• Happening this Weekend… Outside!

    October 26, 2018

    There is so much happening this weekend… outside! There are so many opportunities to get outside in the next few days. Looking for ideas? Visit the Project Nature activity page and search for activities near your family. Staying close to home? Visit the Project Nature resource page, blog, Instagram or Pinterest for ideas about how to spend time outside with your family. Before you start clicking away, keep reading to learn about what is happening throughout the greater Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia area this weekend. Go outside today and everyday!


    Family Nature Class

    Join us for a Family Nature Class and make connections with the natural world that will last a lifetime! Through science-based exploration and outdoor play preschoolers and their caregivers will experience the UW Botanic Gardens using their senses. Each class begins with an opportunity to explore several learning stations based on the week’s theme where children can practice fine motor skills, sensory investigation, creativity, and pre-math and literacy skills. Station time is followed by an opening circle and hike where the group will play games, listen to a story and further explore the weekly theme. Family Nature Class is a great way to get outside with your preschooler, foster curiosity and explore the natural world.



    Outdoor Families Nature Club

    Please join us every Thursday at 10:00 am, rain or shine, for Peacock Family Services new program: Outdoor Families Nature Club. Part play group, part outdoor education, part family hike, Outdoor Families is a drop-in group led by a Nature Nuts outdoor instructor and naturalist whose goal is to connect Bainbridge Island families to nature, their community, and to each other.

    After a brief welcome circle, the group will get exploring; playing in the woods, peering into tide pools, and following the children’s lead with play while outdoor knowledge is sprinkled in. After an hour we break for a snack and a story before either resuming play or playing a trail game back to the parking area. Feel free to stay as little or as long as you like!

    The Fall session will meet at Fort Ward (upper lot off Fort Ward Hill RD.) each week.



    Fall Foliage Festival

    Fantastic fall foliage is just minutes away at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden! Celebrate autumn with this FREE week-long festival that features plant and pumpkin sales, fall treats and beverages, pop-up artist demos, Pacific Bonsai Museum events, gardening workshops, tours, a photo station, and activities for kids and families. Take a nature walk among the trees.

    Admission is FREE! Purchases of $50 or more in the Visitor Center or nursery will receive a garden pass for use on a future visit.


    Spooky Night at the Garden

    For two nights we’ll invite all the ghouls and goblins to the garden for a frightful walk through drifting fog and cobwebs. This is an evening event, rain or shine. Our parking lot will be closed for this event. We have reserved the parking lot at the Richmond Beach Congregational Church and will provide a free shuttle service to and from the garden. The garden will be closed on these dates during our regular operating hours due to this evening event.

    Admission is FREE! (suggested donation of $10 encouraged), Ages 3–10 with families

    Parking: Richmond Beach Congregational Church (free shuttle about every 15 mins)


    Tacoma Giants Part 1: Trees of Point Defiance

    Meet Mik and the Beanstalk. Mik is a Certified Arborist happy to share his knowledge of the trees of Point Defiance with you; and the Beanstalk is a 186-foot Douglas-fir tree. Ideal for kids, seniors, and people with mobility issues, this event will include activities around the Fort Nisqually Picnic Shelter parking area and the Beanstalk nearby.


    Lattin’s Apple Festival

    Come pick your own pumpkins! Enjoy a day in the country amid the sweet aroma of apples. Sample our fresh picked crunchy apples. Enjoy our Bluegrass music. Bring the children – visit our farm animals and visit our fun Goat Walk. Every weekend enjoy our animal train, face painting, games, petting farm, pony rides, and bobbing for apples. We have our National Award Winning Cider. Lots of good things to eat, bbq, apple crisp, caramel apples, apple pie, hot and cold cider, berry cider, cider donuts, apple cake and our famous Apple Fritters. Wagon rides to our pumpkin patch every weekend starting last weekend in September and every Saturday and Sunday in October from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

    Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Where: Lattin’s Country Cider Mill & Farm
    9402 Rich Road SE, Olympia
    Admission: NO CHARGE, parking $5.00 per vehicle
    Free entry; food and activities for purchase, parking $5


    Wetland Waddlers

    Explore Mercer Slough with your preschooler and grow a connection to the natural world! Each two-hour class includes art, play, and story time designed around a seasonal theme.

