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Five ways to play this summer

Published on: February 24, 2009

Summertime family livin’ is easy if you know where to go and what to do with the kids, so we’ve assembled your go-to guide to June, July and August.

Throw a blanket down for a fresh-air flick, run through a public sprinkler or paddle a kayak through urban wetlands — there’s so much going on that your biggest challenge will be deciding what you’re going to do first.


Outdoor swimming pools

Magnolia’s Mounger Pool offers a warm, shallow small pool that’s open for tot swim times.

Visit Colman Pool in West Seattle and you’ll splash in heated saltwater — with a front-row view of Puget Sound. Both pools host family activities on Friday nights, and open in May.

Peter Kirk Pool. The pool is located near the library and Peter Kirk playground. Kirkland Avenue at Third Street, Kirkland. 425-587-3335.

Yost Pool. Hike the trails in wooded Yost Park after swimming. 9535 Bowdoin Way, Edmonds. 425-775-2645.

Cottage Lake Pool. 18831 N.E. Woodinville-Duvall Road, Woodinville. 206-296-2999.

Stewart Heights Pool. Float on the lazy river and buy lunch at the on-site Subway. 402 E. 56th St., Tacoma. 253-573-2532.

Titlow Pool. An Olympic-size pool with a 3-foot shallow area. 8355 Sixth Ave., Tacoma. 253-564-4044.

Tanglewilde Pool. The pool, located in Olympia’s Tanglewilde community, is open to the public. 414 Wildcat St. N.E., Olympia. 360-491-3907.

Water parks

It won’t be a cheap day out, but Wild Waves, the region’s only water/amusement park, features a swoopy wooden rollercoaster and the fast-paced Zooma Falls rapids ride. 6201 South Enchanted Parkway, Federal Way. 253-661-8000.

A 26-foot-high water slide and bargain admission prices (in 2008, $7 for an adult resident) are big draws at the Henry Moses Aquatic Center. 1719 Maple Valley Highway, Renton. 425-430-6780.

Spray parks and fountains

Crossroads Park’s water play area, which opened in June 2008, boasts tons of play space and interesting Northwest- and multicultural-themed spray features. 16000 N.E. 10th St., Bellevue.

Watch out for the dragon soaker at the “spray pad” at Willis D. Tucker Park, open since May 2008. 6705 Puget Park Drive, Snohomish. 

The big draw at North Lynnwood Neighborhood Park’s older spray park is the large, mist-spraying green dragon. 18510 44th Ave. W., Lynnwood.

At Ballard Commons Park, kids can run through water jets set into the pavement. 5701 22nd Ave. N.W., Seattle. 

The Ron K. Bills Fountain at Miller Park features granite blocks that mark off the points of the compass and a small circular play space. 330 19th Ave. E., Seattle. 206-684-7796.

On sunny summer days, the International Fountain at Seattle Center crawls with kids who stand (usually screaming) under the fountain’s powerful water jets. 305 Harrison St., Seattle.

Colorful water-spray features make Les Gove Park Rotary Play Sprayground a popular south-end destination. 910 Ninth St. S.E., Auburn.

If you visit Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in the summer, bring a change of clothes and water shoes so the kids can splash in the Kids’ Zone Lilypad Fountain. 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma.

Olympia doesn’t operate an outdoor pool, so locals flock to Heritage Park Fountain. In 2008, it was closed on Wednesdays, so check the schedule before dropping by. 330 Fifth Ave. S.W., Olympia.


Some outdoor movie series — such as Fremont Outdoor Movies in Seattle and Movies@ Marymoor in Redmond — occasionally mix a kid flick in with more adult fare, but others focus solely on family audiences. Bring a blanket or low-backed chairs and something to nosh on, and enjoy G- and PG-rated films in the deepening dusk. Check each series’ Web site in the spring for the lineup; most films are shown in July and August:

Hopelink Outdoor Movie Nights at Carillon Point in Kirkland

Cinema Under the Stars at Thornton A. Sullivan Park in Everett

Summer Sounds and Cinema Series at parks in Auburn

Moonlight Movies at Liberty Park in Renton 

Summer Sounds and Comcast Series at parks throughout Tacoma

CinemaGig at Skansie Brothers Park in Gig Harbor


Everybody is doing it these days: From Everett to Olympia, cities host summer entertainment series — most often in July and August, when the weather’s reliably fine — that bring music to parks all over the region. Schedules are published in summer catalogs, which can be downloaded from city Web sites.

Most series feature a range of music styles to which you can picnic, but a few are just for kids. Kids’ concerts happen at Thornton A. Sullivan Park in Everett, Library Park in Mill Creek, Lynndale Park Amphitheatre in Lynnwood , Marina Park in Kirkland, Les Gove Park in Auburn, West Fenwick Park in Kent and Huntamer Park in Lacey. During the summer, families have several choices for farm experiences, from the fun-park atmosphere of Remlinger Farms in Carnation  to the no-frills blueberry farms in Bellevue.

The Puget Sound Fresh website is a one-stop guide to farms in all Western Washington counties; search its database to find that perfect local organic berry farm with a picnic area, petting zoo and wagon rides. Farm listings contain hours, directions and other pertinent info.


In Seattle, rent a kayak at the Northwest Outdoor Center or Moss Bay Rowing, Kayaking and Sailing Center for a paddle around Lake Union. Explore the waters around the Montlake Cut and the Arboretum by canoe; the Waterfront Activities Center on the University of Washington campus rents canoes to the public for a bargain price. (Don’t show up late on sunny summer weekends.)

Paddle Mercer Slough Nature Park in a canoe or kayak from REI's Boathouse in Bellevue’s Enatai Beach Park. Explore the Cedar River or Coulon Beach Park from Renton Rowing Center. See Point Defiance Park in Tacoma from a different angle by renting a kayak from Ruston Recreational Kayak at Owen Beach.

Beginning kayakers are welcome at Gig Harbor Rent-A-Boat’s moonlight community paddle.

Boston Harbor Marina is a jumping-off point for a paddle around Olympia’s waterways.

Kris Collingridge is ParentMap’s Out & About editor.

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