Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s June 2017 issue. Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here!
article by Aimee Andren
photos by Stephanie Toews
Seattle, Washington, otherwise known as the Emerald City (Called the Queen City until 1981, when a contest declared the city’s new nickname to be the Emerald City) has emerged from a history as diverse and intriguing as the city itself. Although evidence suggests there were tribes of people living there as far back as four thousand years ago, the last one hundred years have been key in developing Seattle into the cultural and entrepreneurial city it has become. The late 1800s brought a variety of people to the area to take advantage of the abundance of timber and location for fishing and shipbuilding. Prosperity only grew along with the gold rush as Seattle’s location made it the key stop for those headed to Alaska in search of their fortune. From there, various entrepreneurs started up a wide range of businesses from clothing stores like Eddie Bauer, to Vaudeville and theatre, to what is currently UPS, and Boeing. Which brings us to modern day Seattle.
If you fly into Seattle from Billings (I would suggest www.Alaskair.com for reasonable and non-stop flights daily) you may very well have the good fortune of viewing Mount Rainier, the famous Mount St. Helens, Olympus, and other various peaks poking up through the clouds. If it’s a clear day you will understand why the nickname “Emerald City” won the contest.
Upon arrival, you will be faced with the tough decision of where to begin your adventure. I would suggest starting with the attractions for which Seattle is most famous. Pike Place Market is must-see located between Elliot Bay and the business district. Pike Place Market dates back to 1907 and is one of the oldest continuously operating farmer’s markets in the United States. It features several levels of crafts, food, antiques, and other various venders with its centerpiece being the fishmongers. The kids will get a kick out of watching the tossing of the fish (you will too, actually). Speaking of things kids will get a kick out of, be sure to look out for the gum-wall as you wander around the market. With thousands of pieces of gum stuck to it, you will probably not want to get too close but it is worth finding. For details check out: www.pikeplacemarket.org.
The Space Needle is another must-see. Not far from Pike Place Market you can take a trip straight up to over 500 feet giving you an unparalleled 365-degree view of the surrounding area. The top also boasts a full service restaurant which offers reservations if you’d like. For more information on all things associated with the Space Needle go to: www.spaceneedle.com.
If the weather permits (summertime is perfect) a ferry ride to other islands is a great way to spend a day. Most ferries allow you to either walk-on or drive and from Seattle you can float to Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, or even Victoria Canada (don’t forget your passport) but there are other beautiful areas to check out from nearby ports such as the San Juan Islands just north of Seattle. For information on schedules, prices, and ports use: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/.
Top 10 Family-Friendly Activities in Seattle
With so many family-friendly activities to occupy your time in and around Seattle, we’ve done our best to narrow it down to the top 10.
Pacific Science Center
Along with world-class exhibits at the Pacific Science Center, there are two IMAX theaters, a planetarium, and a laser dome. Next door to the Space Needle. www.pacificsciencecenter.org
Olympic Sculpture Park
This eight and a half acre designated green space in downtown Seattle is worth the visit. Free of charge, it consists of both permanent and traveling exhibits.
Woodland Park Zoo and Rose Garden
Located just north of downtown, the Woodland Park Zoo and Rose Garden are a day well spent. For maps, events, location, and exhibits go to: www.zoo.org.
Located at Pier 66, within walking distance of the Pike Place Market and next to Waterfront Park, lies the Seattle Aquarium. There is plenty for the young ones to do, see, touch, and learn about. www.seattleaquarium.org.
Seattle’s Great Wheel
A trip to Seattle is not complete without a ride around this 175’ wheel on Elliot Bay. Located near Pier 57 you can’t miss it as you enjoy the view of the bay from one of the fine shops and restaurants at Pike Place Market.
Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour (Now called the Institute of Flight)
If you have any interest in the history, future, current state of airplanes, flying, and all things related, this is your place. It is family-friendly, hands-on, and educational. futureofflight.org.
Tillicum Village on Blake Island
A short ferry ride across Puget Sound to Tillicum Village offers cultural history and insight into the regional tribes. For more information on how to get there and what to expect visit: www.Viator.com and type Tillicum Excursion in the search bar.
Museum of History and Industry
Located near downtown Seattle, the Museum of History and Industry is one of a kind. Designed for all ages and offering up plenty of opportunity to learn and be entertained. Their website, www.mohai.org can answer all of your questions about cost, location, exhibits, hours, etc.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Right next to the Space Needle in the Seattle Center don’t pass by this incredible oasis. Named after Dave Chihuly, who is arguably one of the most famous and accomplished artists in the world, Chihuly Garden and Glass is a beautiful, unique glass botanical site. www.chihulygardenandglass.com
Of course we are all familiar with the Seahawks and the Mariners but there is much more to Seattle sports than just the two of them. Pick your sport and they probably have it. For tickets try: www.stubhub.com or the team of your choice’s website.