    Program Details:

    • Time: Saturdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
    • Ages: 2.5-4, with a parent or guardian*
    • Cost: $20, or $15 for Pacific Science Center Members

    *We understand that finding childcare for siblings can be difficult. While activities are designed for children ages 2.5-4, siblings younger than age 2.5 are welcome to accompany participants free of charge. For siblings older than age 4, please contact mercersloughprograms@pacsci.org.

    All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable. We reserve the right to cancel a session if enrollment is insufficient and will contact registrant for a full refund. We will notify registrant at least 48 hours prior to the event start time.


    Oct 20 and 27: Whooo Lives Here?
    Some animals have a spooky reputation, but there’s no need to be afraid! We’ll learn about why owls, bats, and spiders are important- and fun!

    Nov 10: Track Detectives
    Sometimes it’s hard to see wildlife on a hike, but we can still tell where they’ve been. Learn how to be a “track detective” as we search for the signs animals leave behind.

    Dec 8: Waiting for Winter
    When it’s cold outside, we put on coats and turn on our heaters. What do plants and animals do? Join us to find out!

    Jan 12 and 19: Ice is Nice
    Come explore the frozen park! We’ll build with ice, break ice, melt ice, and even use ice to make art.

    Feb 9 and 16: Nature Rocks!
    A rock can be an instrument, a tool, a treasure, a building block, and more.  With rocks of all shapes, textures, and sizes, there’s so much to investigate. What else do you think can a rock be?

    Mar 16: Wonderful Wetlands
    What IS a wetland, anyway?  We’ll take an up-close look at the plants and other unique things that live in wetlands, and learn about why they’re so important.

    Mar 30: Mud Appreciation Day
    We always find mud on our hikes, but this class is dedicated to the squishy stuff. Come jump in puddles,  make mud cakes, and most of all, get messy!


    • Saturday, October 27, 2018 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
    • Saturday, November 10, 2018 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
    • Saturday, December 8, 2018 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
    • Saturday, January 12, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
    • Saturday, January 19, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
    • Saturday, February 9, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
    • Saturday, February 16, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
    • Saturday, March 16, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.
    • Saturday, March 30, 2019 @ 9:30a.m.–11:30a.m.


    Westcrest Park Forest Restoration

    Join DIRT Corps in revitalizing Westcrest Park. We are working on the parcel of land next to 8th Ave, and it is overgrown with Himalayan blackberries! It’s up to us and our volunteers to bring it under control!

    The beginning of this volunteer event will include a brief weed ID. Combine knowledge with action as we work to clear this beautiful space of harmful species that overtakes the area. Many of you might already have this experience in your own backyard!

    Let’s work together to gradually transform and maintain Westcrest Park and make it a great public space for everyone to enjoy. Let us know of any questions, hope to see you out there!

    Please RSVP here: https://seattle.greencitypartnerships.org/event/14668/

    Questions? Email kat@thedirtcorps.com, for more info visit www.thedirtcorps.com


    Fall Farm Fun: Pigs and Pumpkins

    Fall Farm Fun: Pigs and Pumpkins, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Kelsey Creek Farm Park, Education Barn

    Pigs love pumpkins, and we think you will too! Children get to make pumpkin treats, go on a scavenger hunt, do a craft, and learn all about pigs. Each child will pick out a pumpkin to take home. Come dressed for the weather.

    Ages: 3-6 years old; children must be accompanied by an adult. Cost: $25/resident and $30/non-resident.

    Pre-registration: Required. Day-of registration will be accepted if space allows.

    Info and to register: KelseyCreekFarm@bellevuewa.gov or 425-452-7688, course #1803645.


