{Click here for the previous installment of our Seattle trip recap – all about the food!}

Our first morning in the city, we were up early due to the time difference.  After breakfast, I knew exactly where I wanted to go first.  Kerry Park is in the Queen Anne’s Hill neighborhood and has incredible views of the city.  After looking at photos from this park online, I thought the map function on my phone was broken when it told me the park was only 10 minutes from the downtown hotel where we were staying. How would it be possible to get such a good view of the city while still being so close?  This is when we learned that Seattle is very hilly.  It’s only a 10 minute drive from downtown, but much of that was up very steep hills.  The views are pretty breathtaking and the neighborhood itself is gorgeous as well.  There is a nice park/play area there so we spent a lot of time just watching the kids play and taking in the view.

Later in the morning we headed over to the Pacific Science Center. It is a pretty good museum for kids and we enjoyed a lot of the exhibits.  Andrew especially loved the area with the dinosaurs. I liked the area with the shallows where we were able to touch a starfish.  So cool!  Caroline was super into this interactive part with a water sprayer, and unfortunately she had an epic maximum level meltdown when we finally separated her from it. I believe the museum is actually a lot bigger than what we were able to see but she was absolutely done.

Thankfully there was a man outside making balloon animals which solve every kind of problem, and Caroline was immediately better after that.  We walked across the courtyard to the Armory for lunch, and snapped a quick pic here in front of the Space Needle.
The second day we visited The Locks, a great place to see all sorts of boats coming in and out of Puget Sound. The kids loved seeing the boats and waving at all of the crew members they saw on deck.  The Locks are also right next to the botanical garden, which was absolutely gorgeous. This was a great place to walk around and let the kids run off some steam.

Next we headed over to the Space Needle. We were all reeeeallly excited about this after reading The Wheedle on the Needle countless times before the trip. (Also every time we saw the Needle from anywhere in the city, Caroline would shout “I see the Wheedle! I see the Wheedle’s nose!”)  I have a pretty intense fear of heights but I wasn’t about to let the kids’ experience be hindered by that, so I sucked it up and made the ride up to the top. It was actually completely awesome up there and I’m really glad I went.  The views from every side were absolutely breathtaking, and I still can’t get over how cool it was to see a big city, mountains, and ocean all in one place.

That afternoon, Caroline was completely worn out so while she napped at the hotel, Andrew and I spent some time walking around the city.  First we walked down to the pier and rode the ferris wheel.  Loved it!  Beautiful views up there.

I saw a short bit about the Seattle gum wall on TV years ago and I have always been weirdly fascinated by it and totally wanted to see it in person. This was a perfect little activity to kill some time while Andrew and I were out wandering around. I asked him if he wanted to see a wall covered in gum people had chewed, and if he might like to add his own contribution, and of course he was pumped about the idea.  This is pretty much right next to the market in a little alleyway.

Of course you know I was bursting with excitement to visit the Pike Place Market. After seeing pictures of this and hearing about it from friends visiting Seattle for years, I could not wait to check it out!  It was just a few blocks from our hotel which was awesome.  We didn’t buy much but had such a great time strolling past all of the booths and shops. I knew it would be big but I was really amazed at just how large it was.  The stalls just seemed to keep going and going!  We loved seeing all the fresh produce, seafood and other ingredients, and I totally wished we were staying someplace with a kitchen so I could put all of it to use!  More than the food though, I loved seeing all the fresh flowers.  So very many flower stands with SO many gorgeous varieties. If the kids hadn’t been there I probably would have just wandered up and down the market all day looking at the flowers.

Possibly my favorite place that we visited while still in the city was Discovery Park. Seattle’s public park system is truly fantastic and when I was browsing the different parks online, I knew we needed to check this one out. We accidentally parked on the wrong side of the park for where we wanted to walk to, but I ended up being glad because we got to go through this beautiful arch of trees.  It was lovely.

We walked a bit farther to get where we had actually intended to go in the first place, a nice hike along the edge of the hills overlooking the water that ended at West Point Lighthouse.  This was a very easy hike and the trail was well maintained. There were stunning views everywhere we looked.  We probably could have stayed there all day. All the kids wanted to do was throw rocks anyway.

Eventually our time in the city came to an end and we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, where we stayed for the rest of the week.  Riding the ferry was fun since it’s certainly not something we do in the midwest.  The kids especially loved it and (despite the photo here) ran aaalllll over the boat.

The guest house where we stayed was small and cozy but just right for our needs.  I won’t post the specifics of it here but if you are interested, feel free to email me via the contact form and I can give you more details.

This was the gorgeous view from the beach where our guest house was located.  A rock throwing paradise for the kids!

Our first full day out of the city, we decided to make the drive up to Olympic National Park. It isn’t exactly close, but it wasn’t too terribly far either. I just couldn’t pass up a chance to check it out. The day we went was fairly cold and many of the trails we wanted to do were closed for maintenance. However, the people working in the welcome center were very helpful in directing us to a trail that was manageable with kids.  I was in constant awe of the beauty of the forest and I hung back from the rest of the family most of the time just marveling in it.  I would love to go back someday and spend a much longer time exploring the trails there, hopefully when the kids are older and they can manage some of the more challenging hikes. There are some amazing sights yet to be seen.

Much of the rest of our time on Bainbridge was rather low key, spent reading, coloring, doing puzzles, throwing more rocks, etc.  However, we had noticed a sign we drove past a few times near our beach house for The Grand Forest. It looked pretty awesome just from the side of the road, so we decided to investigate. As it turned out, this was another incredibly breathtaking forest just minutes away from where we stayed. We hiked around there a bit and the woods were so, so beautiful.  I felt like we had stepped inside a fairy tale.  Again, I never wanted to leave.  (This is also where I took the photo from my recent Earth Day post.)

Needless to say, this trip was one we will never forget.  I’m sure we will be back some time in the future to continue exploring this rich and vibrant area.  Thanks for letting me share a bit about our adventures with you!

Note: When in Seattle, we stayed at Hotel 1000.  I would highly recommend it.  It was clean, the staff were extremely helpful and attentive, and it is in close proximity to a lot of great places in Seattle.  We were able to walk to a lot of what we wanted to do.  We loved it there!