Family Travel: Park Hopping in Seattle, Flickr: dazzlingplacesdotcomseattle

Volunteer Park!

Seattle boasts one of the nation’s largest and most developed park systems.  Offering more than 400 parks, this handy list will help your family visit the best of the best.

Best for Wildlife: Discovery Park

Get active and outdoors at this 534-acre nature area in the heart of Seattle. This largest city park is beautiful and offers stunning views of the Puget Sound.  Two miles of tidal beaches can be explored here as well as forests, sand dunes, meadows, and thickets.  A children’s play area, picnic tables, and numerous trails and paths make for a great day of exploration.  Start your day in the Cultural Center for some great historical information.

Most urban park: Volunteer Park

Home of the Volunteer Park Conservatory and the Seattle Asian Art Museum, this park is now a Seattle Landmark.   Stunning views of the sound, mountains, and downtown offer plenty of eye candy.  Kids can climb to the top of the Water Tower (106 steps), play on the “Block” Playsculpture or children’s park, and listen to live music in the park at the Bandstand.

Best playground: Magnuson Park

The Junior League Playground featured in Magnuson Park is the largest playground in the city  with over 20,000 square feet of slides, swings, climbing structures, and playtime fun.  Enough said.

Best for Natural Play: Seward Park

Seward Park is known for its old-growth forest and miles of hiking trails.  Situated over Lake Washington, it is nearly surrounded by water.  The children’s play area has a newly renovated natural feel, and tons of interactive art is available to explore.  

Best for indoor fun: Gas Works Park

Although the hill at Gas Works Park is a popular spot to fly a kite overlooking the Seattle skyline, the real jewel is the original Gas Works exhauster-compressor building that now serves as a children’s play barn.  The barn features your typical kid-friendly slides and climbing structures but also a cleverly planned maze through the machinery.  The original boiler house has been converted into a great covered picnic and BBQ area.

Best All Around: Ravenna Park

Bordering Cowen Park by a deep ravine, this park offers incredible diversity.  Climb, jump, slide, and play indoors at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center or get outdoors and hike some interesting trails.  Explore the wetlands and wilderness or play on the giant play structures.  Even more fun?  Ride the zip line.

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photo: dazzlingplacesdotcomseattle

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