    Family Nature Walk at Wapato Hills Park

    Explore Tacoma’s Parks during this free naturalist-led walk. Discover amazing plants and animals and how they adapt to the seasons. Walks are organized and led by Tacoma Nature Center staff.

    Not recommended for strollers or children under 3. These events are FREE but space is limited. Pre-registration is required. Sign up online or call the Tacoma Nature Center to sign up at (253) 591-6439.


    Free Train Rides and Family Fun

    Free unlimited small-scale train rides at Great Northern and Cascade Railway every weekend from now through October! Bring the whole family to scenic Skykomish and spend a few hours taking a ride on one of our mini trains. Step inside our historic depot and check out the remodeled gift shop, grab a snack, and learn about the rich train history of Skykomish. Little train nuts will be thrilled with the regularly passing “big” trains, and parents will appreciate the affordability and simplicity of a day at GNCR. All ages may ride the trains, even babies! We are pet friendly! Trains run only on weekends, but the depot is open daily. Our friendly staff will be glad to see you!


    Seattle Children’s PlayGarden Open Play

    Open Play will be back in session on Wednesday, September 12th and ready to PLAY!

    “Open Play” refers to times that staff are on site. The PlayGarden is in a public park and visitors are welcome on weekdays after 2pm and weekends from sunrise to sunset. Specific Open Play days and times change seasonally.

    Our fall Open Play hours are: Wednesdays 3 – 6pm Saturdays 10am – 2pm

    • Saturday, October 27, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Saturday, November 3, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, November 7, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
    • Saturday, November 10, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, November 14, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
    • Saturday, November 17, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, November 28, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
    • Saturday, December 1, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, December 5, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
    • Saturday, December 8, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, December 12, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
    • Saturday, December 15, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, December 19, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
    • Saturday, December 22, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
    • Saturday, December 29, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, January 2, 2019 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
    • Saturday, January 5, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, January 9, 2019 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
    • Saturday, January 12, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, January 16, 2019 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.
    • Saturday, January 19, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–2:00p.m.
    • Wednesday, January 23, 2019 @ 3:00p.m.–6:00p.m.


    Toddler Tales & Trails

    Come on an adventure of reading and exploring the outdoors! Introduce your toddler to nature with story time in our upstairs classroom, then go on a tot-sized family nature walk to explore the trails in Seward Park, rain or shine. Walks are easy and less than one mile. There is limited space in this program. Participants are encouraged to arrive early to ensure admission. No advance registration, just show up.

    • Saturday, October 27, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, October 31, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, November 3, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, November 7, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, November 10, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, November 14, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, November 17, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, November 21, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, November 24, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, November 28, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, December 1, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, December 5, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, December 8, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, December 12, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, December 15, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, December 19, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, December 22, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, December 29, 2018 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, January 2, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, January 5, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, January 9, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Saturday, January 12, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
    • Wednesday, January 16, 2019 @ 10:00a.m.–11:00a.m.


    Happy Halloween Hike

    The following programs are an opportunity for the very young to explore outside in a safe environment and to share that experience with an adult who is important to them. Parents and others that share time with a toddler can learn tips and tricks for sharing the outdoors with a little one. These programs are also a great chance to make new friends. Please register only the child for this hike and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Ages: 2 – 3 with an adult.  Fee: $4 per child

    Adults – grow outside with your children! Hike the park with a Seattle Urban Nature Guide and search for some of the animals associated with Halloween. Be sure to wear your favorite costume to this hike! #185324


    Tacoma Giants Part 2: Immersion Tree Walk

    Take a walk to the tallest tree in Point Defiance. Immerse yourself into the world of living natural history and fall in love with the infinite shades of green in this in-depth look into the biology and history of our trees. Program requires a significant amount of walking on uneven terrain.


     Cedar River Salmon Journey 

    Join the Cedar River Salmon Journey and see spawning salmon in October at several sites along the Cedar River near Renton. Fall: See spawning salmon at one or all four locations along the Cedar River in the Renton and Maple Valley areas on October 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28, 11am–4pm. Each site is unique! It’s Salmon SEEson so come see some salmon!

