Kid Cool: An A-to-Z Guide

Summer fun in the Seattle area for the whole family, from museums to parks to restaurants

Think the big city is only for adults? Think again! From educational to adventurous, Seattle offers activities for kids of every age, from 1 to 100. Here you'll find everything you need to enjoy this city as a family—from A to Z.

A: Aquatic Life at the Aquarium

View underwater critters from every angle at the Seattle Aquarium. A window to Elliott Bay and an underwater dome provide plenty of views from which to watch the action. Kids can get up close at the touch pools and walk under jellyfish in their arched tank. Expand your knowledge of waters beyond the Pacific Northwest and see unusual creatures from the world's oceans at the Ocean Oddities exhibit. 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, 206.386.4300

Dinosaurs at the Burke Museum

B: Burke Dinosaurs

Meet Washington’s dinosaurs at the Burke Museum. On display in the Life and Times of Washington State exhibit are a stegosaurus, an elamosaur and a 140-million-year-old allosaurus. And brand-new to the Burke, check out the mammoth tusk recently found during South Lake Union construction. University of Washington campus at 17th Ave. NE and NE 45th St., 206.543.5590

C: Cruise to Tillicum Village on Argosy

Take in a little history with the sights, sounds and food of the Coast Salish at Tillicum Village on Blake Island with Argosy Cruises. See salmon prepared over open fires in a cedar longhouse before dinner, followed by a spectacular stage performance that includes tales told by a native storyteller and traditional dance. 1101 Alaskan Way, Pier 55, 888.623.1445

D: Dolled Up at American Girl

Experience a memorable girls-day-out at the American Girl Seattle store, just north of the city. Enjoy lunch in the café, a hairstyling session and facial for your doll and shopping for the latest in doll clothing and accessories. You can also reserve a time for tea and crafts on weekdays. 3000 184th St., Lynnwood, 877.247.5223

E: EMP Museum

With its combination of music, sci-fi and pop culture, the EMP Museum is as unique inside as it is out. Kids will love the Frank O. Gehry-designed building with its undulating metallic colors. Inside, find exhibits about Seattle’s music history, favorite items from science fiction and all things pop culture. Don’t forget to visit The Rec Room for family-friendly activities. Seattle Center, 325 5th Ave. N, 206.770.2700  

F: Fly a Kite at Gas Works Park

Watch your kite soar in the skies above Lake Union at Gas Works Park, a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Find the sundial at the top of the hill, explore the children’s play area and have a snack in the picnic area. The park opened in 1975 at the site of a former gas manufacturing plant. 2101 N. Northlake Way, 206.684.4075

G: Great Wheel

Climb into a gondola and watch downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay roll past on the Seattle Great Wheel, the largest wheel on the West Coast, built right on Pier 57. Go after sundown for a trip while the wheel is ablaze in LED lights. 1301 Alaskan Way, 206.623.8607

H: History at the Museum of History and Industry

Kids will love learning about maritime Seattle at the Museum of History and Industry. There is a working World War II-era periscope, an 1885 lighthouse lens and views of the sailboats, wooden boats and seaplanes on Lake Union. Also on view are iconic neon signs, the pink “toe” truck from Lincoln’s Towing and souvenirs from the 1962 World’s Fair. 860 Terry Ave. N, 206.324.1126

I: International Fountain at Seattle Center

Built for the 1962 World’s Fair and remodeled in 1995, the International Fountain at Seattle Center has been delighting children—and adults—ever since. Choreographed to music, the biggest “shows” at the fountain occur on the hour and half hour and last up to 12 minutes. Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., 206.684.7200

J: Jet Around on Segways

Those 12 years and older can buzz around the city on a Segway tour with Seattle by Segway. Cruise past the waterfront, Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market, Space Needle and more. Tours are offered five times daily and reservations are required. 214 Alaskan Way S, 206.388.5508

K: Kayak Rentals

Take in the sights around Lake Union from the water in a kayak rental from the Northwest Outdoor Center. With double and triple kayaks available, the entire family can enjoy views of Gasworks Park, MOHAI and houseboats. 2100 Westlake Ave. N, 206.281.9694

L: Locks

Little ones will enjoy watching the water levels rise and fall so sailboats, tugboats and yachts can safely move between the salt water of Puget Sound to the fresh water of the Ship Canal at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Don’t miss the fish ladder, where salmon pass between salt and fresh water. Salmon viewing starts in mid-June. 3015 NW 54th St., 206.783.7059

