Back-to-school season is here which means finding cheap and free entertainment to get you through the last few weeks of summer break is a must. (Because who has money to spend on activities when you’ve got new shoes and clothes to buy along with a school supply list a mile long.) That’s why we rounded up six parks that are worthy of the drive to get to and are guaranteed to keep everyone in your crew busy for hours. Read on and get ready to plan a day (or two!) at the park.

Bellevue Downtown Park – Bellevue, Wa

Built in collaboration between the City of Bellevue and Rotary Club of Bellevue, this beautiful park in the heart of downtown Bellevue recently received the most awesome makeover. The new Inspiration Playground features super-fun interactive elements that not only “engage the senses, create inclusiveness and accommodate children of all abilities,” but keep little (and big kids!) busy for hours. The Imagination Station, designed for ages 2-5, is where you will find a toddler and mom-and-me swing as well as a four-person we-saw and spinner bowl and a variety of sensory and movement equipment to keep even the most active of tykes engaged. Older kids (ages 5-12) will love the Whimsey Play Area which boasts a climbing wall, beautifully designed climbing vine, large-scale play structure, swings (of the large, round platform variety) and an in-ground trampoline. Everyone will love the new splash pad with a "waterfall cave” and water sensory table. The ground vents, a small little river with a bridge and a peek-or-run-through rock waterfall make for an afternoon of fun all the way around.

10201 N.E. 4th St.
Bellevue, Wa 98004

photo: Jennifer B. Davis

Pack a Lunch
All six of these destinations make for great picnics areas, with or without a table. Don’t worry about being too fancy either. Pack some sandwiches or some lunch meat and cheese sticks and let the Littles roll their own lunch.

Pack a Few Extra Supplies
You can never have too many wet wipes and paper towels on hand for whatever you kids might get into. Also, think about sunscreen, Band-Aids and anything that might spoil your day if you have to leave early.

Pack Extra Clothes
Living in Seattle is unpredictable and with most of these parks, there is a good chance you’ll get wet. Be sure to pack a towel and a hoodie (in case it gets chilly) and a change of clothes is always a good idea.

Does your family have a favorite park to visit during the summer months? Tell us in the comments below.  

— Jeffrey Totey

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