Outings + Activities | Family fun | Ages 3–5

The Park Less Traveled: 7 Seattle Parks to Discover

Hidden gems perfect for exploring

Kubota GardenSeattle is blessed with an incredible bounty of city parks, ranging from near wilderness to little pocket parks. But even with such a fantastic selection, it’s easy to fall into a rut and go to the same old places.

I recently embarked on a new-park-a-day adventure with my daughter. Here are seven favorite finds.

1. Kubota Gardens, Rainier Beach (Southeast Seattle)

A labor of love by a Japanese-American family, Kubota Gardens is stunning, vast, fairly wild by Japanese garden standards and free. The park is made up of a series of somewhat separate gardens connected by gravel paths. There is a huge pond, a recreated mountain stream, beautiful meadows, azaleas and rhododendrons everywhere, a stone garden, a more formal Japanese garden, and all types of interesting plants. On the north end of the garden is an amazing tree that houses a cave made up of its branches, a perfect setting for playing elves and fairies, and one of the most magical spots for kids in the park.

Other pros: Kubota is also a great place to do photos of the kids for calendars and cards. Plan to spend a few hours here, and include a picnic if you can.

Challenges: Children will need to exercise restraint in picking flowers and staying on the paths, or have it exercised for them.

Logistics: It’s somewhat tricky to find; follow the directions on their website, not the directions from a smartphone. Here are directions and more information.

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