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10 Best Things to Do With Kids at Seattle’s Discovery Park

Play, dig in the sand, watch for orcas and more at Seattle’s best park

Nancy Chaney

Published on: May 12, 2023

10 Best Things to Do With Kids at Seattle’s Discovery Park

Looking north from Discovery Park's Daybreak Star Center. Credit: Nancy Chaney

Daybreak Star Center and Discovery Park history

Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center is an important community center for Seattle-area Native Americans. It also serves as the headquarters of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. The center, which houses a native art collection, is currently open daily, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Daybreak Star Center. Credit: Nancy Chaney

The center came into existence in 1970 when a group of Native activists staged a peaceful occupation of some of the land that previously comprised Fort Lawton. The federal government had closed Fort Lawton and deemed the land to be surplus.

The center’s building, completed in 1977, showcases modern architecture of the time and includes Native American design elements.

Daybreak Star also hosts important community events. The Seafair Indian Days Powwow is a must-see event showcasing the dances and regalia of many area tribes. This year’s powwow takes place July 21–23. Entry to watch the powwow is pay-what-you-can and funds go to support the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation.

Don’t miss a visit to the duck pond nearby.

A little Discovery Park history

While this park is a gem in the Seattle Parks system, in part because it includes a community center for the descendants of the first people to live along this coast, Discovery Park also holds important lessons from its past. These lessons are worth exploring, especially for families with school-age kids.

Fort Lawton was home to a unit of African American soldiers known as the Buffalo Soldiers. In 1909, some 900 African American soldiers and their families lived at the fort and accounted for about one-third of Seattle’s Black population.

During World War II, Fort Lawton housed German and Italian prisoners of war. In 1944, an Italian prisoner of war was killed, and 28 African American soldiers were wrongly convicted of his murder. It took until 2007 for their convictions and dishonorable discharges to be overturned.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2020 and updated most recently for 2023.

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