    Sites include:

    • Renton Library – At the Renton Library, stand directly above the salmon and note the many human changes to the Cedar River. 100 Mill Ave South, Renton, WA 98057
    • Cedar River Park (behind the Renton Community Center) At Cedar River Park, see the fish weir and learn how it is used. – 1717 Maple Valley Hwy, Renton, WA 98057
    • Cavanaugh Pond – When you visit Cavanaugh Pond, take a 20 minute tour along the river to view salmon and learn about native plants and habitat restoration. 17410 SE Renton Maple Valley Rd, Renton, WA 98058
    • Landsburg Park and Dam – At Landsburg, learn about greater Seattle’s water supply and watch how some salmon are allowed to pass into the municipal Cedar River Watershed. Landsburg Rd SE, Maple Valley, WA 98038


    21 Acres Farm Walk

    Join an experienced field guide for a Farm Walk at 21 Acres. Discover how we cultivate systems that support sustainable agriculture and climate action. We invite you to be a part of a community that embraces the benefits of local food and farming.

    Held on the second and fourth Saturday from April through October at 11:00 a.m., the walk takes approximately one hour. No reservation needed, simply check in at the 21 Acres’ lobby upstairs when you arrive. Free and open to all ages. Please wear farm appropriate footwear. Come enjoy the farm and rediscover our agricultural heritage.


    Recreational Tree Climbing in Volunteer Park

    Here you can sign up to join us in one of historic Volunteer Park’s Treemendous Red Oaks. Climbs are held monthly May through October; as long as there’s no thunder/lightning we climb in all weather!

    WHEN: Once a month
    Hourly 12:00pm – 5:00pm $40/Climber
    WHERE: NE Corner of Volunteer Park Enter at E Highland Dr. off 15th Ave E

    Come climb with us! Climbers ages 6 and up are invited to strap on a climbing harness and a helmet and ascend ropes up to 60′ into the canopy of a 100 year old Red Oak in Seattle’s Volunteer Park. Our tree is located across E Highland Drive from the newly renovated playground – come out and make a day of it.

    Spaces are limited so reserve online. For more information and to sign up visit our website at www.canopyclimber.com.


    Free Family Weekend Walks at the Washington Park Arboretum

    Bring the whole family for an hour and half themed walk. During this free public tour, we will stop along the way for games, hands-on activities and learning geared toward children (2-12 years old) and their caregivers.

    Tour groups gather in front of the Graham Visitors Center at 12:45pm to start our tour at 1pm, 2nd and 4th Saturdays February-November.

    Free Family Weekend Walks are provided to families on a first come first served basis; the first 30 people to check in with the instructor between 12:45-1pm the day of the walk will join us!

    Free, no preregistration necessary.

    Dates and Themes:

    September: Migrate? You’re Great!

    Monthly Description:   Let’s use those eagle-eyes! Join us at the Arboretum to scan the skies, watch the water, and peep past the plants in search of feathered friends. We’ll learn about where birds migrate in Fall and how they accomplish such epic journeys.

    • September 8th
    • September 22nd

    October: A Coat of Many Colors: Maybe it’s Maple Leaves

    Monthly description: Those colors! Maples are beloved around the world for their Autumn beauty. Join us as we learn about why the leaves change and how plants prepare for the cold weather ahead.

    • October 13th
    • October 27th

    November: Super Senses

    Monthly description: The natural world is exploding with perceptual possibilities! Today, we will channel the super senses of our local wildlife to explore, play, and learn in the Washington Park Arboretum.


    Family Nature Walk at Tacoma Nature Center

    Explore Tacoma’s Parks during this free naturalist-led walk. Discover amazing plants and animals and how they adapt to the seasons. Walks are organized and led by Tacoma Nature Center staff.

    Not recommended for strollers or children under 3. These events are FREE but space is limited. Pre-registration is required. Sign up online or call the Tacoma Nature Center to sign up at (253) 591-6439.


