Seattle’s Best Public Art: Treasure Hunt for Families

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The High Point Phoenix Park Ampitheatre

Seattle has an amazing collection of public art, and hunting for it can liven up almost any outing with kids. The pieces are often larger than life, full of surprises and make aesthetically appealing climbing toys (though check for do-not-touch warnings first.) And if you think winter isn’t the best time to enjoy art that’s outside, these kid-friendly sculptures and spaces are actually cooler with a little drizzle.

The High Point Phoenix Amphitheater is a welcoming space to stage a show or turn a toddler loose on a scooter. Look for pillars carved with birds from around the world, which reflects the migration of the community’s diverse residents. And in the rain, a subtle phoenix emerges underfoot against the wet concrete. 6400 Sylvan Way NW, behind the Neighborhood House.

At the I-5 Collonade Park, an urban park under the freeway, trails converge on a simulated microclimate, complete with trees, lights that mimic the sun and moon and sprinklers that create man-made rainstorms. The mountain biking park can keep a child spellbound, but stay away from unfinished trails. Underneath I-5, south of E. Howe Street.

The Cloud Stones installation at Mineral Springs Park in North Seattle is just plain beautiful. It’s a winding path of polished stones that reflect the sky, describe the weather and are perfectly sized for leapfrogging. 1500 N. 105th Street.

Kids can chase the rain at Fremont’s Water Mover at Ernst Park, which funnels water through a series of stair-stepped red channels until it disappears into a mysterious blue bucket. It’s also a block from the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge, a dry haven in the rain. 723 N. 35th Street, next to the library.

To find more public art, check out the City of Seattle’s maps and walking tours or this online guide. Or please share the hidden gems in your own neighborhood.

—Jennifer Langston

—photo courtesy of the Pomegranate Center