11 Fantastic Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend

We know many Seattle families will be hitting the highways and byways this Memorial Day Weekend with cars packed full of camping gear. But for those families sticking close to home (you know who you are… been there, done that, never again with little ones), we’ve rounded up 11 activities to keep everyone in your crew happy and entertained over the three-day weekend.

Northwest Folklife Festival

photo: Christopher Nelson, courtesy of Northwest Folklife  

Northwest Folklife Festival
There’s no shortage of fun things to see, do and eat at the 44th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival. One of the largest free folk festivals in the country, this annual festival features over 7,000 diverse performers, participatory dances, workshops, arts and crafts and food booths galore! For younger festivalgoers, the Discovery Zone will offer tons of hands-on workshops and activities as well as an all-ages Drawing Jam produced by the Gage Academy of Art and a rhythm instrument exploration experience from Seattle Children’s Museum. Family-friendly performances will take place in the Discovery Zone throughout the four-day festival including a special Kindiependent Showcase on Monday with kindie faves—The Harmonica Pocket, The Not-Its!, Recess Monkey, Johnny Bregar and Brian Vogan & his Good Buddies. Fri., May 22 through Sun., May 24 from 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Mon., May 25 from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. (Discovery Zone open daily, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.). Seattle. Free. All ages. Event details.

Artists at Play Playground Grand Opening
Kick off your Memorial Day Weekend by celebrating the grand opening of one of the largest interactive playgrounds in the Pacific Northwest. This awesome new playground at the Next 50 Plaza at Seattle Center will feature a 35-foot climbing tower, colorful labyrinth, ADA-accessible carousel, kid-inspired musical instruments, listening stations, sound swings, play mounds and “story lines.” During the special grand opening ceremony, enjoy a performance by Northwest Tap Connection, Simba Youth Marimba, drummer Steve Roy and spoken word artist Adilla Scott. Then, help break through the ribbon and be the first to officially PLAY! Fri., May 22 at noon. Seattle. Free. All ages. Event details

sesame street let's dance

photo: Sesame Street Live

Sesame Street Live: “Let’s Dance!”
Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy this up-close, interactive dancing experience with all of your favorite Sesame Street friends (think Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Abby Cadabby). During this awesome show, Elmo will use his imagination to “Do the Robot,” Cookie Monster will teach you all “feets” to dance and Ernie will share the fun of dance with the Sesame Street favorite “Shake Your Head One Time.” Fri., 10: 30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m.; 
Sat., 10:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.; Sun., 1 p.m. Everett. $13 to $64. Tickets required. All ages. Event details.

Family Science Weekend
After you hit the Northwest Folklife Festival, take the fam to Pier 59 to learn about the cool science and research projects taking place at the Seattle Aquarium. In addition to lots of hands-on activities, enjoy special talks and demonstrations that will help you discover science in a new and fun way. Fri., May 22 through Mon., May 25 from 11:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Seattle. $14.95 to $21.95 (3 & under and members Free). All ages. Event details.

All aboard! Visit the Northwest Railway Museum for a unique living history experience that has been a part of western Washington since 1957. Northwest Railway Museum visitors can catch a train to another time where they experience how railroads influenced settlement and everyday life in Washington State. Full passenger round- trip excursions are 75 minutes long and begin on Saturday, April 5th. Each Saturday and Sunday through October*, the Northwest Railway Museum offers scenic rides through the Cascade Foothills to the top of Snoqualmie Falls. Visitors explore train cars, exhibits, and a Victorian-era depot while following in the footsteps of more than 1 million travellers who have passed through its doors since 1890. They also experience travel before the age of Interstate highways while seeing, riding and feeling the excitement of a working railroad with all of its bells and whistles. Regular trains operate weekends beginning April 5th and run through October 19th. Passengers board the train in Snoqualmie, 38625 SE King Street, at 12:01 p.m., 1:31 p.m. or 3:01 p.m., or in North Bend, 205 McClellan Street, at 12:31 p.m. or 2:01 p.m. Admission is: $10 children, $15 seniors, $18 adults, under 2 ride free. The historic 1890 Snoqualmie Depot and bookstore are open to the public 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily. Interested in becoming a Northwest Railway Museum member, go to www.trainmuseum.org. For more info call (425) 888-3030 or visit www.trainmuseum.org. *Regular round-trips suspended during Day Out With Thomas™, July 11-13 and 18-20, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend Train Rides
If you and the kiddos are itching to get out of the city for the day, head east to North Bend and celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with a scenic train ride. This special 75-minute steam train run is in addition to the railroad’s usual weekend train schedule and will take you through the Cascade foothills of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley, including a ride to the top of Snoqualmie Falls. Before or after your trip, be sure to explore the cute town of North Bend or stop by Snoqualmie FallsSat., May 23 through Mon., May 25 from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. North Bend. $10 to $18 (under 2 free). Tickets required. All ages. Event details.