    Tacoma Resident Free Day at PDZA

    Visitors who live at a Tacoma address will be admitted free on the Tacoma Resident Free Days listed below. Please bring proof of residency.*

    Free Admission is valid for daytime visits only. Not valid for special events.

    The free day is offered as a thank you to Tacoma voters, who in 1999 approved a $35 million bond issue to pay for Zoo improvements. The money has funded several new additions to the zoo over the past decade, including Kids’ Zone and Animal Avenue, the Asian Forest Sanctuary, Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, animal hospital, new front gate, education center, gift shop and café.

    In 2014, Tacoma voters approved the Neighborhood Parks & Zoo Improvements and Safety Upgrades Bond, which enables further improvement of the Zoo, including the replacement of the failing 51-year-old North Pacific Aquarium.

    The Zoo also rewards Pierce County residents with discounted admission prices every day. That discount recognizes the support of Pierce County voters, who approved a sales tax in 2000 that contributes to Zoo operations.

    2018 Dates

    Saturday, January 6
    Saturday, January 27
    Thursday, February 1
    Thursday, February 22
    Sunday, March 11
    Wednesday, March 21
    Wednesday, April 11
    Wednesday, September 19
    Thursday, September 27
    Wednesday, October 10
    Sunday, October 28
    Sunday, November 4


    Sunday Public Sail at the Center for Wooden Boats

    Our Cast Off! program allows visitors the chance to sail in classic boats. The boats we use include: Admirable, a Bristol Bay Gillnetter, Amie, a Friendship sloop, Colleen Wagner, an Egret Sharpie, our long-boat Discovery, our New Haven Sharpie Betsy D, or a visiting classic.

    Before and after your sail take a walk on the docks and discover the boats. Watch the volunteer crews rigging the boats. They’ll be happy to answer any question you might have, and you may even have a chance to help with the rigging!

    Rides start throughout the day and last about 45 minutes. Sign-ups begin in person at 10 am and boats generally depart between 11 am and 3 pm.; space is limited and rides fill quickly. Arrive early to ensure your first choice, especially on sunny days and holidays. One person may sign up five other people who are not present, but no phone reservations are accepted. All ages are welcome and we have life jackets for everyone. We sail rain or shine, but wind conditions may keep us at the dock.


    Coal Creek Natural Area Ranger Hike

    Explore Coal Creek at the Cinder Mine Trailhead to discover Bellevue’s largest park and get lost in the wilderness while still in the city! This area is rich in history and wildlife you’ll learn about while being guided by a Bellevue Park Ranger. Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.

    No pre-registration or RSVP required.

    Level of Difficulty: Moderately difficult (2 miles with 240 ft elevation change) Meeting Place: Cinder Mine Trailhead (Newcastle Golf Club Road, west of Redtown Trailhead)


  • Explore Amazing Parks throughout King County

    October 24, 2018

    King County is packed with great parks to explore and give kids some room for risky play. The playground can be a wonderful place for kids to run, swing and jump but don’t go to the same park you usually frequent! Mix it up and find new places for outside fun and family entertainment. Here is a list of parks and playgrounds in King County packed full of adventure.

    Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island

    Mercer Island is home to this fantastic park situated along the shores of Lake Washington. The vast park has tennis courts, nature trails, sandy beaches and lots of picnic areas along with a great playground. The playground features swings, a tunnel, a climbing area and a boat for pirate adventures.

    2040 84th Avenue Southeast, Mercer Island, Wa 98040

    Cal Anderson Park

    Located in Capitol Hill, Cal Anderson Park has everything for every kid. The long field allows for running, soccer, frisbee tossing or kite flying. The play area has an amazing climbing structure with slides for all ages. In the summertime, splash in the wading pool or take a few moments for calm reflection by the reflection pool.

    1635 11th Avenue, Seattle, Wa 98122

    Marymoor Park

    With 640 acres to explore, Marymoor is touted by the King County Parks system as King County’s most popular park. More than 120 bird species can be found in the park’s 300 acre conservation area, which contains a Birdloop Trail. Many sporting events are held at the numerous athletic fields at Marymoor. The park contains a climbing wall, a new playground and community garden.

