Readers’ Choice: Top-Voted Out + About Adventures
Awesome Animal Experiences
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park (Eatonville) — Close-up encounters with native species, such as bison, elk and bighorn sheep, are the star attraction of this park, but kids also can't get enough of Kids’ Trek, a nature-inspired playground that features ropes, slides, cabins and a giant tree.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (Tacoma) — The South Sound’s jewel of a zoological park features awesome viewing of animals in both water and land habitats. Guests love PDZA’s special programs and year-round appeal.
Woodland Park Zoo (Seattle) — WPZ’s 92 acres are home to more than 900 animals (and 250 species), including some of the world’s most critically endangered. In all seasons and in any kind of weather, it is a favorite destination for animal-loving kids and their grown-ups.
Can’t-Miss Holiday or Seasonal Event
Snowflake Lane (Bellevue) — The Bellevue Collection’s holiday show is a festive family favorite, with free nightly performances featuring falling snow, holiday music, toy soldiers, dancers and live toy drummers on stilts.
Swansons Nursery Reindeer Festival (Seattle) — This gorgeous North Seattle nursery becomes even more gorgeous when decked out in its seasonal finery. The festival features its namesake reindeer, Santa visits, a model train setup and other magical décor that puts everyone in the holiday spirit.
WildLights/WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo (Seattle) — The annual holiday lights installations at Woodland Park Zoo dazzle and delight. After mounting the hot-ticket WildLights spectacle for eight seasons, the zoo introduced a new generation of its light show, called WildLanterns, in 2020.
Fabulous Family Farm or U-Pick
Fox Hollow Farm (Issaquah) — Head to Fox Hollow Farm in Issaquah to race the mini tractors, dive into the corn bin, ride inner tubes down the creek and frolic in the inflatable playhouses.
Remlinger Farms (Carnation) — Part amusement park, part produce paradise and all fun, Remlinger attracts area families to its U-pick berry fields in summer and pumpkin patch in the fall.
Swans Trail Farms (Snohomish) — Families descend upon this lovely farm to enjoy bushels of harvest fun, including picking apples, prowling the 50-acre pumpkin patch, navigating the corn maze, petting farm critters, hopping a wagon ride and more.
Imagine Children’s Museum (Everett) — Beyond its generous fund of interactive exhibits, readers love the large rooftop outdoor space, art studio, science lab and popular camps.
KidsQuest Children’s Museum (Bellevue) — Kids and their grown-ups love the exciting climbing sculpture adjacent to the museum entrance, the fun outdoor space, hands-on studios for tinkering and making art, and engaging STEM programs.
Pacific Science Center (Seattle) — Boy, have parents missed regular visits to PacSci during the pandemic! The museum adapted admirably to the challenges, pivoting to serve the community with virtual programming. The museum will launch an exciting limited-run interactive exhibition, “HOCKEY: Faster Than Ever,” this October.
Local Family Escape
Seabrook (Seabrook) — Head to this coastal town to ride bikes on quiet streets and paths, and enjoy the wide-open beach, sports courts, indoor swimming pool, skimboards, pottery painting studio, spa, restaurants and more!
Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort (Leavenworth) — Creature comforts abound at this alpine resort featuring hiking and cross-country skiing trails, an amazing spa, a dedicated Play Barn for the kids, and delicious, sustainably sourced food.
Suncadia Resort (Cle Elum) — Readers say this family- and pet-friendly resort offers a luxurious getaway and a wealth of year-round activities in spectacular natural surroundings. The list of amazing amenities is endless.
Funtastic Playtorium (Bellevue and Lynnwood locations) — The pandemic put such a depressing kibosh on energetic indoor play. Happily, these popular indoor playgrounds for kids 10 and younger survived to play another day. And the next day … and the next day …
Kids Discovery Museum — KiDiMu (Bainbridge Island) — Worth the short ferry ride from Seattle? You bet! Fawning caregivers of younger visitors especially love the Waldorf-inspired Totally Tot space.
Seattle ReCreative (Seattle) — This nonprofit “creative reuse” retailer and community art center blends fine art teaching skills with a modern-day mission to find new life for materials that would usually end up in a landfill. Creative kids and their parents can shop, learn, play, create and donate.
Lynnwood Recreation Center (Lynnwood) — They already had us with the thrilling spray features, lazy river and sensational waterslide. The deal was permanently sealed by the hot tub, the warm-water therapy pool and the lap pool for serious teen swimmers.
Mountlake Terrace Pool (Mountlake Terrace) — Little swimmers can’t get enough of the beach-like swimming area and lazy river. Parents love watching their kiddos practice swim moves in an area so shallow that they can touch the bottom with their feet.
Snohomish Aquatic Center (Snohomish) — This epic 52,000-square-foot swim center in Snohomish features a surf-simulation machine, an epic waterslide that winds outside, a recreational lap pool and a lazy river.
Pike Place Market (Seattle) — Tourists and residents alike understand that iconic Pike Place Market is in so many ways the vibrant heart of our city. This year is a particularly special time to visit — let’s venture down safely to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the successful community efforts that saved the market from the demolition that threatened it back in 1964. (Can you even imagine?)
Seattle Center (Seattle) — Our uniquely unique cultural center draws families from all over to enjoy its onsite museums, theaters, festivals and one of the region’s best playgrounds.
Space Needle (Seattle) — Did you know that Seattle invented the future in the year 1962, when it hosted the World’s Fair, a six-month-long celebration of science and technology that drew more than 10 million visitors from around the world to our then relatively unknown mill town? More than 50 years later, the Space Needle still inspires Seattle-area families to keep recreating a better future.