My family recently spent a few glorious weeks in the Pacific Northwest on vacation. The trip was primarily to hang out with our West Coast family, but we managed to squeeze in some pretty fantastic day trips as well. Of course, you really can’t visit Washington State without paying homage to the great city of Seattle. However, navigating a new city with a squirmy toddler can be a daunting task. I am fairly certain Sweet Pea would not have been interested in the statue of Lenin, and I am also fairly certain that as much as I would have loved to browse the quirky shops in Fremont, she would have been completely out of her element. So, where do you take a 2-year old on a day trip to Seattle?
Pike’s Place Market of course! Since we knew we had to eat lunch at some point anyway, we decided to brave this bustling market and soak it all in. Driving from South of Seattle, we decided to park at the Public Market Parking Garage, which was pretty easy to find and had plenty of available parking spots. A quick walk across the breezeway and a short ride in the elevator dropped us off literally in the middle of the market. Wow, it was so cool! There was so much for Sweet Pea to see that she didn’t get bored right away (bonus) and that let me do some Mommy meandering. My favorite stop was Woodring, where I sampled both raspberry lavender and rose petal jam. Oh, wow they were amazing! Of course, the fresh produce was a feast for the mouth and eyes as well. I honed in on the containers of huge, fresh raspberries, which made a great pre-lunch snack.
We decided to bring the stroller and overall that was a great idea. Sweet Pea is kind of in the ‘flight now or flight in 2 minutes’ stage of life and I didn’t want to risk her breaking away in a 10 second fit of 2-year old independence, only to be swept away by the sea of humanity (yes, I know.. over dramatic). Bringing the stroller was a good decision, but it made navigation inside the market a bit tricky. So, we traveled outside the market to our pre-determined lunch destination: Delaurenti’s. We picked Delaurenti’s for two reasons: 1. It is one of the best-rated restaurants in the market and 2. Their specialty is cheese pizza, which is Sweet Pea’s favorite food right now.
Well, the pizza certainly did not disappoint. My hubbie ordered a beefy sandwich that he also loved, and we scored some delectable chocolate chip cookies for a late-afternoon snack. Delaurenti’s is famous for their cookies, primarily I think because they load them up with a bajillion chocolate chips. Fine with me. They were excellent.
After lunch, we needed a toddler-friendly diversion. What better place to divert than the Great Wind Up Toy Company! Located just steps from Delaurenti’s, this cute little store sells– you guessed it– wind up toys. The best part is they leave one of most of their inventory out so you can try them out (play with them) before deciding on a purchase. So, Sweet Pea set out to be our official toy tester. We tried Frankenstein, the brain, and a little chicken. The winning wind-up toy though was the chattering teeth. Yep, Sweet Pea has a sense of humor– even as a 2-year old!
You have to understand. You can’t come to a place like Pike’s Place Market and be on a diet. So, please don’t judge me when I tell you that the next stop on our list was the Daily Dozen Donut Shop, where we watched mini donuts get made fresh and then grabbed a hot bag of them to enjoy while we saddled up to the fishmongers to watch the fish throwing show. Warm, sweet, fatty donuts were enjoyed by all… and even though it does not seem like they would go well with watching fish fly around the market, we didn’t seem to mind.
After taking in the flying fish, and the pranks of the fishmongers, it was time to move on. The shelf life of happy toddler in a stroller was coming to a close and honestly, we didn’t need anymore culinary temptations. Thankfully, right across the street from Pike’s Place Market is the very cute Seattle Aquarium. You don’t even need to re-park, unless you don’t want to walk. The Public Market Parking Garage seems to be the closest to the Aquarium as well.
The Seattle Aquarium is not very large, but it is incredibly charming and definitely worth a few hours of your time, especially if you are traveling with young children. Sweet Pea was mesmerized by the Window on Washington exhibit, a large floor to ceiling tank that is the first thing to greet aquarium visitors. The tide pools in the ‘Life on the Edge’ exhibit were another hit. Since Sweet Pea was too short to reach into the tide pool and create her own sensory experience, a wonderful volunteer lifted a sea cucumber out of the tide pool for Sweet Pea to touch. Thanks to Daddy she also was able to reach in and touch the sea anemone. We all also loved getting up close and personal with the Giant Pacific Octopus. Very cool stuff for a 2-year old.
From there, we ventured down to the Underwater Dome where we saw the scuba divers demonstrate how they feed the fish. Sweet Pea loved standing right up against the tank, and we spent a good 15 to 20 minutes pointing out the different types of fish and animals that swam past.
The last major part of the aquarium we saw was the habitat for the seals and sea otters. Sweet Pea got a kick out of watching the seals swim around and play, especially when one of them would get close enough to flirt with her!
On our way out of the Aquarium, we stopped by the small children’s play area, where Sweet Pea was able to play with a huge underwater felt activity board. After that, we were whooped and it was time to leave. As we pulled away from our parking space, we could already hear the gentle snore of a 2-year old who had enjoyed a busy day of fun. Thanks to Seattle for being such a fun city. I hope we return soon!
Thanks for reading!
For more ideas of fun things to do with young kids in Seattle, check out these links!