Big Top Rock: Dream On
This rockin’ family show (back by popular demand!) will take place under Teatro ZinZanni’s iconic tent and feature an awesome mix of rock ‘n roll and cirque performances. Your kids will learn to mosh; fans will transform into rockers; roadies will take flight; and stars will become legends! With a rock repertoire of timeless hits and a band made up of all girls (and one guy), this show isn’t just for kids. Sat., May 23 and Sun., May 24 at 11 a.m. Seattle. $20 to $25 (babes in arms free). Tickets required. All ages. Event details.

Malia Racing

photo: Marcy Grantor

Memorial Day Weekend Run
If a run around the park is what your kiddos need to get the ya-yas out, lace up your tennis and participate in this fun Memorial Day Weekend run! Participants can choose a 5K, 10K or 15K run/walk as well as a Kid’s Dash. The 400-meter Kid’s Dash (for ages 2-10) will start 15 minutes before race time—giving you the perfect chance to run with your kiddo and get warmed up before your race. Insider Tip: When everyone’s done, let Fido run free in the off-leash dog park, just around the corner from the starting line. Sat., May 23 at 10 a.m. Seattle. $3 to $36. Registration required. Ages 2 & older. Event details.

Kitsap Harbor Festival
If you’re looking for a fun day trip that also involves a ferry ride, this annual waterfront festival, held at both the Bremerton and Port Orchard downtown waterfronts over Memorial Day Weekend, is sure to be a big hit. Get a close-up look at the tall ships, grab some local eats, catch a classic car show and enjoy more than 50 food and craft booths as well as the awesome KidZone—pirate ship treehouse included! Sat., May 23 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., May 24 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Bremerton/Port Orchard. Free. All ages. Event details.

Join us at the Museum on Memorial Day, as we remember the great citizens who protected our freedom! Kids and families can honor those who have served our country by creating Memorial Day paper poppies.

photo: Seattle Children’s Museum

Memorial Day at Seattle Children’s Museum
Join the folks at the Seattle Children’s Museum on Memorial Day to remember the great citizens who protected our freedom. Families can honor those who have served our country by creating Memorial Day paper poppies and participating in other fun projects around the Museum. Mon., May 25 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Seattle. $7.25 to $8.25 (under 1 and members free). Ages 10 months to 10. Event details.

Memorial Day Ceremony
Teach your kids the importance of Memorial Day by taking them to this annual ceremony held at the Museum of Flight. The Museum will honor military service with patriotic music and a ceremony, plus all veterans and active U.S. Military personnel will receive FREE admission with identification. Mon., May 25 at 11 a.m. Seattle. Free. All ages. Event details.

Flying Heritage Collection’s Tankfest Northwest
This Memorial Day, hear the rumble and boom of vintage tanks and artillery at the Flying Heritage Collection’s fourth annual TankFest Northwest. This family event will feature military vehicles and cannons, remote control tanks, food and lots of family fun. Bonus: All veterans will receive FREE admission. Mon., May 25, 2015 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Everett. $10 to $14 (5 & under and veterans Free). All ages. Event details

Are you sticking around town this three-day weekend? What do you have planned? Let us know in the Comments below.

— Kristina Moy