Those first few weeks after school lets out are always the best. The kids are excited to have a break, parents are happy to get in some quality time with little ones and the possibilities for summer fun seem endless. Then, at a certain point, for some of us parents, we may run out of ideas for keeping the whole family entertained. Or, we start worrying about the dreaded “summer learning loss,” when children and teens begin to forget some of the things they’ve learned during the previous school year. There is a way to solve both problems at once and that’s by adding a few activities that combine fun and learning to your itinerary. The families at our Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek, WA orthodontic offices have the benefit of living near Seattle, which happens to be full of activities and destinations to help you do just that. Here’s the Richard Chan Orthodontics team’s five favorite educational family activities in Seattle to try out this summer:
- The Museum of Flight – 9404 E. Marginal Way South – On those rainy days when you’re on the hunt for indoor family activities in Seattle, the Museum of Flight is a good option. It’s the largest non-profit, independent air and space museum in the world and you can see over 175 aircrafts, including spacecrafts, millions of rare photographs and tons of artifacts that walk you through the history of flight. There’s also a Kids’ Flight Zone, flight simulators that put you in the pilot seat and tons of exhibits that change frequently. The Museum of Flight is open daily from 10am to 5pm. On the first Thursday of each month, the museum is also open from 5 to 9pm with free admission!
- The Pacific Science Center – 200 Second Ave North – Another place for family fun activities in Seattle is the Pacific Science Center. It brings science to life and is perfect for stirring up curiosity in children and adults alike with hands-on science excitement, interactive programming, a planetarium, exhibits, including living exhibits and outdoor exhibits, two IMAX theaters, the Tropical Butterfly House with new butterflies released each week, a science playground and more. Kids of all ages will have a blast and there’s even a play area especially for toddlers. The Pacific Science Center is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10am to 6pm.
- The Seattle Children’s Museum – 305 Harrison Street – For Seattle kids’ activities, look no further than the Seattle Children’s Museum. You won’t have to warn kids not to touch things because they can explore, touch and climb on pretty much everything. The museum features over 22,000 square feet of play space geared towards kids aged 10 months to 10 years and their families. It’s all about hands-on learning, creativity and fun. Kids can be stars and put on a theatre production in the Bijou Theatre, take a trip around the world in the Global Village, put on their hard hats and build a fantastic creation in the Dunn Lumber Construction Zone, pretend to be a conductor in the Sound Transit exhibit, create a masterpiece in the Imagination Studio or slide down a glacier on the Mountain exhibit. The Seattle Children’s Museum hours are 10am to 5pm, Tuesday through Sunday.
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- Museum of History and Industry– 860 Terry Ave North – The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) is amazing for visitors of all ages and it’s really one of the best educational family activities in Seattle. MOHAI has collected and preserved artifacts from the Puget Sound region and highlights our tradition of innovation and imagination. The museum itself is beautiful and full of family-friendly activities and exhibits with interactive elements. In addition to the regular and rotating exhibits, parents of tiny tots will want to take part in MiniMOHAI, which takes place every Monday in July and August from 10am to 1pm. The program is designed for kids aged three- to five-years-old and their caregivers and includes interactive pop-up exhibits all about life in Seattle. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm. On the first Thursday of each month, the museum is open from 10am to 8pm and general admission to the permanent exhibits is free!
- Seattle Center Festál Cultural Festivals – 305 Harrison Street – The city hosts an array of festivals and they make for amazing family activities in Seattle. They are a great way for kids to learn about different cultures, try new foods and see fun sights. The Seattle Center Festál is especially outstanding. The yearlong series offers free weekend festivals featuring 23 ethnic communities who share their culture and community with attendees. The events have music, hands-on exploration, dance, food, exhibits, children’s activities and much more. On the schedule this summer:
- Festival Sundiata Black Arts Fest – Armory Main Level, Fisher Pavilion, Saturday, June 16 (noon to 8pm) and Sunday, June 17 (noon to 6pm)
- Polish Festival Seattle – Armory Main Level, Mural Amphitheatre, Saturday, July 7 from noon to 8pm
- Iranian Festival – Armory Main Level, Saturday, August 11 from 11am to 7pm
- BrasilFest – Armory Main Level, Mural Amphitheatre, Sunday, August 19 from 11am to 7pm
- Tibet Fest – Armory Main Level, Saturday, August 25 and Sunday, August 26 (times TBA)
- Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival – Armory Main Level, Fisher Pavilion Rooftop, Mural Amphitheatre, Sunday, September 9 (times TBA)
- Seattle Fiestas Patrias – Armory Main Level, Fisher Pavilion, Seattle Center Pavilion, Saturday, September 15 (noon to 9pm) and Sunday, September16 (noon to 6pm)