    6046 West Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE, Redmond, WA 98052

    Washington Park Arboretum

    This massive park in Seattle allows for plenty of space to roam and explore the outdoors. Visit the Japanese Garden, head over the WIlcox footbridge, walk the nature trails and explore the park’s various ponds for outdoor fun. There is a small playground toward the north entrance of the park but this park is more of an adventure place than a playground park.  

    2300 Arboretum Drive East, Seattle, Wa 98112

    Mercer Slough Nature Park

    This park contains more than seven miles of trails and an environmental education center, which is a partnership with the Pacific Science Center focusing on freshwater wetland ecology. In addition to walking trails, the park contains a canoe launch and a canoe trail that runs the length of the park.

    1625 118th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98005

    Junior League Playground in Seattle’s Magnuson Park

    The over 20,000 square feet of climbing, sandbox, swings and slides make this park one of Seattle’s largest playgrounds. After conquering the climbing structure, head out for a stroll around Magnuson Park and take the family dog for a swim at the dog swimming area.

    7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, Wa 98115

    Tolt MacDonald Park

    The 575-acre Tolt MacDonald Park is located in Carnation at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers in the beautiful Snoqualmie Valley. It features a 500-foot suspension bridge across the Snoqualmie River and 12 miles of forested and riverside trails.

    31020 NE 40th St, Carnation, WA 98014

    Saint Edward State Park

    Located on what was once a Catholic seminary, Saint Edward State Park covers 316-acres of expansive, wooded hiking trails with a fantastic playground for kids of all ages. Parents will appreciate the nearby picnic area and bathroom facilities. Bring along a Discovery Pass to avoid the $10 day fee.

    14445 Juanita Drive NE, Kenmore, Wa 98028

    Lincoln Park

    West Seattle’s Lincoln Park is a plethora of fun with two playgrounds, a zip line, ball fields, miles of biking trails and a great paved path along the beach. In addition, there is an outdoor heated saltwater pool with gorgeous views of the water. Plan to stay for the entire afternoon to really enjoy this park.

    8011 Fauntleroy Way SW, Seattle, Wa 98136

    Green Lake Park’s Kids Playground

    Everyone loves walking around Greenlake’s paved path but kids really dig playing at the playground located near the community center. The playgound features equipment for both toddlers and bigger kids with swings, a merry-go-round, a climbing structure and a fun sand pit with a buried canoe.

    7201 East Greenlake Drive North, Seattle, Wa 98115

    Carkeek Park Kids Playground

    While most people visit Carkeek to explore the many miles of hiking trails or visit the beach, the park’s playground is pretty spectacular. The park features a salmon-shaped slide, a huge sandbox, seesaws, a climbing area and great swings along with a large field to run in. Kids will be worn out after a session at this playground!

    950 NW Carkeek Park Road, Seattle, Wa 98177

    Victory Heights Playground

    Just a few miles north of the Northgate area is a new park featuring a bright yellow merry-go-round, a rope climber,  Xylophone-like musical instruments and a fun orange car for the littles to play in. And the park also has a great sandbox packed with toy trucks, buckets and shovels. The picnic tables are the perfect place for an outdoor lunch or snack.

    1737 NW 106th St, Seattle, Wa 98125

    OO Denny Park 

    This park doesn’t feature any playground equipment (yet!) but does feature amazing hiking trails and picnic areas along with lakefront views. The rocky beach is great for seaside exploration and the picnic area allows for family gatherings.

    12400 Holmes Point Drive Northeast, Kirkland, Wa 98034

    Maple Leaf Park and Kids Playground

    Sometimes overlooked, this is one of the best parks in Seattle. The playground features a zip line, swings, merry-go-rounds and lots of climbing structures. In addition, there is a sandbox surrounded by a flower garden and a track for bike riding, running or walking. The nearby bathrooms and picnic area mean this is one park, you’ll stay at for hours.

