Looking for something different to do this summer? Go on a guided tour. The kids will get a glimpse of the inner workings of local businesses and see some pretty cool things -- and you'll enjoy letting someone else do all the talking for a change. Our region offers an array of tour options, from the rigorously educational to the just-for-fun. Here are some possibilities:
1. The Seattle Kids Tour. This two-hour downtown walking tour is aimed at kids, enjoyable for adults, and fun for both locals and tourists alike. Tours visit some well known spots like the Gum Wall in Pike Place Market, plus peek behind the scenes at some Market shops. Even long-time Seattleites are sure to learn something new. Itineraries vary, but stops may include the Central Library, Seattle Art Museum or the bus tunnel. Tours operate Saturday and Sunday and cost $13-$15. Visit seattlebyfoot.com for more details, plus information on other walking tours. Read ParentMap's review, as well.
2. Boehm's Candies, Issaquah
Watch candies being made and sample the results on a guided tour of this Issaquah factory. Tours run June 1 through September; kids 4 and under are free. Tours last about 40 minutes. Request a tour date and time online by calling 425-392-6652 or visit boehmscandies.com. If you can’t make the tour times, or your crew can’t walk for 40 minutes with stairs and gravel paths, opt for the free, self-guided window tour. Just stop by the retail store, open every day. Best times to view candy-making are weekdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and yes, you still get a sample.
3. Boeing, Everett
Enter the enormous Everett plant and marvel at the spectacle of airplanes in mid-assembly on the only tour of its kind in North America. Kids must be at least four feet tall, carried babies aren't allowed, and reservations are a must during the summer months for the daily tours. Also, plan to pay for a locker at the start as personal items — including purses, phones, cameras, and backpacks — are not allowed on the tour. Call 1-800-464-1476 or visit futureofflight.org.
4. Sunday Ice Cream Cruise, Seattle
The MV Fremont Avenue is piloted around Lake Union, pointing out local color along the way, while guests enjoy ice cream and other treats for purchase in a kid- (and dog-) friendly atmosphere. Tours depart every Sunday year-round from South Lake Union Park; combine with a trip to MOHAI and the Center for Wooden Boats. Just walk on with your cash or check. Visit seattleferryservice.com for schedule and directions.
5. Pioneer Farm Museum and Ohop Indian Village, Eatonville
Kids can try their hand at chores pioneer children did — milking, churning butter, scrubbing laundry — and visit an 1880s homestead cabin on the 90-minute tour of Pioneer Farm in Eatonville. While there, also visit the seasonal Ohop Indian Village for a glimpse into the activities of village residents, like shooting with a bow and arrow. The farm offers daily tours at multiple times between Father's Day and Labor Day; the Indian village is open only Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the same time period. Visit pioneerfarmmuseum.org or call 360-832-6300 for tour times, prices and directions.
6. Outback Christmas Tree and Kangaroo Farm, Arlington
A summer tour of this farm yields plenty of chances to get very close to kangaroos and wallabies (including the chance to see joeys in their mothers' pouches), plus a host of other exotic animals. The Arlington farm offers its 40-minute tours between March and October. Reservations aren't required, but recommended. For more information visit outbackkangaroofarm.com or call 360-403-7474.
7. Capitol tours, Olympia
Visit the state Legislative Building (the white-domed structure that houses the Legislature and the offices of the governor) for a free guided tour of the workings of our state government. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the grounds afterward. Go to www.ga.wa.gov/visitor/tour.htm for information about the building and grounds, including other places to visit on the Capitol campus.
Find more ideas for tours, including Ride the Ducks, Emerald City Tours and more.
Kris Collingridge is ParentMap's former Out + About editor. This article was originally published in 2007, and updated in August 2012 by Nancy Chaney.