What a difference a year makes. New swim schools opened in town, a popular museum moved into a new home and received state-of-the-art upgrades, an awesome playground took Seattle kids by storm and several new family attractions sprouted up around the city. Scroll down to see the 9 best things to arrive on the Seattle kiddie scene in 2019.

photo: Goldfish Swim School

Goldfish Swim School

Families in Shoreline have been happy as a clam with the city’s Goldfish Swim School, so it’s no surprise that little guppies on the Eastside swam excitedly to explore Redmond’s new location. The 8,500 square foot swim school offers a wide range of swimming classes for children ages 4 months old to 12 (of all skill levels) at times that are convenient and flexible for every family’s schedule as well as family swims (for both members and non-members) in their 90 degree heated pool. Facility highlights include an air conditioned viewing gallery for parents to watch lessons, dry private family changing huts and private family showers, a snack bar, retail shop and warm and tropical décor, plus fantastic party packages.

7330 164th Ave. N.E., Suite E105
Redmond, WA 98052
425-448-7034
Online: goldfishswimschool.com/redmond

15901 Westminster Way N.
Shoreline, WA 98133
206-866-2849
Online: goldfishswimschool.com/shoreline

photo: Burke Museum

Burke Museum

The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture moved to its sparkly new digs this past fall. The 113,000 square foot building (which still has that new museum smell) is 66 percent larger than its old facility and comes with a lot of new changes and additions. First of all, you'll see scientists at work—they're actually on display! Little white boards posted at the large windows will tell you what they are up to and in same cases, you'll be invited inside. New family spaces have been designed allowing your little guys and gals to climb, crawl, look, touch and even ultimately learn as they explore. Here, kids can also climb on an orca whale, investigate a large log, explore a tide pool, board a Northwest Indian canoe, check out a research tent and dress up like animals and see how well they blend in at the "camouflage corner."

Burke Museum
4300 15th Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105
206-543-7907
Online: burkemuseum.org

photo: T-Mobile Park

T-Mobile Park

Not only did Seattle see a transitioning of names of the ballpark formerly known as Safeco Field to T-Mobile Park with a decidedly magenta hue, but a change of menu offerings as well. While a hot dog might always taste better at a ballpark, why stop there? This spring, more tasty treats came to T-Mobile Park with the help of James Beard Award Semifinalist Chef Ethan Stowell. New tasty treats added to the already extensive menu of items included the half pound Crowd Cow burger with Japanese-styled seasoned KuKu Fries (pictured above), Fat’s Chicken and Waffles, Paseo Carribbean Sandwiches and even a new signature cocktail inspired by the Mariners new partnership with T-Mobile Park.

T-Mobile Park
1250 First Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98134
Online: mlb.com/mariners/ballpark/top-eats

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Defy Tacoma Trampoline Park

South Sound parents who were causalities of cabin fever celebrated the opening of Defy Tacoma, the area’s newest indoor trampoline and air sports park. It’s the energy burning, indoor activity parents and kids crave on rainy days. Defy Tacoma has the requisite open jump space where kids can bounce from one tramp to the next, until they can’t bounce anymore. There’s also a netted dodge ball court, complete with a referee who not only keeps a watchful eye on things, but also establishes some rules so players can make the most of game time. The basketball court is great for kid dunks and the adjacent ninja warrior course is challenging no matter what your age. Other familiar attractions include circus favorites like the slack line, cloud swings and trapeze bar.

Defy Tacoma
1680 S. Mildred St.
Tacoma, WA 98465
253-300-3499
Online: defytacoma.com

photo: Kristina Moy

Meydenbauer Bay Park 

The long-awaited re-opening of Meydenbauer Bay Park opened for little park-goers making it a favorite summer destination location. The new seven-acre park boasts a quarter-mile of Lake Washington waterfront, a beautiful swimming beach and swimming platform, a 400-foot-long curved pedestrian pier that extends into the lake, a hand-carry boat launch, paved walkways, picnic areas and a fantastic playground. The park also features a hilltop overlook with gorgeous views of Seattle, a new beach house with restrooms, changing rooms and boat rentals (think: canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards) and a lifeguard station.

Meydenbauer Bay Park
419 98th Ave. N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004
Online: bellevuewa.gov/city-government/departments/parks/parks-and-trails/parks/meydenbauer-beach-park

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Ice Bumper Cars

Boasting of becoming the coolest thing to hit Seattle during the heatwave of the summer, Sprinker Recreation Center became just one of the 14 places in the world to offer ice bumper cars. The activity is sort of a mix of hockey, curling and bumper cars which sounds dangerous, but these guys glide across the ice with the greatest of ease and the big cushioned bump is less aggressive than the bumper cars found at traditional carnivals. In short, they’re an easy way for families to have fun on the ice with little skill involved. Each car is controlled by two joysticks that are so easy to use even toddlers and preschoolers can get in on the fun. They help you move forward and spin in either direction, in your pursuit of (or escape from) bumps. It doesn’t get easier than that!

Sprinker Recreation Center
14824 C St. S.
Tacoma, WA 98444
253-798-4000
Online: co.pierce.wa.us/1310/Sprinker-Recreation-Center

photo: Jeffrey Totey

Seattle Donut Boat Company

Just in time for summer, the Seattle Donut Boat Company opened and offered Seattle families one of the most unique and easy ways to travel across Lake Union. No skipper is required (although we aren't going to lie, keeping the boat headed in a straight path can be a challenge) and the crew will get you up and on your way in less than 10 minutes. These little guys will actually seat up to six people quite comfortably. Traveling at a top speed of four miles per hour, don’t expect to get anywhere fast (it will take you about 45 minutes to get from the dock to Gas Works Park) but the electric motor is super quiet. Each “donut” comes with a wide umbrella on top that can be opened or shut depending on your preference. And on chilly days, the Donut crew will even offer you a blanket or two before you go.

Seattle Donut Boat Co.
1001 Fairview Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
206-719-1773
Online: seattledonutboat.com

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Dune Peninsula

One of the most beautiful spots in the Northwest became more spectacular with the addition of Point Ruston’s new 40-acre park known as Dune Peninsula. This new park connects Point Ruston to Point Defiance Park and one of the best features in the “chutes and ladders” that line from the bridge down to the parking lot. There are six slides to ride down and a fun way to quickly get down to the marina complex below. There, you’ll find the new playground (which features a climbable ferry) and a splash pad designed to mimic salmon swimming upstream.

Dune Peninsula
5361 Yacht Club Rd.
Tacoma, WA 98405
253-305-1030
Online: metroparkstacoma.org/place/dune-peninsula/#about-dune-peninsula

 

photo: Katie Cotterill

Eagle Passage at Northwest Trek

Northwest Trek has always been a unique and different type of animal park and this past summer the park saw it’s new newest attraction, Eagle Passage, open to visitors for the first time. This walk-through exhibit is an open-air tunnel allow you to immerse yourself in the forested understory of vine maple, red alder, sword ferns and other native Northwest plants, but also allows you to gaze up into the piercing yellow eyes of the eagles through a protective mesh. You’ll see the big birds above and on either side perched on branches. And guess what? There are just as excited to meet you as you are to meet them. In the exhibit, your kids will also have the chance to crawl into a human-sized “nest” and spread their arms against an eagle’s wingspan. The entire exhibit is pretty incredible and it doesn’t cost a dime more to experience.

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
11610 Trek Dr. E.
Eatonville, WA 98328
360-832-6117
Online: nwtrek.org

—Jeffrey Totey

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