Yes, the Summit at Snoqualmie’s tubing center always delivers a screaming-fun time. But there’s also the Leavenworth Tubing Park at Ski Hill, typically open earlier in the season because it’s on that side of the mountains; tubing at Hurricane Ridge, and super-cheap sledding at Mount Rainier National Park’s snow play area at Paradise (just pay for entrance to the park).
You might have to drag everyone out, but once you’re on the trail, winter walks bring distinct pleasures. Try the Witt Winter Garden at Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum; Swan Creek Park in Tacoma, an urban nature oasis; best-kept-secret Lewis Creek Park in Bellevue, where you can always take cover in the fantastic interpretive center; or head north to Skagit County to combine forest walks with eagle watching.
Got a special birthday or celebration coming up? Tip: Skip the Rainforest Café and try a more adventurous option. At Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, with locations in Bellevue and Seattle, families can cook their own steaming pots of soup. On Seattle’s Capitol Hill, recently opened Trove mingles noodles, Korean BBQ and parfaits in one 4,000-square-foot, mixed-use space.
Kids are more tech-savvy than ever, but can they sew a button, build a toy boat or shape a ceramic bowl? Practical arts such as carpentry and pottery aren’t core curriculum these days, but cool maker classes are popping up like (recycled-felt) daisies, from sewing and knitting to glassblowing and (even) blacksmithing.
On the days when only indoor outings will do, your first stop should be Parentap’s encyclopedia of rainy-day play spaces, which lists more than 70 options for indoor fun.
Recent additions: The Umbrella Tree in Queen Anne, with classes and drop-in play; and community-driven Cornerstone Café in South Seattle, with free open play for tots, affordable drop-in child care and more.