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7 Great Children's Museums for Northwest Families

Guide to kids' museums to visit around Seattle, the Eastside and South Sound

Author Elisa Murray
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Published on: March 12, 2019

7 Great Children's Museums for Northwest Families

Kidsquest-water-play-area-best-childrens-museums-seattle-area-puget-sound-area
Photo:
Water play area at KidsQuest Children's Museum. Courtesy KidsQuest

KidsQuest Children’s Museum: STEM-tastic fun

Why go: In 2017, KidsQuest Children's Museum re-opened in its gleaming new building in the heart of downtown Bellevue. It features huge windows, beautifully (and spaciously) designed exhibits and an adventurous, two-story ropes-and-ladders climber in the opening gallery. Kids of all ages will love cranking boxes up and down conveyor belts and launching paper airplanes in the On the Go Gallery; building with real tools next door in the Recycled/Rebuild room; running the cash register at the Bellevue Mercantile; doing physics experiments on water in the Water Lab; and much more.

Other highlights include lots of seating for grown-ups, an outdoor area with lots of “loose parts” for kids to build with; and fun sideline exhibits such as long Matchbox car ramps behind the Paccar semi (in the On the Go gallery). The Tot Orchard on the second floor has a small climber, blocks and other toys and a quiet area for nursing. Bottom line: It’s totally worth a drive from points beyond the Eastside, and has lots of attractions and activities for big and little kids.

Fees and discounts: Admission is $11.50–$12.50. Membership starts at $95 for one child and adult. You can also reserve museum passes through KCLS’ museum pass program, but they do go quickly.

Good to know: The dedicated museum parking lot is small, and the museum is popular, so try to target your visit during a less crowded time, such as a weekday morning, or Friday evening, when the museum is open until 8 p.m. KidsQuest now offers validation for two nearby parking lots, reducing the parking cost to $5 for 3 hours. At two stories, with clearly defined exhibit spaces, it can be tough to keep track of more than one child.

Nearby fun: Bellevue downtown library is next door (but don’t park there!) and a fun park, Ashwood Playfield, is across the street. Small and friendly Bellevue Arts Museum is a quick hop away, as is Bellevue Downtown Park and its fantastic, inclusive playground.

More info: Visit KidsQuest's website for hours, special events and more details; find the museum at 1116 108th Ave. N.E. in Bellevue.

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