Keepin’ Busy: 75 Things to Check off Your Summer Bucket List

School’s out for summer which means the search is on for ways to avoid the dreaded “I’m bored” complaints coming from your kid crew. Luckily, there’s no shortage of parks, beaches, wading pools, museums and more just begging to be explored with your fearless leaders. We’ve rounded up 75 of our favorite kid-friendly activities to do around the Emerald City. It’s time to take summer by the horns and soak it all up!

greenlake wading pool

photo: Kalyn Gustafson

1. Cool off a one of Seattle’s many wading pools or spray parks (as long as the forecast calls for 70 degrees or above). Check the updated schedule.

2. Introduce your mini-me to a slurpable, creamy, sweet treat at one of our favorite places for boba tea.

3. Splish and splash on those hot summer days at one of these awesome spray parks or beaches on the Eastside.

4. Get out of your ‘hood and explore a new-to-you park from Auburn to Everett.

5. Grab your blankets and movie snacks—summer in the city means an array of family screenings under the stars.

6. Book an easy weekend getaway to Pebble Cove Farm. You can thank us later.

7. Head south to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and take advantage of this lesser known, but drive-worthy kid mecca. Psst! Admission is pay as you will.

8. The Fun Forest at the Seattle Center may be long gone (RIP), but Wild Waves Theme Park is the place to go for water slides and carnival rides galore!

wild waves hang glider

photo: Kristina Moy

9. Grab your little paddlers and get ready to abandon land for a water adventure.

10. Rainy summer day? Grab some friends and head to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. It’s a surprisingly fun rainy day adventure.

11. Hit the trails—the mountain biking trails—at Duthie Hill Bike Park.

12. Take your little sprouts on a trek through Seattle’s p-patch gardens or sign them up for fun camp at Seattle Tilth.

13. Cougars? In Issaquah? (No, not that kind of cougar!) We love the Cougar Mountain Zoo!

14. Summertime is made for free (outdoor) summer concerts and the city of Seattle will be rockin’ all summer long.

15.  Explore the good, the bad and the downright ugly side of the human body at GROSSOLOGY: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body. It’s totally entertaining, totally gross and totally fun!

grossology

photo: Kristina Moy 

16. Hit a hole in one or at least putt a few balls around the course at one of Seattle’s kid-friendly golf courses or mini golf courses.

17. Hit the coolest indoor pool north of Seattle. It’s the perfect place to escape the rain clouds or beat the summer heat.

18. Ride the free ferry to Jetty Island. Daily runs start on July 5 and run through September 7, 2015.

19. You don’t want to miss Thomas the Tank Engine, Sir Topham Hatt and their Sodor friends at this annual meet and greet at Northwest Railway Museum.

20. Take advantage of free entrance to our state’s national parks and go exploring with the fam.

mount rainier

photo: Kristina Moy

21. Got a crew of early risers? Mix up your early morning routine by checking out these local adventures that open early.

22. Sample some of Seattle’s best places to eat… all at once! The Bite of Seattle is a summer fave and admission is always free.

23. Rent a cozy cabin at one of our favorite Washington State parks. It’s the easiest way to get close to nature without nature getting too close to you.

24. Prime tide pool season is here. Take your budding marine biologists on a family tide pooling adventure to look for sea stars, moon snails and other creatures.

Beach Naturalist Seattle Aquarium

 photo: Seattle Aquarium 

25. For those busy days when art is definitely on the menu but a big clean up isn’t, shuttle your mini Monet over to Seattle’s newest art studio, West Seattle Art Nest.

26. At Artists at Play, kids can engage their senses through musical instruments, listening stations and sound swings. Psst! Pack a lunch and make an afternoon of it.

27. Explore the home of the Hawks and the 11th largest city in Washington.

28. Family-friendly concerts, face painting and activities at University Village? Yes, please!

29. Lace up your hiking boots and hit one of our favorite waterfall hikes. Psst! They’re totally tot-friendly.

waterfall hike moran state park

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

30. Beat the heat at America’s Car Museum—your one stop shop for fuel-injected fun!

31. It’s time to act like a tourist for the day and visit (or revisit) some favorite touristy Seattle hot spots.

32. Sure you’ve been camping, but how about camping in a yurt?

33. When the mercury really starts to heat up, make a day of it at one of these outdoor community pools.

34. Take your future farmers to Kelsey Creek Farm to meet the park’s resident animals or take a farm tour with Farmer Jayne.

35. Book a trip to Tillicum Village on Blake Island. Your kids will love riding the Argosy cruise ship and exploring the island. And everyone will love the salmon bake and lively entertainment.

tillicum-village-blake-island

photo: Kristina Moy

36. Pack up the family roadster and hit a kid-friendly campground. Don’t forget to bring along the s’mores makings.

37.  If you’ve got a pooch and a kid (or multiples of either), hit one of our favorite off-leash areas designed for tots and their favorite four-legged friends.

