Seattle Scavenger Hunt

Planning a visit to Seattle?  Or do you live in Seattle and want to enjoy a downtown day with your kids?  Our awesome photo scavenger hunt will keep your kids walking, happy, and engaged!  Actually adults like it too.  It’s just plain fun and helps anyone enjoy the details of our fabulous city.

The area covered by our scavenger hunt is the downtown core.  Walk on 1st Avenue between Pike’s Place and Pioneer Square.  As a round trip, you will want to come back along 3rd with short detours to see the library and the opera hall.  End up at Westlake Center and take the monorail to Seattle Center.  You’ll capture all the pictures within this route.  You can get off at Seattle Center (no photos there – makes for a long day) or buy a round trip ticket in advance and just enjoy the ride. Read more »

Local getaways – Spring in the Pacific Northwest

We had a lot of fun picking out favorite local family-friendly destinations in all directions for a recent post on Technorati.

We could only describe a few in the article.  There are so many great Seattle-based getaways that kids love: Winthrop, Roslyn, Victoria B.C., Hurricane Ridge, Neah Bay, Bremerton, Mt. Rainier, Tacoma, and more. We plan to hit the road ourselves this spring to discover new local adventures.   Add your favorites to our comments section.

Family Skiing at Snoqualmie Pass

From the top of Chair 1 at Alpental.

Snoqualmie pass is the major east/west migration route through the Cascade mountain range from Seattle.  It is also the home of The Summit at Snoqualmie, an amalgam of four ski areas that each have a unique and distinctive vibe despite being commonly-owned.  There is Summit West, a perfect place for families to learn to ski.  Summit Central has the terrain park and is popular for night skiing.  Summit East (a.k.a. Hyak) is my family’s low-key favorite.  And finally there is Alpental, which has the steeper terrain and backcountry access that expert skiers love.  I’ve been skiing at Snoqualmie pass for over 20 years and have had a season pass there for the last decade.  I won’t tell you where my secret stashes of snow are located, but here are a few other things that I have learned:

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Postcard from Ancient Egypt

Happy National Archaeology Day!  Last year, Congress designated October 22 as National Archaeology Day and we’re celebrating with a trip to Ancient Egypt.

We started preparing for the tip back in August at the King Tut exhibit (in Seattle until January 6th).  The audio guide was well worth the extra few dollars.  In addition to information about the artifacts, the audio guide offered information about Ancient Egypt and the archaeologists who uncovered the tombs. The kid’s favorite artifacts included a box etched with cat drawings and the golden mask. We demo’d the final versions of the museum scavenger hunts for our book and I was happy to discover that they worked well.  At the gift shop, the kids had their names written in hieroglyphics for $1 – always a crowd pleaser.

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Chainsaws and Pacific Northwest History

Logging plays a tremendous role in the cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest.  Yet, how many kids know much about the skills loggers needed or about how logging shaped the Pacific Northwest?  At the High Country Log Show in Roslyn, WA, you and your family can witness an authentic display of logging skills and equipment – strapping down logs on a big logging truck, climbing a pole 80 feet up in the air, sawing logs with supped up chainsaws, sawing logs with two person saws, splitting/stacking logs, and more.

Our family’s favorite events:  Obstacle course – loggers raced over log piles, balanced on perched logs, and knelt down to attach cables. 

Giant male/female two-person saw – one set of contestants was a father / daughter pair and the young girl appeared to be about 12 years old.

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Go Rodeo!

The rodeo in Twisp, WA held on Memorial Day and Labor Day is a family-friendly, culturally-wonderful, local event that should not be missed!  The rodeo includes real cowboy action (bull-riding, barrel racing, calf-roping), cowboy-kid events like mutton-busting (small tykes falling off sheep), and all-kid events such as rock-collecting, stick-horse racing, and chicken catching.  There is always a horse drill team as well, riding in formation and carrying flags to piped in country music.  “Scotty-so-hotty” was the rodeo clown this past Memorial Day and he brought his son into the arena to swing his lasso for the crowd whenever possible.  Sometimes you can also catch a glimpse of a rodeo princess decked out in rhinestones and flashy cowgirl boots.  It’s dusty, it’s usually sunny, it’s a cultural adventure, and it’s real entertainment at its best.

The rodeo starts at 1pm both Saturday and Sunday of both holiday weekends and runs until 4 or 5pm.  You can arrive anytime and leave anytime that’s convenient for you.  Bring a blanket and sunscreen to enjoy a view from the grassy arena steps.  Hotdogs and cold pop are sold every year.  This year there was also a homemade sno Read more »

Africa IS in our backyard!

We did find Africa in our own backyard!

Our journey began at Blue Nile, an Ethiopian restaurant on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.  I expected that my kids had eaten Ethiopian food before but I was completely wrong.  Zoey had spent a lot of time in the Enat Deli as a baby.  We were regulars back when it had only 4 small tables and baby Zoey was often whisked into the kitchen by the fabulous Ethiopian owner so Bill and I could enjoy a peaceful meal.  But, when we moved away from the Enat Deli, we hadn’t found any place as good and, without realizing it, we had stopped eating Ethiopian food at all.  Our rainy day luncheon was turning out to be more of an adventure than I had expected. Read more »

Looking for Africa in our own backyard …


We’ve enjoyed a day in Japan, an overnight trip to China, and an Austrian feast … all without leaving home.  But, there is a whole continent that I haven’t explored with my kids at all – either in reality or in spirit.  Sadly, I don’t see a plane ticket, a safari, and three weeks off of work in my future.  So, this winter break, we’re trying to find Africa in our own backyard.  We’re searching for movies, music, and local expeditions that can help us learn about, connect to, and get excited about Africa.  According to “If the World were a Village” by David Smith, 14% of the world’s population lives in Africa.  It’s amazing how little we know.