The Best Things to Hit the Seattle Kid Scene in 2021

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My, how far we’ve come! After a year of things being closed, it was exciting to see so many family-friendly places find a home in Seattle. New playgrounds, boat tours, even Seattle’s very own Iceplex have kept families busy and bonding in 2021. Here are our favorite new spots where families can play!

photo: Kraken Community Iceplex

Kraken Community Iceplex

Kraken fever has hit Seattle, and one of the coolest places around to catch it is at the new Kraken Community Iceplex. Not only is a great place for kids (and parents) to learn to skate or play ice hockey, but it’s the hot new place to go ice skating this season. We love that it’s got lots of perks beyond the rink, like the newly opened 32 Bar & Grill and a Starbucks ready to serve hot drinks to you and the kids after you’ve scooped the rink loop. It’s also an easy spot to throw a birthday bash or even watch the Kraken play. And if you time it right, you might be lucky enough to catch the pros as they make their way off the ice after practice.

10601 5th Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA
Learn more here.

HOCKEY: Faster Than Ever at PacSci

Another upside of all this hockey fever is PacSci’s new exhibit, HOCKEY: Faster Than Ever. It opened this fall and is scheduled to be on exhibit through February 27, 2022. In it, kids and families can explore how hockey has changed through the ages and try their luck defending the goal in interactive exhibits. Better work on your slap shot before heading over! The “Hockey Science Lab” is where visitors of all ages can test their speed, balance and reaction time on the ice. Got a rainy day? Then you’ve got what you need to visit. Please note: PacSci’s other exhibits remain closed for now.

Pacific Science Center
200 2nd Ave. N.
Seattle, WA
Learn more here.

photo: Salish Sea Tours

Salish Sea Tours

It’s hard not to fall in love with the Sound and Elliot Bay when you live in Seattle. Whether you enjoy it from the shores of Alki, the hills of Queen Anne or from the top of the Great Wheel, there’s nothing better than ferry crossings and beach combing. 2021 saw the launch of Salish Sea Tours, the newest way to cruise the Bay and learn about the history of Seattle, with a focus on its Indigenous people. Sailing out of Miner’s Landing, the touring company is Native-owned, with a fleet of two, 93-foot Native-designed catamarans, creatively called Orca 1 and Orca 2. Set sail for a captivating one-hour tour (don’t worry, they’ve got indoor seating that’s perfect for our chilly and wet winter days!) you won’t soon forget. It’s a unique and exciting addition to Pier 57, and one that is perfect for even the tiniest seafarers.

1301 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA
Learn more here.

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Da Vinci—Inventions at MOHAI

Genius lurks around every corner at MOHAI’s Da Vinci—Inventions exhibit that opened this summer. The exhibit features the work of Grande Experience, a group of Italian artisans who brought da Vinci’s drawings to life by scouring over 6,000 pages of his personal codices, written in mirror-image. Their hard work allows you and the kids to explore the fantastic displays that range from costumes and musical instruments, to flying machines and pop-up bridges for foot soldiers that totally work. Each intriguing invention will have your kids wondering about design and imagination and the intersection of art and science. If you haven’t made your way over to SLU recently, there’s still time to catch this fascinating exhibit before it leaves on March 13, 2022.

860 Terry Ave. N.
Seattle, WA
Learn more here.

Treat Cookies

Seattle has a long history of converting favorite farmers market and food truck eateries into brick-and-mortar spots. Treat Cookies, in Burien, is the latest to move from pop-up to permanent. This past spring, the mother-daughter duo behind Treat Cookies welcomed customers to their super cute pink shop where they serve up some of the tastiest cookies in town, named after local women leaders. If you ask us, the Taylor and the Molly D are hard to beat. With gluten-free and vegan options and monthly a Cookie Club to boot, you’ll find the cure for your cookie cravings here.

825 S.W. 152nd St.
Burien, WA
Learn more here.

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Getaway Skagit Valley

If tech overload has been a side effect of the pandemic for your family, book some time at Seattle’s new vacation spot—Getaway Skagit Valley. It takes everything families love about camping—being outside, spending time together and cooking over a campfire—and combines it with a philosophy of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation that allows you to get away from it all—including screens. As a matter of fact, there’s no cell or WiFi coverage anywhere near Getaway’s Outposts, which frees you and the kids up for those low-tech activities you’re always trying to do more of anyway, like reading, journaling and playing games. Getaway’s Skagit Valley location makes it an easy launching pad for outdoor adventure too—whether you want to tiptoe through the tulips in April, explore Deception Pass in the summer or chill in the wilderness this winter.

Mt. Vernon, WA
Learn more here.

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

This much-anticipated immersive art experience opened this fall, and families have been lining up since day one to see it. Between the 360-Immersive room, the interactive art station and the VR experience that lets you experience a day in the life of the artist, it’s a hit for kids of all ages. They’ll love the bold, bright scenes of Van Gogh’s paintings that come to life in the immersive room. Crabs crawl, wagons roll and paintings dissolve from one scene to the next, as the narrator explores Van Gogh’s life and work. The VR experience is definitely best for older kids, but everyone in the fam can get in on coloring a Van Gogh painting and displaying it for all to see. The exhibit will be in Seattle through the spring, at least.

1750 Occidental Ave. S.
Seattle, WA
Learn more here.

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Awesome Exhibition

It’s always exciting when a new LEGO exhibit makes its way into town. The Awesome Exhibition at Fisher Pavilion keeps the tradition alive. LEGO lovers of all ages will get a kick out the impressive creations, designed by LEGO Certified Professional, Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught, starting with the Space Needle. Beyond Seattle’s most iconic symbol, families can explore the intricacies of the Sydney Opera House, Roswell (complete with aliens), the DeLorean from Back to the Future and other intricate creations. When you’re through admiring, try your own hand at design at one of the building stations. Just be warned, you kids may not want to leave!

Fisher Pavilion
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA
Learn more here.

photo: Allison Sucliffe

Fantastic New Playgrounds

New playgrounds are always worth celebrating, and 2021 saw a whole slew of new places where kids can slide, swing and spin. The award-winning Juanita Beach Park and the Gene Coulon Memorial Beach playground are both worth a visit if you haven’t been yet. Is there really any better way to play than by the beach? Sunset Neighborhood Park in Renton and the new West Fenwick playground in Kent (pictured) also top our list. The climbing structures at Sunset Park are not for the faint of heart, and West Fenwick’s colorful, game-board-style playground will enthrall players of all ages. Finally, if you’re up for a ferry ride, check out Kids Up!, an all-abilities playground on Bainbridge Island.

—Allison Sutcliffe


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