Favorite Northwest getaway
Where do families go when they want to get away from it all? ParentMap readers chose the San Juan Islands as their favorite Northwest destination (see San Juan sculpture park), with Vancouver, B.C., and the Oregon Coast following close behind. Also mentioned frequently: Whistler, B.C., Ocean Shores and Whidbey Island.
Favorite cheap or free entertainment for kids
When it comes to cheap or free entertainment, ParentMap readers were clear: Parks were the number-one choice for low-cost entertainment, followed by the Woodland Park Zoo. Also mentioned: public libraries, the Seattle Center and the beach.
Favorite bike ride with kids
Winding from Gas Works Park in Seattle to Marymoor Park in Redmond, the 27-mile Burke-Gilman/Sammamish River trail
is paved and relatively flat -- and that makes it an ideal spot for
family bike rides, according to Favorites Poll voters. Best of all, you
can access the trail at several points in Seattle and King County,
meaning your ride can be as short -- or long -- as the bike-riding
experience and ages of your children dictate. Runners up: Lake Washington Boulevard between Madrona and Seward Parks, Green Lake and Alki.
Favorite place to hang out on a rainy day
Where do families go when it's wet outside? Besides staying home (the
number-one choice of Favorites voters), they visit the Seattle Center, with the Children's Museum in Seattle and Pacific Science Center named as top rainy-day destinations. Runners up: the library (various branches) and the Seattle Aquarium.
Favorite park or playground
With beach access to Puget Sound, forested trails and a heated outdoor
salt-water pool, is it any wonder that Lincoln Park
in West Seattle (8011 Fauntleroy Way S.W.) was the top pick of our
Favorites voters? The park also features two children's play areas, a
paved walking trail along the water and a wading pool. Coming in second
was Green Lake Park (7201 East Green
Lake Dr. N.), with its 2.8-mile paved
running/walking/biking/roller-blading trail around the lake, indoor
pool and outdoor wading pool, children's play area and a small craft
center offering rowing, canoeing, kayaking and sailing classes. Runners
up: St. Edwards State Park in Kenmore and Marymoor Park in Redmond.
Favorite place to do arts and crafts
Many readers say that when it comes to arts and crafts, they prefer
doing them at home. But for those who want to avoid clay on the carpet
or paint on the dining room table, favorites were divided between three
locations: The Little Artist, located in the loft of the Curious Kidstuff toy store in West Seattle (4740 California Ave S.W., 206-935-4185. www.littleartiststudio.com), Paint the Town in Seattle's University Village (4527 University Village Court N.E., Seattle. 206-527-8554, www.ceramics-painting.com) and Creation Station in Lynnwood (19511 64th Ave. W., Lynnwood. 425-775-7959, www.creationstationinc.com). Runners up: The Children's Museum in Seattle (www.thechildrensmuseum.org) and Bellevue's studioK (425-637-8558, www.studiokbellevue.com).
Staff Favorites: Entertainment & Fun
Favorite city space your kids have probably never visited
If you venture to downtown Seattle this summer to play tourist, bypass
the hordes at the Market for a stroll through shaded Pioneer Square.
While you're there, stop at Waterfall Garden
at South Main Street and Second Avenue South. Entering this lush pocket
garden always feels like being let in on a secret. A 22-foot waterfall
drowns out city noise, and the enclosing iron fence, faintly humid air
and abundant trees and shrubs will make you feel like you've been
transported somewhere far more exotic than Seattle. It's a fine place
to relax with the kids if you feel like you've been walking around too
much: Bistro tables and chairs are scattered about for lunch or snacks,
and the roar of the water is enough to soothe the most savage of beasts
Favorite entertainment venue we wish would open near our house
A new movie house/dinner theater in Seattle's Central District neighborhood, Central Cinema,
offers weekend matinees for families and in-theater food service.
Instead of waiting in line for your popcorn (plain or served with curry
powder and butter or Dijon and dill), sit down and have it delivered to
your table, along with noshes of the pizza/sandwiches variety. Kids can
order a turkey frank pig-in-a-blanket and orange fizz. And parents
tired of ruinous ticket prices will be delighted to know that all
movies are five bucks. 1411 21st Ave. For show times and menu, visit www.central-cinema.com.
Favorite place to hang with an all-ages group
Summer break often means having your kids' friends in tow. Where to go
when your entourage includes preschoolers and preteens? Or
grade-schoolers and a couple of teens? We love Saint Edwards State Park
because it offers something for everyone. Even older kids will get a
kick out of the towering play structure, built in 2003: Its fanciful
design includes art at every turn and lots of places to hide, run and
climb. A fenced-in tots' playground lies nearby, just as thoughtfully
designed. Kids who are old enough to go off by themselves can swim at
the on-site pool (www.nwcenter.org/pool/) or take a trail down to undeveloped Lake Washington shoreline. There's a $5 fee to park. 14445 Juanita Drive N.E., Kenmore. www.parks.wa.gov
Favorite place to go when you can't take another minute of sun
OK, that's not supposed to happen when you live in the Pacific
Northwest, but eventually those of us who actually like the rain need a
place to duck out of the glare. The indoor Mountlake Terrace pool
draws visitors from all over with its kid-friendly water amenities such
as water sprays, a "lazy river" with moving current and shallow play
area. Special "Leisure Play" swim times aimed at kids 6 and under
include different water toys and flotation devices. Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion, 5303 228th St. S.W. 425-776-9173, www.ci.mountlake-terrace.wa.us
-- Kris Collingridge