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Lora Shinn

Seattle, Washington

MY KIDS

My Travel Style

I like traveling to cities with my kids, and visiting art museums, zoos, historical sites. We love going on walking tours, hitting all the best destinations, and sometimes just hanging out at the cafes.

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Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)

860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, Washington

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2013-07-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-08 16:44:47.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and teens (13+)

History Made Interesting

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This museum was recently revamped (the older institution was a bit sleepy) and now features many hands-on exhibits, such as placing railroad spikes with a hammer and a periscope for viewing the region’s boats and seaplanes. Three floors of permanent and temporary pieces focus on Seattle’s history from raucous frontier town to a tech-centric destination, but with plenty of light-up and interactive pieces. We ask the front desk to borrow one of the activity and puzzle-filled Exploration Packs (ages 3-7) or Innovation Packs (ages 7-10).

Tips for Families

On-site cafe offers healthy, kid-friendly fare.

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Columbia Center Sky View Observatory

701 5th Ave, Seattle, Washington

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2013-07-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-08 16:42:22.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and teens (13+)

Picture Perfect Views

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If you’ve done the Space Needle before, the Columbia Center is a great alternative. Ride the elevator to the 76th floor (1000 feet into the air), and head to The Columbia Center Observation Deck, the tallest public viewing area west of the Mississippi. Kids and parents will both enjoy the 360-degree views and using the (free) binoculars to play spot-the-ferry or name-that-mountain (the observation deck’s interpretive maps help you ID the mountains). It’s indoors, so a fine place to go during a downpour.

Tips for Families

The tiny on-site snack bar offers noshes (nuts, bars, pop, etc.).

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Seattle Ferry Terminal

801 Alaskan Way, Seattle, Washington

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2013-05-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-08 16:38:26.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and teens (13+)

A Kid-Sized Cruise

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Part of the Washington State Highway System, these ships take passengers and vehicles to nearby islands, each island offering a distinctive feel. As foot passengers, we go to Bainbridge Island-bound ferry for a walkable village with great coffee, breakfast, shopping and the KiDiMu children’s museum. We go to the naval town of Bremerton for a longer ride (about an hour), and to tour the USS Joy & Museum, inside a retired ship. Either way, getting there is half the fun.

Tips for Families

Bring some cash to buy small treats and drinks in the on-board café.

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Seattle Public Library

1000 4th Ave, Seattle, Washington

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2013-08-01 | Submitted: 2013-12-31 18:07:28.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and teens (13+)

Not Your Average Library

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Like a toddler’s carefully constructed tower, the library’s ultra-modern, metal-wrapped exterior almost looks like it might topple. But head inside and let the “serendipity of the stacks” lead you from one floor to the next – even the elevator offers a surreal experience (it’s bright, neon green). The children’s books are on the first floor, and it’s a fine place for some quiet downtime during a fast-paced Seattle trip. Ride the elevator to the top floor for views of the city and the library’s interior.

Tips for Families

The teen area has a nice selection of manga (Japanese comics).

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Woodland Park Zoo

601 N 59th St, Seattle, Washington

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2013-04-01 | Submitted: 2013-12-31 18:05:16.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5), big kids (6-8) and teens (13+)

A Favorite Destination

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Woodland Park Zoo is where I always take out-of-town visitors; it’s just that great. The zoo’s sprawling campus is separated into continents where animals roam free, so one can actually travel around the world in a day (or afternoon). Younger kids like the realistic, East African-inspired African Village, the carousel and playing in the “Zoomazium” exhibit, an indoor climbing area. Older kids like feeding the Australian parrots at Willawong station and meeting wild creatures in the humid Tropical Rain Forest (including poison dart frogs and jaguars).

Tips for Families

On rainy days, "Zoomazium" is a safe bet.

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Uwajimaya

600 5th Ave. S, Seattle, Washington

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2013-06-01 | Submitted: 2013-12-31 18:02:02.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and teens (13+)

Eat Around the World

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A favorite place for locals and visitors alike, this giant supermarket is a testament to Seattle’s Pacific Rim influences in all forms. We browsed aisles bursting with exotic Asian fruits, Japanese candy, and fresh Filipino pastries. In the gift area, we found origami, super-cool bento boxes, Hello Kitty merchandise and other kids’ toys. The store’s small food court isn’t particularly compelling, but do look for the delightful Beard Papa pastries.

Tips for Families

A small Kinokuniya bookshop (inside Uwajimaya) has a great selection of Japanese books, erasers, stickers and comics.

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Seattle Art Museum

1300 First Ave, Seattle, Washington

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2013-08-01 | Submitted: 2013-12-31 17:46:51.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and teens (13+)

Family Art

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Works of modern and classical art fill this museum – but my kids will particularly enjoy the nine identical cars hanging from the ceiling with firework-like pulsing light tubes and the international galleries on the fourth floor, including African masks and Native American totem poles. Temporary exhibits have included European masters and art from around the world. Younger kids enjoy the third-floor “Knudsen Room,” which offers dress up and art-related toys and books, and is enclosed for free play.

Tips for Families

Look at SAM's website before visiting, and create a what-to-see plan.

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Museum of Flight

9404 E Marginal Way S, Seattle, Washington

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2013-03-01 | Submitted: 2013-12-31 17:42:35.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and teens (13+)

Imagination Takes Flight

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More than 150 types of aircraft are on view here, including a kid-operated hot-air-balloon basket. Inside, we pretend to conduct air traffic, or enjoy a tour of fancy planes like the Concorde. The museum’s special Kids’ Flight Zone is geared toward young children, but kids of all ages also enjoy visiting a spaceship’s interior in the “Space: The New Frontier” exhibit. The candy-colored biplanes and prop planes suspended from the ceiling in the a six-story-tall, Great Gallery are almost like history flying right by.

Tips for Families

Particularly great for transportation-obsessed toddlers and preschoolers, but wonderful for all ages.

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Discovery Park

3801 Discovery Park Blvd., Seattle, Washington

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2013-06-01 | Submitted: 2013-12-31 17:40:16.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5), big kids (6-8) and teens (13+)

Discovery Park

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To get an idea of the region’s diverse ecology, I brought the kids to Discovery Park, one of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s holdings, and the largest city park in Seattle. A very petite Environmental Learning Center introduces kids to the park's various trees and animals, and it’s not far from a shady playground. Along the bluff, we hiked past thickets and streams, then discovered two miles of tide pool-decorated beaches, a lighthouse, and sea cliffs. At low tide, look for sea creatures (crabs, anemones); at high tide, try hiking any one of the bluffside trails.

Tips for Families

Get a tidepool guide before you visit, so you can ID the beachside plants and creatures.

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Olympic Sculpture Park

2901 Western Ave., Seattle, Washington

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2013-08-01 | Submitted: 2013-12-31 17:36:53.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5), big kids (6-8) and teens (13+)

Outdoor Art Park

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This free, 365-day-a-year outdoor art park is open early (30 minutes before sunrise), and closes late (30 minutes after sunset), so it’s a nice, flexible attraction for travelers with limited time. Looming, gargantuan modern art pieces dot the pathways of this 9-acre park near the Seattle waterfront, with great run-ready paths for toddlers, preschoolers and big kids. Bring a stroller with big wheels for uneven pathways, and note the no-touching-the-art rules in place, even outside.

Tips for Families

Inside the PACCAR Pavilion on-site, check out the toddler/preschooler area's toys and books.

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