Seattle’s Seward Park, which stretches across Bailey Peninsula and juts into Lake Washington, can be summed up in one word: lovely. Okay, maybe two words: absolutely lovely. The park is three hundred plus square acres of old growth forest; walk into the wilds, and prepare to lose yourself to the wonders of nature.

Kids will jump at the chance to explore the children’s play area, recently renovated with a ‘naturalistic’ flavor. Let the little ones loose on the play structures and cable rides – don’t worry! There’s plenty for all – keep an eye on the whirl and the spring toys; the swings are another classic that hasn’t gone missing from this playground. When your kid tires of playing with the interactive art, you might want to try exploring the beautiful native plant gardens. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Grab the stroller or jogger and tool around the park’s 2.4 mile loop, which boasts one of the prettiest waterfront views in Seattle. Bring some binoculars and let the kiddos search for nesting eagles and other exotic park residents.

Kids of all ages will appreciate the activities offered by the Environmental and Audubon Center. The Toddler Tales and Trails program takes kids on short explores of the area, introducing children to nature and incorporating a short storytime held in an upstairs classroom.  You have the option to enroll your (slightly older) kids in one of the center’s must-visit summer camps, or can just drop in to explore the kid-friendly center itself. There’s also an Art Studio that offers classes for younger kids. Hot tip for the weekends: gather the whole family to enjoy Bicycle Sundays, when Lake Washington Boulevard is closed to traffic from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. south of Mount Baker Beach to Seward Park’s entrance.

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Be sure to visit the nearby Columbia City Bakery for some picnic fare before hitting the park – we love their fresh baked pretzel dogs and buttery croissants! If you’re in the mood for slightly more substantial fare, there’s plenty nearby. Check out Bent Burgers for ‘comically good food’ – the interior of the store is plastered with comic book covers and other memorabilia. Try the Flying Squirrel Pizza Company for some phenomenally excellent pies; the local PCC makes it a point to hand out a free piece of fruit to kids with every meal.