Family Fun in Seattle

Well, after a four week delay, we finally got our weekend in Seattle. We had enjoyed an unusual month of sunny weather in October with beautiful fall colours and sunshine most days and we had hoped the good weather would carry on into November for our weekend away, but when we left on Saturday it looked like our weather luck had run out. We drove across the border and down to the interstate with sheets of rain pelting down and huge puddles al over the road. A bit disappointing, but nothing unexpected in this part of the world in November.

Fortunately I had planned both good weather and rainy weather itineraries, so on the way down we stopped in Everett, about 45 minutes North of Seattle to check out the Imagine Children’s Museum.  This museum had been recommended to me by a co-worker and sure enough my children went wild in there. My husband did point out that it really was more of a glorified play place than a museum, but I figure that since young children learn through play, they’re really not going to benefit much from a museum where they can’t play. And there really was a lot of effort made into making the different areas somewhat educational, with a bus you can pretend to drive, a construction area where you can design and build structures and a farm area with a cow you can pretend to milk. On a side note, my three year old now refers to milk as “cow pee” so it’s not really clear what he actually learned through that experience, but at least he had fun!

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From Everett we went to check out the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company in North Seattle. It’s a neat space themed store with fun items like freeze dried astronaut food, books and maps and cute space themed T shirts. But the really cool thing about it is that all profits go to 826 Seattle, a nonprofit writing and tutoring centre for young people where writers volunteer their time to work with students. There is a tutoring room behind the store that is connected through a “space portal”. Unfortunately I didn’t realize this and was letting my kids go into the portal and spin themselves around for fun. I didn’t clue in until they started to come back into the store with school supplies they’d taken from the back room while wandering around in there without my supervision. Oops. Bad Mommy!

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After our space adventure we went to the city and checked into the Homewood Suites on Pike Street, which was lovely, just as they always seem to be. The kids were worn out from a busy day, so we made mac and cheese in our suite and put them to bed in the living area, retreating to the bedroom to read and watch TV in peace. Have I mentioned how much I love all suite hotels?

In the morning, we found that the wind and rain had disappeared and the skies were clear once again; a wonderful bonus since we had resigned ourselves to a rainy weekend. After breakfast at the hotel we walked about half a mile down Pike Street to the famous Pike Place Market. Even at 9 am on a Sunday it was bustling, but the crowds were much better than they were on previous visits in summer. We wandered around the stalls of fruits and vegetables, flower sellers, craft stalls and of course the famous seafood vendors. The kids and I both got a fright when we were admiring a huge monkfish and the guy behind the counter pulled a string hidden under the ice, making the fish jerk back several inches. I think we jumped back several feet in response!

My husband got some great pictures that in the clear autumn light.

From the market we walked down to Pioneer Square, enjoying the views of the water along the way. There was a Seahawks game on that afternoon and we were surrounded by people in blue and green jerseys, scarves and even face paint. We don’t follow American football and had no idea there was even a game on or how important it was, but we did enjoy the festive atmosphere and the enthusiasm of the fans. We went to an a huge toy store called Magic Mouse Toys with a huge selection of unique and interesting toys, games and books. We had to drag the kids out when we finally decided to get moving again.

The walk back to the hotel was over a mile and mostly uphill, but it helped that we passed the market again on the way back and were able to stop at Pike Place Chowder for lunch. I’m not a seafood fan myself, but my husband, who loves clam chowder and orders it whenever he can, has stated that Pike Place makes one of the best he’s ever tasted. I have to say that the chicken corn chowder isn’t bad either. Unfortunately my son would try neither the soup, the sourdough bread or the oyster crackers and sat at the table eating fish crackers from the package in my purse instead. I’m beginning to suspect that if they packaged up all the basic nutrients a child needs into some sort of bland, flavourless nuggets and sold it as kiddie kibble he’d be happy to just live on that for the rest of his life.

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Anyway, the soup gave us the energy we needed to drag the kids up the last hill back to the hotel, We collected the car and headed back onto the intestate with enough time to do some shopping on the way home. I’m not a big shopper, but with the Canadian dollar close to par I can’t resist the urge to pick up some items that are still 10-20 percent more expensive in Canada for some reason. (Yes, I’m looking at you Lego, book publishers and Disney Store!)

So that was our little getaway to Seattle. It really is a great family destination and when the weather cooperates, there really are few cities on earth that are as spectacularly scenic. And as we always tell each other after each visit, we’ll have to come back again sometime.

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