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Where to Go Indoors With Kids When It’s Smoky Around Seattle

What’s open around Seattle and beyond for indoor family time

Nancy Chaney
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Published on: August 12, 2021

Wide view of aircraft on display at Seattle's Museum of Flight places to go indoors with kids when it's smoky outside
Photo:
The Museum of Flight

Ugh! The smoke is back as wildfires burn across the West. We feel for the communities affected by wildfires and send strength to the firefighters attacking the blazes.

With unhealthy air lingering several more days, here are a few places around Seattle, the Eastside and South Sound that offer indoor play for families. Book a visit for your fam and escape the house with your kids. Just keep in mind that masks are still required, and these places continue to operate differently than you may remember from the Before Times, so prepare your crew accordingly.

1. Hands On Children's Museum, Olympia

This huge children's museum is open and booking timed-entry tickets. Reserve a visit online and go play. Open seven days a week. Admission costs $14.95 for adults and kids; tots younger than 18 months play free.

2. Burke Museum, Seattle

This dino-tastic museum had just reopened in a fantastic new building a few months before the pandemic hit. It has reopened, with timed-entry visits, and welcomes kids and families to get a close-up view of scientists and curators at work. Inspect dinosaur bones and all kinds of other stuff. Open Tuesday–Sunday. Adult admission costs $22; youth ages 4–17, $14; tots ages 3 and younger enter free.

3. The Museum of Flight, Seattle

So many kids love this museum ... who doesn't like to imagine building and flying all kinds of incredible aircraft? Like each place on this list, if your kids are super familiar with a museum, prep them that procedures and what you can do will look different in these COVID-19 times. Book your tix in advance. Open daily. Adult admission costs $25; youth 5–17, $17; kids ages 4 and younger enter free.

4. Imagine Children's Museum, Everett

Imagine just reopened in June, and families from near and far are so happy. This spot offers all kinds of imaginative play. Read up on safety procedures before you go, especially if you haven't been since before the onset of the pandemic. Open for timed-entry reservations Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission costs $14; younger than age 1 free.

5. KidsQuest Children's Museum, Bellevue

This beloved Eastside museum has multiple stories of fun, from a water play area to a tree house, your kids will love it here. KidsQuest is open Tuesday–Sunday; book timed-entry tickets in advance. Admission costs $10; kids younger than 1 play for free.

6. Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Seattle

MoPOP is a favorite spot of teens and tweens, with exhibits highlighting music and gaming among other pop culture interests. The current special exhibit showcases costumes from Disney movies and digs into the planning and artistry that goes into creating iconic costumes that shape our view of both heroes and villains. Note that MoPOP has instituted a tiered pricing structure where you pay according to how early you book, and that the Disney costume exhibit costs extra. Open daily; pricing varies.

7. Children's Museum of Tacoma

This small and sweet spot is perfect for the tot set, with a ship to climb aboard and lots of hands-on play scenes. The museum is currently open Friday–Sunday for morning or afternoon play sessions, and reservations are no longer required. (Note that the museum will be closed Friday, Aug. 13.) Admission is pay-as-you-will. Make a donation of any amount to enter the museum.

8. Seattle Aquarium, Seattle

The Seattle Aquarium is open to visitors, though it was closed for a few days last time we had smoky air, so do check online before you make your plan. (This is because some areas are indoor/outdoor.) Watch baby coral grow in a new exhibit! The Aquarium has also instituted tiered pricing based on how early you purchase. Book online.

9. LeMay — America's Car Museum, Tacoma

This is a must-see destination for car aficionados of all ages. The museum will be open Friday–Sunday for now, by advance-booked ticketing. Race car fans will not want to miss the exhibition on Steve Saleen. Several of this trailblazing designer's cars are on display, including the Saleen S7, considered to be the United States' first supercar. Open Thursday–Monday. Adult admission costs $18; youth $10–$14; kids ages 5 and younger enter free. Book online.

10. Seattle Art Museum

Bring your tweens and teens to wander the galleries at SAM and inspect the varied collections. All ages can appreciate the soft and beautiful landscapes by French painter Claude Monet on display in the "Monet at Étretat" exhibit. SAM is open Wednesday–Sunday. Adult admission costs $15; youth and student rate is $10; kids ages 14 and younger free. Monet exhibit costs extra. Book online.

Bonus: Museum of Glass, Tacoma

Like many museums, this spot is full of beautiful and fancy things that kids can't touch, but something about artworks molded from glass make them especially accessible and impressive for kids — and adults. The museum is currently open Thursday–Sunday.

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