun to have.

1. Kubota Garden

Seattle's Kubota Gardens. Photo credit: Keryn Means
Seattle’s Kubota Garden. Photo credit: Keryn Means

Seattle is filled with green spaces, but none is as beautiful as Kubota Garden. Part of the beauty is that it is free. It is also on the south side of the city and isn’t as crowded as the more popular Japanese Garden in the Washington Arboretum.

Although the Japanese Garden is worth a look, Kubota Garden, a public park that is designed like a Japanese garden, is a more relaxed space for parents and children to explore. There are several paths to wander, bridges to climb and rocks to jump off of. There is no staff monitoring that you stay on the path and don’t disrupt the peace.

Of course the park staff hopes you will respect the work they have done, but no one will come yelling if you kick a pebble out of place. Picnics are welcome in the park, and a great idea if you want to let your children play and explore for a bit.


2. Seattle Aquarium

Clownfish at Seattle Aquarium. Photo credit: Keryn Means
Clownfish at Seattle Aquarium. Photo credit: Keryn Means

Although Seattle has a fabulous zoo, the Seattle Aquarium is better for babies, but active enough for toddlers to enjoy. The touch pools are a delight to watch as handlers show children how they feed starfish and sea urchins.

The larger tanks are an easy spot for babies to see the brightly colored fish swimming around, while a sleeping lion at the Woodland Park Zoo may be hard to see catch. The aquarium is located downtown on the waterfront, and is an easy morning excursion to enjoy before naptimes, or a stop on your tour of the major sights around the city.



3. Pacific Science Center

Butterflies abound in Seattle's Pacific Science Center. Photo credit: Keryn Means
Butterflies abound in Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. Photo credit: Keryn Means

I’m sure you’ve heard that Seattle gets its fair share of rain. Many residents don’t let a little rain stop them, but some of us do like to stay dry and warm in the winter months. The Pacific Science Center is the best place to let the kids explore, and parents will even have fun.

There is a dedicated toddler area with a height limit to make sure none of the older kids push the younger kids out of the way to play. Older children can explore just outside of the toddler area in the special exhibits, plan an expedition in the land of dinosaurs, fly off into space, and even say hello to a few live snakes.

The Butterfly House is a favorite winter escape to warm up and remember that beauty is all around us, even on a dull gray day. The museum is located in Seattle Center along with the Space Needle, Children’s Museum, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and EMP (Experience Music Project). Although Seattle Center has something for everyone, Pacific Science Center is your one stop that really will entertain families with children of all ages.


4. Discovery Park

The Lighthouse at Discovery Park, Seattle. Photo credit: Keryn Means
The Lighthouse at Discovery Park, Seattle. Photo credit: Keryn Means

Park your car and start hiking the trails in Discovery Park and you will soon forget that you are even in the city. Seattle’s largest park features meadows, old buildings left over from when the park was a fort, pebble beaches, a light house, and a forest hike that will wear out little legs for nap time.

Pack a lunch and bring a blanket to lay out on the beach or in the meadow. The bluff views are worth the trip alone. And an easy stroll from one of the parking lots if you aren’t up for loads of walking. There is an Environmental Learning Center open Tuesday through Sunday in the park with a playground behind it and restrooms.


5. Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls is an ideal day trip for those visiting Seattle with a baby, toddler, or little kids. Photo credit: Keryn Means
Snoqualmie Falls is an ideal day trip for those visiting Seattle with a baby, toddler, or little kids. Photo credit: Keryn Means

One of the best, and easiest day trips you can take from Seattle is out to Snoqualmie Falls. Enjoy a steep, but well maintained hike down to the river to view the falls from below and reward yourself after the hike back up with brunch at Salish Lodge and Spa (reservations are a must).

If you aren’t up for the hike, you can get a look at the falls from several viewing platforms above. Train-loving toddlers will squeal with glee when you head into the town of Snoqualmie to check out the old trains in the outdoor Northwest Railway Museum, or hop on a scenic ride at the train depot.

Thanks so much for sharing your Seattle insider tips with us, Keryn! You can find more of Keryn’s tips for exploring Seattle with a baby, toddler, or preschooler in tow (and other great destinations!) on her site: Walking On Travels.


More travel planning help:

If you’re planning to visit Seattle with a baby, toddler, or little kids, remember these helpful links:

Directory of Baby Gear Rentals in Seattle and Washington State

Seattle Hotel Babysitters & Vacation Nanny Services


Other 5 Best with Kids Under 5 features you might enjoy:

Amsterdam: 5 Best with Kids Under 5

Puerto Rico: 5 Best with Kids Under 5

Oahu: 5 Best Beaches for Kids Under 5

travels with baby book cover, for tips on flying solo with a baby

Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks

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