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What to See and Do With Kids in the Seattle Area’s Biggest Parks

Play all day in four huge parks that make up part of our collective big backyard

Published on: October 28, 2021

What to See and Do With Kids in the Seattle Area’s Biggest Parks

Train-themed play structure at Redmond, Washington's Marymoor Park amoung
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All aboard for play time at one of Marymoor Park's three play areas. Credit: Natasha Dillinger

Marymoor Park

Find it: Marymoor Park is located at 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E. in Redmond.

King County’s oldest and largest park has attracted visitors for millennia. Native Americans, likely from eastern Washington, fished and hunted along the Sammamish River 6,000 years ago, and members of the Duwamish Tribe camped on the riverbanks before a series of settlers built homesteads on the land.

With 640 acres to explore, Marymoor Park offers some truly unique recreational opportunities.

Tip: Be sure to bring quarters or small bills for the parking machines ($1 per day), or stop by the kiosk in Lot K, which offers an option for credit cards.

Play area at Marymoor Park one of the Seattle area's largest parks
One of the three play areas at Marymoor Park. Credit: Natasha Dillinger

Three play areas for your playground-loving kids

You could practically hold a playground scavenger hunt at this park (or at least that’s how I frame it for my 2-year-old). The newest play area near the concert venue features a fun zip-line swing and a balance-focused obstacle course. Head over to Lot K for the largest play space (and family restrooms with a changing table).

Our surprising “people’s choice”? The wooden train structure near the giant climbing wall! My son played on the simple train for nearly an hour on a recent visit — talk about a little engine that could!

Boy on bridge at Marymoor Park he's looking at the Sammamish River
Credit: Natasha Dillinger

A river runs through it (and so does my toddler)

The Sammamish River flows along the western border of the park, providing a home for many animals and a scenic walk for dogs and families. Little legs will appreciate the Audubon BirdLoop, which winds under tree canopies and along the river’s edge. My son loved running along the flat boardwalk before hopping back into our all-terrain stroller when the trail intersected with the off-leash dog park.

On our most recent visit to the park, we took a detour to the larger-than-life community garden before continuing along the river toward the Clise family’s passion project: a Dutch-style windmill. After a particularly memorable visit to the Netherlands, the former owner of the Marymoor property built the (decorative but operable) windmill. One of the best views is from the bridge over Northeast Marymoor Way, where you may also spot salmon returning to spawn in the fall.

Boy looking up at an old windmill at Marymoor Park in Redmond one of Puget Sound area's largest park
Credit: Natasha Dillinger

Watch radio-controlled aircraft take flight

The Marymoor Radio Control Club (MAR/C) manages the RC airfield in Marymoor Park. Its 300 members can fly aircraft from 8 a.m. to dusk, so your chances of spotting a plane close-up are pretty good, especially in the summer.

A special license and training are required to fly, but interested families can visit on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to sunset (roughly May through August) to see if they feel inspired to learn (or just watch). The minimum age for flying RC aircraft varies by kid, but the club says it’s typically around 10 years old. I hear complaints all the time from friends with preteens about how there isn’t much to do at parks for kids who have outgrown playgrounds and are feeling too surly to walk. Practicing STEM skills with a controller that’s not plugged into a video game seems like a pretty good option to me!

boy looking at flowers at the community garden at Redmond's Marymoor Park
Credit: Natasha Dillinger

Take a victory lap at the velodrome

Cycling enthusiasts will love watching a track race at the Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome; the season runs from May through August. Cyclists of all ages can use the facility when there are no events on the velodrome’s calendar, but track bikes (which have no brakes — watch out!) have priority.

Kids ages 9–16 who already know how to ride a bike can participate in a week of Camp Velo. This summer program teaches students how to safely ride and race track bikes.

Younger kids can head to the track for the “Kiddie Kilo.” Held on first and third Fridays during the summertime Friday Night Races series, kids as young as 2 take a lap around the track with their own helmet and wheels. The best part? The event ends by 8 p.m., so you won’t have to postpone bedtime for too long.

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