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In the Women’s Web ‘Travel The World With Kids’ series, we talk to mums from all over the globe who are interested in exploring their backyard attractions with their tiny tots! We hope you find them useful, if someday you choose to visit their part of the world. Presented in Q&A format, this one is with Anusha Rao from Seattle, who reviews kids’ literature for Saffron Tree.
Seattle, home to industry giants such as Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks & Amazon among others, is often associated with pouring rains and gloomy skies. But Anusha dispels such notions and tells us about the kid-friendly activities in Seattle – no matter the weather!
Hi Anusha! Do tell us about yourself.
I am grateful for the second chance to experience the wonder that is life, through the eyes of my two young boys. When I am not pondering over what it all means, I look for books to read to my kids and the next travel destination. I love the lively community in the Seattle area and the natural beauty in the Pacific Northwest region.
What are some of your suggestions for parents visiting with young kids to do in Seattle?
The Seattle region is a haven for nature lovers, and no, it is not always raining and yes, it is as beautiful as you can imagine! The city of Seattle is cradled among the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, and surrounded by Lake Union and Lake Washington. The Pacific Ocean is about a 100 miles away from the city and the waters of the Pacific surround the city through the Puget Sound. There are endless activities in and out of the city for families with young kids.
Beginning of the year, the mountains get abundant snow and are the perfect destination for snow tubing and beginner skiing. Spring is fantastic for bird watching, as is hiking the numerous trails. Summer truly awakens the region – sailing, berry picking, camping are just a sample of the feast that summer brings. Fall is perfect for visiting pumpkin farms, for apple picking and for marveling at cranberry bogs, all of which are within a few hours of drive from the city.
And those are just the outdoor activities. Kids here are spoilt for choices for things to do indoors – among the independent music bands (Recess Monkey, Caspar Babypants, Juggletunes) that offer several free shows all around town, family concerts by the Seattle Symphony which also has a Soundbridge Discovery Center to make classical music accessible to the youngest in the family and live theater (Seattle Children’s Theater, Second Story Repertory, Storybook Theater) that produce interactive shows appealing specifically to the toddler/elementary age group. Kids with interest in aviation will have a field day at the Museum of Flight and kids four feet and above can take a tour of the Boeing factory to see planes being constructed live.
What have been some of your favourite outings in Seattle with your kids?
One of our most memorable outings was to Ballard Locks. It is a system of locks that were designed in 1917 and is now maintained by a division of the US Army. The best way to visualize the Ballard Locks is to imagine an elevator system for boats that cross between two water bodies which are at different elevations. We love visiting here for the sheer fun of watching boats rising up and down because of water pumped in and out. We are always thrilled to spot crabbing and fishing boats making their way out to the Northern Pacific. Surrounding the Ballard Locks is a large picnic area, a lush botanical garden and an underground viewing area to see the region’s salmon migrate back and forth (best seen in July-August).
We have also loved every single trip on the Washington State Ferries. The northwest region of the state is an archipelago of islands, and the only transportation is by water. A favorite pastime is to sit by the ferry terminal, watch the cars load into the ferry, await the sound of the horn eagerly and watch them take off into the blue Puget Sound. Even more memorable are the times we visited an island with no agenda but to take the ferry across.
For tourists visiting Seattle for the first time, do you have any particular tips?
Don’t pack an umbrella! Seriously. Seattle hardly ever gets torrential rains and almost every restaurant and public place have free umbrellas for short trips to the car, so unless you’re going to be relying heavily on public transportation, and you don’t mind a light drizzle or two, you may not miss the rain gear. Visitors from the Midwest or from Southwest US typically find the temperatures cool and moderate, visitors from hotter climates will find it similar to a ‘hill station’. July and August are the most ideal for outdoor activities. For maximizing your trip, check Parentmap and Red Tricycle for events when you visit. Larry Gets Lost in Seattle is a children’s book that can acquaint young kids with the city before arrival.
Are there any particular restaurants in Seattle that you think kids will enjoy?
Because of the choice of ethnic food available, Seattle would be a great place to introduce children to cuisines from around the world. Be it Vietnamese pho, Korean kimchi or Chinese dim sum, options are aplenty, and majority of these are kid-friendly. There are plenty of eateries catering to specific dietary restrictions like vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free, but a few like the Twirl Cafe and Tot Spot Cafe stand out for having designated play areas.
Are there any particular shopping areas in Seattle that you think kids will enjoy?
Bellevue Square Mall, a 20 minute drive east of Seattle, is popular among families for Kid’s Cove, a play area on the top floor which kids under 5 are happy to play in with supervision.
For young bibliophiles, a trip to one of the independent book stores (Mockingbird Books, Secret Garden) is recommended, as well as the selection of toys that kindle the imagination at Top Ten Toys and Magic Mouse.
Any kid-friendly day trips out from your Seattle?
The opportunities can fill several guidebooks! We’ve enjoyed driving down south on the scenic Highway 101 along the Oregon Coast, hugging the Pacific Ocean; and up north to Vancouver, Canada, for its aquarium and Stanley Park, and east, past the Cacade mountains to Lake Chelan for water sports.
For kids looking for a bit of thrill, Wild Waves and Great Wolf Lodge are popular water parks and the latter is indoor and open year round. Junior Ranger programs at the Mt. Rainier National Park educate older children about the ecosystem in the area and instill in them the pride and responsibility of preserving the beauty that the region is blessed with.
Thanks a lot Anusha!
Previous Interviews In The ‘Travel With Kids’ Series:
Neera from Chicago
Jo-Lynne from Philadelphia
Tiffany from Frankfurt
Subha from Zurich
Shalini from Norway
Nora from Morocco
Laylah from Riyadh
Lisa from Dubai
Sarah from New Zealand
Toni from Manila
Maid In Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur
Uma from Chennai
The Mad Momma from Delhi
Lakshmi from Hyderabad
Sunayana from Kolkata
Sunita from Pune
Anuradha from Mumbai
Artnavy from Bengaluru
Leonny from Singapore
*Photo credit: Simonds (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License)
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