M: Mariners Game

Kids of all ages enjoy a baseball game, and Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, is one of the best stadiums to visit. Visit the Seattle Children’s Hospital Playfield (with TV monitors so you won’t miss the game!) and take your photo with the Mariner Moose at his home, the Moose Den. 1250 First Ave. S, 206.346.4001

N: Northwest Trek

Take the tram tour at the Northwest Trek wildlife park, where you’ll spot bison, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and more. There is also a discovery center with hands-on exhibits. For the adventurous family, try the Zip Wild Adventure Courses, with zip lines, log bridges, cargo nets and balance beams. 11610 Trek Drive E, Eatonville, 360.832.6117

O: Observation Deck at the Space Needle

A visit to Seattle isn’t complete without a trip to the observation deck of the city’s icon. Kids will enjoy the 360-degree view of the city from 520 feet in the air. Seattle Center, 400 Broad St., 206.905.2100

P: Planes at the Museum of Flight

Junior pilots will love the plethora of planes at the Museum of Flight. See the Air Force One used by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon; a Concorde supersonic airplane; and a Vietnam War-era helicopter. If space flight is more your speed, the Rendezvous in Space exhibit includes a chance to reenact space docking activities. 9404 E. Marginal Way S, 206.764.5720

Q: Quiet Time at the Downtown Library

Explore Seattle’s Central Library and take a break from the noise of the city. Check out the chartreuse escalators, the red halls of level 4, the level 1 children’s area and the floor of letters. At the top you’ll find the living room, with plenty of space to relax. 1000 Fourth Ave., 206.386.4636

Ride the Ducks Seattle

R: Ride the Ducks

Experience one of the quirkiest (quackiest?) tours in Seattle on an amphibious DUKW vehicle with Ride the Ducks. Leave from Seattle Center or Westlake Center and spend 90 minutes traveling past key spots in the city, all narrated by fun and funny drivers. Part of the tour is spent in Lake Union, where you’ll travel past Gas Works Park and Seattle houseboats. 516 Broad St., 206.441.3825

S: Science Center

With exhibits appropriate for every age range, there is something for everyone at the Pacific Science Center. Visit the Tropical Butterfly House to snap photos with butterflies and visit the robotic dinosaurs in the Dinosaurs: A Journey Through Time display. If you need a break, take in an IMAX movie. 200 Second Ave. N, 206.443.2001

T: Top Pot Doughnuts

Try Seattle’s favorite doughnuts at Top Pot, a café serving “hand-forged” doughnuts and hand-roasted coffee. Your children will have a hard time choosing which goodie to try. While there are Top Pot locations across the city, the flagship café is downtown. 2124 Fifth Ave., 206.728.1966

U: Underground Tour

Kids will enjoy this adventure underneath the city’s sidewalks. The Underground Tour takes visitors on a walk through the old street-level of Seattle. Learn about the great fire that created the underground as well as many fun facts about the history of this unique city. Tours start on the hour. 608 First Ave., 206.682.4646

V: Videogames at GameWorks

Test your skills on 130 different video games at GameWorks Seattle. From racing games to classics to some you’ve probably never heard of, there is plenty to keep your family smiling. 1511 Seventh Ave., 206.521.0952

W: Wild Waves

With a wide variety of water and nonwater rides, there is plenty to fill your day at Wild Waves Theme Park. You’ll find rides like the Konga Lazy River, the Riptide and Speed Slides, as well as the Soaring Eagle Zip Line, an antique carousel and the Timberhawk roller coaster. The Wild Waves website lists all height requirements for rides throughout the park. 36201 Enchanted Parkway S, Federal Way, 253.661.8000

X: Xperience the Monorail

Soar above traffic on Seattle’s monorail. Created for the 1962 World’s Fair, the monorail is still in use today, carrying riders one mile from Westlake Center downtown to Seattle Center and back. Sure, you could walk, but where’s the fun in that? 370 Thomas St., 206.905.2620

Y: Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe

Located on the waterfront, Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe is a must-see. You never know what you’ll find in this overflowing shop that is part store, part museum. Head to the back of the store to see mummies, real shrunken heads and two-headed animals. 1001 Alaskan Way, 206.682.5844

Feeding the birds at Woodland Park Zoo

Z: Zoo

A wide variety of animals await you at the Woodland Park Zoo. Wander the shaded pathways and find lions, cheetahs, giraffes, owls, zebras, bears, orangutans and more. Don’t miss the penguin exhibit, Bug World or the Willawong Station, where you can feed birds. 601 N. 59th St., 206.548.2500