Memorial Day Play List and Other Spring Adventures
Written by Elisa Murray and ParentMap Staff
Memorial Day weekend -- when many sprayparks and outdoor pools open and the festival season officially begins with Northwest Folklife -- is the perfect time to have a new family adventure, from tidepooling to riding a steam train to honoring service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Also see our our calendar for more long-weekend fun!
- It's Northwest Folklife time! Seattle Center's huge, annual Memorial Day festival is free and packed with kid fun. This handy link goes to the festival's family activities, including singalongs, storytelling, a kindie showcase on Monday (sponsored by ParentMap!), an instrument petting zoo, a family band showcase, family dances, buskers galore, and on and on.
Play with water
- Memorial Day weekend is the opening weekend for many Seattle spray parks; check out the one-year-old spraypads at Northacres Park or Jefferson Park in South Seattle.
- Heated outdoor pools are beginning to open. West Seattle's Colman Pool (newly renovated last year) re-opens over the weekend. On Friday evening, head to Magnolia's wonderful outdoor pool for some family fun time.
- Teach your kids to fish (or yourself) and, in the process, a bit about patience, at one of these local fishing spots.
Zoos, dinos and other science-y fun
- Visit some of the dozens of zoo babies (sloth bears, lions, bison, porcupette) before they start growing up, or visit farm animals at these local petting zoos.
- After a visit to the tigers and meerkats at Point Defiance, stop by Fort Nisqually to watch historic woodworking in action, through its summer Crafts of the Past programs.
- See the aquatic dinosaurs exhibit at Gig Harbor's Harbor History Museum, the first museum in the Northwest to show the collection, including a 45-foot fossil cast.
- Catch the Burke Museum's Plastics Unwrapped exhibit in its last weekend.
Get out and active
- Skiing over Memorial Day? Yep, Crystal has weekend skiing, is reporting new snow, and tickets are only $35 ($5 for kids).
- Stay home and reinvent your backyard play space with these 10 nifty ideas.
- Fantasy fans in the house? Check out EMP's new-ish exhibit.
- See one of these compelling family films at the Seattle International Film Festival (Friday-Sunday).
- Visit Tacoma Art Museum's Eric Carle show before it leaves in July. Showcasing 60 years of the beloved artist's work, is truly designed to engage all ages. Make a day of it in Tacoma!
- Watch a production of the musical Narnia in a spot that sounds ideal: the 80-year-old wooded amphitheater at Kitsap Forest Theater.
Honor Memorial Day
- On Monday, celebrate Memorial Day at the Museum of Flight with a stirring concert by the Boeing Employees Concert Band.
- Another Memorial weekend tradition: Throughout the weekend, the Museum of Flight will also be hosting tours and rides of B-17 Bombers.
- Attend a ceremony at Joint Base Fort Lewis-McChord, with an army band and a 21-gun salute (May 27, 11:30-12:30).
- Young kids will enjoy Memorial Day activities at the Children's Museum, including poppy-making and a Memorial Day collage.
Have a quick road trip
- Go on a last-minute weekend trip to Vancouver, B.C. -- where you can eat exotic Asian food, visit China via Richmond, bike around downtown, and see a not-to-miss exhibit of comics genius Art Spiegelman.
- Not quite ready for camping? Try one of these affordable rustic retreats in Washington State.
- Take one of these four fantastic scenic drives in Washington State.
- Connect with native history by visiting the Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve, just 45 minutes north of Seattle, with a replica of a longhouse, canoes, native crafts and a boarding-school exhibit of particular interest to kids.
Elisa Murray is ParentMap's Out + About editor. This article was originally written in April 2012, and updated in May 2013.