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Spring Break Family Fun at Seattle Center

Move, dance and play around the globe with cultural programs for kids

Published on: April 04, 2019

Movin' Around the World family fun at Seattle Center. Credit: Tori Dickson

How about a spring break outing that gets kids moving, introduces artistry from different cultures and costs almost nothing? We'll take it!

Cultural traditions from around the globe will take center stage at the Seattle Center Amory during Movin’ Around the World, a festival of fun for families taking place Saturday–Friday, April 6–12, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day.

Set to coincide with the many local school districts' spring breaks — including Seattle, Bellevue, Renton, Highline and North Shore — this is another installment of Our Big Neighborhood programming, a partnership between Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center. Local master tradition bearers will perform and demonstrate songs, dances and art to kids and their caregivers during this interactive festival.

“Our goal is to offer really cost-effective programming for families when all of a sudden the kids are around for a week,” said Anna Buxton, Programs Coordinator at Northwest Folklife. Kids are invited to try hands-on art projects “while learning about cultures and traditions that exist in our region,” she added.

There is a suggested donation of $5 per person, though everyone is welcome and families will not be turned away for inability to donate.

Each of the seven days of the festival focuses on a different region or cultural traditions. Visitors can explore dances of Latin America on Sunday and the rhythms of West Africa on Wednesday. Performers include North City Rockers (Saturday), Third Coast Percussion (Monday), Ursavi Dance Ensemble (Tuesday) and Kuoyate Arts (Wednesday).

But it's not just performances to watch. There are also hands-on activities for kids each day. Kids can make bookmarks, learn to tie a turban, create a flower mandala and make a personal button with Purrdie Burrdie Designs.

Boy exploring hands on
Credit: Erinn Hale

The event is designed both for families who plan to attend and for Seattle Center visitors who happen to wander in. See the full schedule of performances, workshops and craft stations on the festival's website.

“Staff members station themselves on the outskirts of each performance and activity to look for interested but shy kids. We’ll offer a big smile and wave them into joining in the action,” said Buxton. The Seattle Center Armory has a unique ability to seem big and inviting but also small and intimate for a more one-on-one workshop feel, added Buxton. So join the fun and get moving' around the world!

kids dancing at Movin' Around the World
Credit: Erinn Hale

If you go...

When: Movin' Around the World: Spring takes place Saturday–Friday, April 6–12, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. each day

Where: Seattle Center Armory, 305 Harrison St., Seattle

Cost: Suggested donation of $5 per person, per day, though everyone is welcome

Daily themes and schedules:

More schedule details: Visit the Movin' Around the World website or the festival's Facebook page.

Getting there: Pay parking is available at Seattle Center lots or on the street. Consider transit for stress-free travel.

Tips for parents:

  • There are plenty of tables and chairs surrounding the dance floor, so families that want to stick around all day can bring a lunch and hang out. The Armory also has family-friendly eateries and free wifi.
  • When your kids peer down from the Armory floor and catch a glimpse of the Seattle Children's Museum mountain exhibit, you might have to promise them a visit.
  • Double your entertainment with tickets to charming “Balloonacy” at Seattle Children's Theatre, just kitty-corner from the Armory.
  • Explore beyond the Armory and the International Fountain with our age-by-age guide to Seattle Center. Do not miss the epic Artists at Play playground, just east of the Armory.
  • Pacific Science Center's Spring Fling offers scien-terrific fun and runs through April 14 and the International Children's Friendship Festival features cultural exploration and fosters friendship. This free fest takes place at Fisher Pavilion Saturday–Sunday, April 6–7.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in2018 and updated for 2019.

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