    1020 NE 82nd Street, Seattle, Wa 98115

    Kubota Garden

    Located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood, the Kubota Garden is a gem. The scenic park is packed with colorful flowers, ponds, small streams, forested walkways and breathtaking bridges. Take time to explore the flora in this park while also taking in the beauty.

    Renton Avenue South & 55th Avenue South, Seattle, Wa 98118

    Seward Park

    South Seattle’s Seward Park is the only old growth forest in the city with a great bike/walking path around the park, amphitheater, miles of hiking paths and a great children’s play area. There is also a wonderful beach for lake swimming which staffed with a lifeguard during the summer months. Take time to explore the trees and native plant gardens.

    5895 Lake Washington Boulevard South, Seattle, Wa 98118

    Newcastle Beach Park

    Newcastle Beach Park is the largest beach park in Bellevue and features something for everyone. The large open field is perfect for pick-up games of football or baseball and the sandy swimming beach is great for splashing around in. There is also a nature trail and train themed playground to explore along with a 300-foot dock and picnic facilities.

    4400 Lake Washington Boulevard SE, Bellevue, WA

    Georgetown Playfield

    Georgetown’s newest park is too good to pass up! The airplane-themed play structure features not only fun for the kids but also included exercise equipment for adults. There is a two-story, globe-shaped merry-go-round which doubles as a climber. The park also has swings, a hydraulic lift and musical instruments. There is also a large playfield and basketball court nearby.

    750 Homer St. , Seattle, Wa 98108

    By Rebecca Mongrain

  • Happening this Weekend!

    October 12, 2018

    Happy Friday! With lots of beautiful Fall weather ahead, start planning today for a weekend full of outdoor, nature-based activities. Visit the Project Nature discover page to learn about activities happening  near you this weekend. Below are a few ideas to get you started planning!

    Camp Long Fall Family Forest Adventure!

    Spiders! Lake Hills Greenbelt Ranger Station.

    Super Squash Scavenger Hunt

    Family Nature Class

    Green Tacoma Day

    Toddler Trails and Tails

    Bear Creak Salmon Viewing

    Slug Celebration Walk

  • 6 Seattle Parks off the Beaten Path

    October 10, 2018

    Queen Anne: Parsons Garden

    A hidden oasis just down the road from the busier Kerry Park, Parsons Garden was donated to the city by the Parsons family in 1956. This tranquil spot offers plenty of shady areas for a picnic, benches, and a grassy lawn – it’s especially worth stopping by for a dose of Vitamin N (nature!) when the flowering trees are in bloom! Cross the street to tiny Marshall Park for a view of Puget Sound.


     Ballard: Kirke Park

    Kirke (church in Norwegian) Park was home to the Church of the Seventh Elect in Spiritual Israel for more than 90 years, and the ruins of the church remain on the site, incorporated into the gardens and play areas.  A playset, short nature trail, and p-patch make this neighborhood park a welcome addition to the north end of Ballard.


    Mount Baker: Bradner Gardens Park

    This 1.6-acre park in the Mt. Baker neighborhood showcases seven ornamental theme gardens: butterfly & hummingbird, fragrance, sensory, shade, xeriscape, winter interest and northwest native. There are also 60+ p-patch plots, Seattle Tilth and Urban Food demonstration gardens, covered picnic areas, and a children’s A to Z garden with whimsical art throughout. Next to the children’s play area, you’ll find a 33-foot-tall vintage windmill that circulates water from the seasonal pond to a streambed.

    West Seattle: Jack Block Park

    This Port of Seattle park on Harbor Island Ave. has something for everyone – a play area, walking path, waterfront pier, and a 45-foot high observation tower. On clear days you’ll be rewarded with views of the Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier, plus chance to see the shipping cranes at work. Parking and restrooms are available on site.


