If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that we were vacationing in the PNW for spring break. We were so, so excited to explore a different part of the country and spend time with family who live far away from us. I thought it would be fun to share the family friendly activities in Seattle and surrounding areas.
We flew into Seattle, rented a car, and drove to Anacortes. I’ve heard that Seattle’s traffic is bad, but even at lunch time it wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t any worse than Raleigh’s traffic in the morning. (Now, going back to Seattle was a different story!!)
Our first day was a lot of catching up with family and spending time together. The next day, we went to Vancouver, British Columbia. This was the first time our kids had been to another country, so we planned a half-day trip to Vancouver. Our intention was to go to Stanley Park, park, and then figure out what to do from there. All the research I did online about Vancouver suggested Stanley Park. Everyone was right! There is so much to do, you really need more than a day to see it all.
We decided to visit the aquarium. After that we took a very short walk through the park and drove around part of the sea wall. I could’ve walked around Stanley Park all day!
The next day, we headed down to Seattle. We planned a full day in the city and started at the Chihuly Glass & Garden. There is a kiosk at the door where you can purchase discounted tickets to Seattle attractions. The City Pass has five tickets with two of the tickets having two options. We weren’t sure if we could fit in all five, so did the cheaper 4-ticket option.
The Chihuly Glass and Garden was so cool. I honestly could’ve spent more time there. We caught the tail end of the movie about Chihuly, and it was very interesting.
It was close to lunch time, and we were headed to the Pacific Science Center (where we would be spending a large chunk of time), so we headed to a nearby food court. We ate some really, really good food. The kids made their own pizzas at Mod Pizza, and my husband ordered us some Chinese food. After that, we headed to the Pacific Science Center, which was so much fun. They had a ton of fun exhibits for the kids (and adults). We spent quite a lot of time there, and I’m not sure we saw everything. My favorite part was the butterfly garden. I held two butterflies, and our oldest son held one. It was so cool!
After the Pacific Science Center, we took the monorail to Pike Place Market.
When we got off the monorail, went headed straight to Pike Place Market. We grabbed some ice cream, took a quick pic at the original Starbucks and headed into the huge line of market stalls. I wanted to go into the original Starbucks, but there was a huge line. And as a party of 11 (4 adults, 7 kids), it just didn’t seem like a good use of time. We grabbed coffee and mug at the other Starbucks in the area.
We saw all the usual things in Pike Place — all the stalls of flowers, the fish market where they throw the fish, and even the gum wall. As you can see above, the cherry blossoms were in bloom when we were there.
After a long walk around the market and a short stop at the Target where the kids though the cart escalator was hilarious, we headed back to the monorail. Once off the monorail, we headed straight to the Space Needle. There was a long line to get in, but it was well worth the wait.
We went to the top floor first. That floor has refreshments, places to sit, and the outdoor seating area. The outdoor area has glass benches and a glass wall. The next floor down used to be a rotating restaurant, but it is now a viewing area. It still rotates, and it has a glass floor. I thought the glass floor would make me nervous, but I honestly felt safe and it was a lot of fun to see a different angle of Seattle.
The next day was Easter, so we headed to church and spent the rest of the day with family and friends. It was a wonderful rest day after all the walking we had done the previous two days.
For our last day in the PNW, we took a whale watching tour that started in Anacortes, but right before that we decided to stop by Roozengarde to see the tulips. We weren’t able to make it in to see the gardens, but we got a few pictures at the front.
Our whale watching tour was 5 hours long, and we saw much beautiful scenery. Sadly, we didn’t see any whales. In fact, none of the wildlife boats out on that day saw whales. It just wasn’t our day! The tour we took actually guarantees a whale sighting, so we can take another tour free of charge. There is no expiration, so we could wait as long as we want to take another tour. We can even give them to someone else, if we are not able to travel back.
We did see other wildlife, including a coyote on one of the many islands, lots of bald eagles, sea lions, and porpoises. The trip alone was worth the price, and we were all very happy to have the experience despite not seeing whales.
The next day, we were up bright and early to catch a flight home. If you are traveling to the PNW, I hope this gave you some inspiration for family friends activities to do in the area. There were many, many more things we didn’t fit in, so hopefully we’ll be able to explore the area again in the future.