Explore: Magnuson Park

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Ah, mid-February—bulbs already blooming, rush of fresh air blowing—it feels like Spring is just around the corner. Grab your coat (and definitely a kite) and get going to Magnuson Park. Located in the Sand Point neighborhood of Seattle, this park has something for all—even an off-leash dog park for Fido.

Magnuson Park’s Off Leash Dog Park located at the west end of the parking lot is just about the happiest animal adventure you & the kiddos could have on a Saturday morning. Grab your galoshes and get ready to get muddy as you watch the big dogs battle it out in the massive mud/hay field to the left, then “Ooh” and “aah” over the littlest furballs in the Small Dog Play Area to the right. Follow the parade of pooches and make your way down the stroller-friendly path (about 1 mile) to the water to watch Seattle’s bravest navigate chilly waters as they jockey for tennis ball supremacy. When you’ve had your fill of dog drool and barking, exit left out the gate onto the waterfront (leaving the dog park) and into Magnuson Park proper.

As you soak up the Lake Washington views along the paved path, keep your eyes peeled for a strange collection of steel sculptures protruding from the ground. If the kiddos are into airplanes or whales (and, really, don’t most fall into either camp?) then The Fin Project is a must see. Actual diving-plane fins from decommissioned Navy subs built in the 1960s are arranged to simulate the dorsal fins of a large Orca whale pod. Can you say, “Neat-o”?

When you’re done gazing, head uphill until you reach a big patch of green grass better know as Kite Hill. The lawn is ideal for kicking a ball while enjoying the panoramic views, or, as the name implies, kite flying (some think it’s even better than GasWorks park). Got a chill? Ready for a warm-up? Head back to the parking lot and over to Java Dog Espresso (within the Magnuson Park gates) for a cup of joe and some hot chocolate for the littles.

Appetites will eventually win, and you’ll want to head over to Sand Point Grill for an early dinner—meet up with your Sig O for some fine-but-casual dining with the kids. This parent-owned treat is a fantastic combination of high-quality, mostly-organic food served in a fresh, airy environment, and we love that all the kids meals are served with fresh fruits and veggies rather than breaded something-or-other—if only they were open for lunch as well!

Another nearby pick, Seattle’s trusty Pagliacci’s Pizza opens at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. on weekends. Kids are invited to view the pizza-making process as they stand along a counter overseeing the kitchen. Morning visitors won’t want to pass up 60th Street Desserts. Featuring both sweet and savory goodies, and a drive-through window, you’ll find all you need to end that perfect outing.

PS – the Junior League playground in Magnuson Park is the largest playground in Seattle.

—Matina Fresenius

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