38. When the crafting bug bites, take your little Picasso to one of our favorite drop-in craft havens to get his or her crafting on.

39. Cool off with a scoop (or two!) of your fave ice cream, custard, gelato or froyo in Seattle or on the Eastside.

40. Ever wanted to travel to a galaxy far, far away for a view of the night sky? Now you can  without needing to launch in a rocket ship.

41. Stay cool this summer with free games of bowling.

42. With the Space Needle’s SkyPad, you and your crew can explore the Needle’s past, present and future like never before. Psst! The ride to the top is one the Littles will never forget!

space needle skypad

photo: Kristina Moy 

43. Don’t feel like cooking? Kids can dine for FREE every night of the week at several Seattle-area restaurants.

44. While hiking Mt. Si should be reserved for an adult-only day date, Little Si is the perfect challenge for kids who are up to more than a leisurely nature stroll.

45. Aerial obstacle courses—filled with rope ladders, swinging bridges and zip lines—are the perfect spots for little adrenaline junkies to go wild.

46. Do your kiddos love creepy crawlers or slithering snakes? Indulge them with a trip to the Reptile Zoo.

47. Mark your calendars! These popular summer festivals are not only fun, but they’re totally free!

Vashon Island Strawberry Festival

photo:  Vashon Chamber of Commerce

48. Got a little monkey who loves to climb trees? With Canopy Climbers, intrepid climbers of all fitness levels can give recreational tree climbing a try—no experience needed!

49. Spend the day playing tourist in Seattle.

50. Go berry picking—strawberries in June, raspberries in July and blueberries in August.

51. Planning a birthday party this summer? Blow out the candles at one of these Seattle-area sporty party spots.

52. Hit Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this summer where you can ride a camel, meet the clouded leopard cubs, check out the new Jammin’ with Jellies exhibit and see wonder dog Dr. Bones hunt for the Golden Treasure at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater show.

Point Defiance Zoo 063

photo: Kristina Moy

53. From indoor to outdoor to group to private, Seattle has plenty of swimming schools to suit your water bug’s age, skill level and personality.

54. Email your mama friends and get together for a mid-day meal at one of these casual eateries both you and your little ones will enjoy.

55. A gurgling urban fountain can provide hours of free entertainment.

56. Zip through these cool Seattle parks your tykes will love.

57. Try one (or more) of these brain-stimulating outings the whole family will enjoy.

58. Visit the Gum Wall in Post Alley, run the bases at Safeco Field, and hit these eight other bucket list items for kids under 10.

gum wall pike place

photo: Kristina Moy

59. Take a weekend staycation at one of our favorite family-friendly hotels.

60. Ride scooters or bikes through the mile-long tunnel that goes from Sam Smith Park in Mt. Baker to the I-90 lid. Then turn around and come back and play at the playground.

61. Up the dining out fun factor at these six Seattle-area establishments that provide good eats with a side of entertainment for the kiddies.

62. Take a tour of the Boeing factory where they make real-life airplanes and watch your plane-crazy kid’s eyes go wide with excitement.

63. Grab a curbside seat along 4th Ave. to see this magnificent summer parade make its way through downtown Seattle.

64. You know we love Portland Red Tricycle – check the events calendar and plan a weekend getaway to Seattle’s sister city to the south!

65. Pack a picnic lunch and hit the trails of Tiger Mountain.

001_TigerMountainHike-Sign-RedTri

photo: Natalia Dotto Photograhy

66. The city of Tukwila is loaded with kid-friendly attractions. Psst! It’s a destination worthy of repeat visits.

67. Stumped on where to wow visiting friends and family with the city’s food scene? Try one of our family-friendly recommendations.

68. Kids tired of their toys? Rent high quality toys that will encourage exploration and investigation, observation and experimentation, predicting and estimating and imagination and creating from Rent the ToyChest.

69. Grab a “discovery backpack” at this Bellevue nature center and explore the outdoors with your kid crew.

70. Treat your tots to an indoor beach day complete with tropical-themed food and games.

71. Take the bus downtown and get lost in a good read at the mother ship. Then, stroll through the Pike Place Market to pick up fresh fruits and veggies. Don’t forget dessert—mini doughnuts anyone?

pike place market

photo: Kristina Moy

72.  Part farm, part carnival, this popular family attraction in Carnation has been entertaining families for decades and is the perfect place to spend a summer day.

73. Go on a mini family vaca where you don’t need to bring sunscreen, but you will need your swimsuits.

74. When the need to become one with nature strikes, head out to one of these tranquil gardens chock-full of blooming blossoms, rushing waterfalls and places to rejuvenate. Psst! They are totally kid-friendly.

75. Find a new way to get to Alki Beach—take the Water Taxi. Psst! You might even see a few Seafair pirates.

What do you have planned with the kids this summer? Share your ideas with us in the Comments below.

— Kristina Moy