     Northgate: Mineral Springs Park

    Home to one of Seattle’s two disc-golf courses, Mineral Springs is tucked away just off Northgate Way, west of I-5. Once a residential and farming area, the park has wooded paths, an art walk, small ponds and a variety of trees, including birch, redwood, aspen and dogwood. Don’t miss “Cloud Stones” – a series of stone sculptures created specifically for the park.


    South Park: Marra-Desimone Park

    Home to Marra Farm, an urban community farm committed to sustainable agriculture, education, and food security, the farm and park together encompass 8.7 acres of preserved farmland in South Park. Don’t miss the Children’s Garden, where Lettuce Link (a community program run by Solid Ground) hosts a series of gardening and nutrition programs for children. Many park improvements are planned for 2018, including covered picnic areas and a farm-themed play area.

    Written for Project Nature by Jennifer Donahue
  • 10 Outdoor Nature Games for Kids

    October 3, 2018

    Getting your kids outside can sometimes be a bit of a struggle. Challenge your kids to play some nature games outside and before you know it, they’ll be begging to play more outdoor games. Most of these games require little preparation and few supplies while a few require some planning ahead. All will be a hit with your family!

    Photo Credit: Rhonda Aaronwald

    Nature I-Spy

    Take a Nature walk around your neighborhood or local park. Quiz your child by having them guess what you are spying. Start with “I spy something green” and see how long you can keep the game going and what interesting things you can spy.

    Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt

    Create a list by either writing or drawing creatures or items found in nature. You can also search for Nature Scavenger Hunts on Pinterest for ready made lists.  Give each participant a bucket, a copy of the list and a marker. Next, start hunting! Show off what you found with other participants and talk about each item.

    Follow the Leader

    Designate a leader and followers. Then have the leader lead their followers on a nature walk over, around and under obstacles such as trees, shrubs and rocks. Periodically switch out the leader and go on different routes around a nearby trail, park or your backyard.

    Listen Up!

    Find a spot to sit and relax. Have everyone close their eyes and silently listen to the world around them. Have everyone open their eyes and go around in a circle, sharing what they heard. Talk about each sound and what you think it might be. Draw or write down what was heard.

    Start Digging

    Kids love to dig. It’s fun to feel the dirt between their fingers and sometimes they can even discover bugs or seeds in the dirt. Set your child up with their own kid sized shovel and bucket and show them an appropriate place to dig. You’ll be amazed at what they find and what they build. Hand over rocks, small cars, plastic animals, twigs, etc to help build imaginary creations. Help them investigate the bugs and worms they find and talk about what purpose bugs have in a healthy garden. For the adventurous parent, give them a cup of water to make mud pies. Kids love getting dirty so maybe don’t send them out to dig in their best clothing.

    Take a Nature Walk

    Nature can be found everywhere, even in the biggest city so take a walk to see where you can find some. Sometimes you just have to hunt a little harder for it. Investigate the corners of your backyard or in the nearby overgrown edges of city parks.

    Nature Memory

    Collect 2 each of 6 different items in nature and place them in small containers with lids. Collect flowers, rocks, acorns, shells, etc. You can also collect scents by putting essential oils on cotton balls. Scramble the containers and open them until you match all 6 items.

    Nature Bingo

    Download a Nature Bingo board or make your own and go on a hunt to fill your bingo board. Talk about each find with your kid and ask them questions like, “What color is that tree leaf?” or “What sound does that bird make?”. Encourage your children to look under rocks and trees to get 5 in a row!

    Nature Color Match

    Grab some leftover paint chips from the home improvement store and head outside to match the colors on them with something in nature. You can make your own color chips by coloring with crayons or markers on index cards and cutting them out. Try to match the most unusual color from your chips with one in nature. See if you can find all the colors of the rainbow or different shades of yellow.

    Litter Race

    Gather some trash bags and gloves for a litter race! Separate kids into teams and choose a location to have your race – a park, school playground or neighborhood. See which team or kid can pick up the most trash! Weigh the trash bags or count them or count individual items. This game will teach kids to take care of their environment while also cleaning it up!

    By Rebecca Mongrain