Mid-winter Break Play List: 35 Outings for Seattle and Eastside Families
Mid-winter break is approaching — do you know what your kids are doing? Here are 40-plus ways to keep them entertained and active. also see also our crafts/DIY section for tips on easy activities, our events calendar and our giant rainy-day play list.
Staircase walks: Puget Sound cities are threaded with exiciting staircase walks, which lead to secret gardens, amazing views and urban adventure.
Winter hikes: Each of these provides an out in bad weather, to a visitors center or other educational spaces where kids can learn more.
Rain-friendly playgrounds and parks: Then there's this list of covered playgrounds, trails with cover and more puddle-jumping fun.
Adventure playgrounds: Are your kids ready for steeper slides and faster lines? Check out this list of high-thrill playgrounds.
Exhibits, special events and cool museums
Pompeii: The Exhibition at Pacific Science Center. Best for older kids, this blockbuster exhibit — the last stop on its U.S. tour — looks at life, death and the power of volcanoes in an ancient civilization.
Washington State History museum currently has an exhibit about Volcanoes in Washington State that might be a good companion exhibit to Pompeii.
Star Wars and the Power of Costume at EMP: Take your little R2-D2s to see more than 60 costumes up close, from droids to Han Solo’s Western gunslinger outfit to Darth Vader’s mask.
Tacoma museums. Tacoma museums rock and are close enough that you can do two or three in one day! Start at the Tacoma Art Museum to see the new galleries (kids will love the western art), or just hang out and create in the free art studio. Nearby is the free (by donation) Children's Museum of Tacoma. Also, check out the Kids Design Glass Too exhibit at the Museum of Glass, and LeMay-America's Car Museum with incredible vintage car exhibits, slot car racing and a fun family zone.
Chihuly Garden & Glass: You haven't checked out this wildly colorful new museum at the Seattle Center yet? It's surprisingly appealing to kids, with indoor and outdoor exhibits, a movie about Dale Chihuly's rise to glass art stardom and more. And the rest of the Seattle Center is just steps away.
Edward Curtis exhibit at the Whatcom Museum. It's worth a road trip to Bellingham to see this amazing exhibit of 40 original photogravures from Edward S. Curtis' epic work, The North American Indian, including one of Curtis' earliest images taken in 1895 of Princess Angeline, the elderly daughter of Chief Sealth.
Dreamliner at Museum of Flight. See the latest addition to the Museum of Flight's outdoor exhibits, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner “Number 3.” Your kids will love getting up close and personal with this modern flying machine.
Indoor nature spaces: Get some much-needed nature connection at one of these blooming with bromeliads, butterflies and more.
More: Go to museums for free! Check out our just updated list of free museum days.
Active indoor play
Ice skating: Lace up your skates, and wobble onto one of our indoor skating rinks.
Roller skating: Time to break out those quads, the music from Xanadu, and roll on. Check out our guide for tips on learning and where to go.
Elevated Sportz, Bothell: This huge trampoline/play space, has a cheap "Hoppy Hour" special every day Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
PlayDate SEA, South Lake Union, Seattle. Let kids get serious wiggles out at the 8,500-square-foot Undersea/Atlantis-themed, multi-level play structure.
Rainier Beach Pool in South Seattle opened in 2013, with a lazy river, a corkscrew/water slide, lap pool, a hot tub spa/warm water area, a slide and rope swing.
Snohomish Aquatic Center: This new aquatics center has it all: lazy river, warm-water pool (102 degrees), spray area, zero-depth area for tots, corkscrew slide and surf-simulation machine.
The Federal Way Community Center (south of Seattle) has a leisure pool showcases a two-story water slide with banked turns plus an interactive play structure with water sprays and a smaller slide for the younger set.
Crafts, art and indoor fun
Umbrella Tree Cafe, Seattle. Check out this new play spot in the former Twirl Cafe space, a bright cafe and play space, wiith classes, a toddler play time during midday several times a week, story time and more.
Seattle Recreative. This crafty studio and retail space, focused on creative reuse, recently opened in a new location in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood, with a play space.
Bellevue Arts Museum: Check out BAM's annual wood arts exhibit, its great kid play spaces; and on Saturdays drop by for an affordable Get Crafty workshop.
Tinkertopia, Tacoma: A "creative reuse center" in downtown Tacoma where you can fill up a bag to bring home or create on site.
Sking in B.C. If you're bemoaning the lack of snow aruond Puget Sound, head north for great snow, ski-in/ski-out resorts and outdoor ice skating and sleigh rides.
Only an hour from Portland is the best water park/flight museum in the west, guaranteed to entertain and educate everyone.
Head to Chelan for winter fun, including cheap skiing, wine-tasting and lots o' sun.
Get a front seat on nature-ific drama with a day or two of stormwatching in Oregon.
Bask in a rainshadow, learn about whales, walk the beaches on San Juan Island.
Try snow biking, dog sledding, or plain old awesome powder skiing in Bend, Oregon.