Banish the Summer Blahs

The Ultimate 425 Fun in the Sun Guide
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“Kayaking San Juan Islands,” ©2008 woodleywonderworks, used under a creative commons attribution license

The kids can’t wait for summer break. But then about two weeks into it, you start hearing, “We’re bored.” Bored? Here is a list of activities close to home the entire family can enjoy and hopefully you can banish that pesky “b” word for good.

Did you know there are more than 200 parks in the King County Parks system, comprised of 26,000 acres full of fun places to picnic, play ball, fly a kite and more? There are 175 miles of regional trails and 180 hiking trails to explore, too. Get outside!

1. Kid’s Quest
Take the kids to KidsQuest Children’s Museum and they will learn and have fun. This hands-on museum is designed for infants to age 8.

2. Kayak at The Woodmark
You don’t have to be a guest at this fancy waterfront Kirkland hotel to rent a kayak and get a closeup of Lake Washington. For $10 an hour explore Yarrow Bay or the Juanita Bay Wetlands all close to Carillon Point.

3. Cool off at a spray park
Remember when your parents told you to run through the sprinkler if you were hot? Those kids grew up and invented something way cooler — spray parks. Head to Crossroads Park’s water play area, 16000 NE 10th St., Bellevue.

4. Summer Outdoor Movies
Grab your blanket, snack and folding chairs and get outside for some outdoor movies. On Wednesdays at Marymoor Park and on Tuesdays at Bellevue Downtown Park.

5. Art Camp
There are several art camps that still have openings. For one- stop shopping go to Sigby.

Palettes and Pairings

Palettes and Pairings. Photo by Peter Chung

6. Ride the Big Wheel
Get the perfect view from atop the Seattle Great Wheel, the West Coast’s largest observation wheel. The attraction, which debuted last summer on Seattle’s Pier 57. $8.50 for children ages 4-11; $13 for ages 12 and up; $50 per person for the VIP gondola, a special luxury gondola with four leather bucket seats and a glass floor. VIP tickets include a souvenir T-shirt and priority boarding.

7. Explore Tide Pools and the Shore
Join PDZA staff on a low-tide walk to learn about the creatures in Tacoma.

8. PICNIC
Pack a picnic and head to one of the area parks and kick back, relax and enjoy a peanut butter sandwich. Bellevue Downtown Park, Newcastle Beach Park and Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton are on our faves list.

9. Wild Waves Theme Park
If it’s been years since you’ve been, there is so much more fun to be had — like the giant wooden Timberhawk rollercoaster and The Riptide, a giant funnel-like waterslide you get dizzy in while riding on an inflatable tube alone or with a brave buddy.

10. Ride a Ferry
Kids love adventures. Why not hop on a ferry and check out Vashon Island or Bainbridge Island? For a longer trip head to the San Juans or Victoria, B.C.

11. Geocaching with Kids
Find buttons, beads, stickers and candy bars as you explore local trails and parks looking for treasures with your kids, a GPS and hints. Don’t tell the muggles. Search online for geocaching opportunities.

12. Reading Made Fun
Just because school is out doesn’t mean the books should get dusty. Help kids be excited about reading and check out summer reading programs, contests and activities are your local library.

Crossroads Park

Crossroads Park. Photo by Colin Walker/Bellevue Parks & Community Services

13. Paint Pottery in your Backyard
If you like the idea of going to a studio with your kids to paint ceramics then you’ll love the idea of a studio coming to you. Paint the Town in Seattle will put together a free paint kit full of everything you need for an off-site painting session. Once you’re done painting you can return the finished items to be glazed and fired. You can keep the painting kit for up to a week. There must be a minimum pottery total of $130 to receive the free kit.

14. Fly Like A Kite
If you want to fly like kites, take the kids parasailing at Ruston Way in Tacoma off the dock behind the RAM restaurant. Pacific Parasail sells tickets inside the restaurant during the summer months and says people of all ages and abilities can enjoy floating above sparkling Puget Sound. Kids ages 1-10 fly free with an adult. Tickets are about $79 per person and $20 if you just want to ride in the boat that is towing parasailers.

15. Art that Splatters
Find your inner Picasso. Seriously. Kids and adults alike can paint masterpieces at Palettes and Pairings in Kirkland and Issaquah. They provide you with the canvas, paint, brushes, snacks and if you are a grownup, wine and beer. Then you paint and at the end of the class, you will have a piece to take home — worthy of hanging on the wall.

16. Dive with Sharks and Touch Stingrays
The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is planning to allow visitors to swim with the sharks in the South Pacific Aquarium. Non-certified divers (must be 8 and up) will visit these creatures of the deep in a specially constructed stationary cage on the side of the aquarium. Certified divers (must be 15 and up) will strap on scuba gear and lead into the water by an experienced guide. Specially designed gear that will zip over your regular clothes and seal out water will be available for this deep sea adventure. $65 for the noncertified dive, $175 for the certified dive (zoo members get a $15 discount). The zoo also opened a new interactive exhibit where you can touch stingrays.

17. Zip Line through Northwest Trek
Adventure along the treetops on one of Northwest Trek’s zip line and ropes courses. The park offers four different courses based on age so you can go on the perfect challenge for you and your kids. Afterwards you can ride a tram and see the roaming bison, elk and moose! Kids must be at least 6 to participate in the lowest-level ropes course. Prices vary based on course level.

18. U-Pick!
An educational, delicious and satisfying day starts at a U-Pick farm. Research shows when kids prepare their food, they are more eager to eat it. Go Pick Your Own to find out what’s in season.

19. Make Friends with Kangaroos
The Outback Kangaroo Farm in Arlington offers 40-minute tours where you can see, touch and feed kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, flying squirrels, llamas, lemurs, alpaca and more. Tickets are $8 for children ages 2-12, $9 for adults, and $8 for seniors.

20. Great Wolf Lodge
Perhaps the coolest thing about Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound (just south of Olympia) is that every day is a bit like summer — bathing suits are practical year round at this indoor water park. If you want to play, you must stay in one of their lodge-style hotel rooms — in addition to the slippery slides, tubes, and pools, the resort offers several dining options (even a bar for grown-ups).

21. Silverwood
If you are thinking of planning a road trip and you have kids, it’s a good idea to have a destination at the end of the road worth getting excited about. Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach Water Park in Idaho is worth the drive and it’s a fun trip that’s scenic, and most likely sunny and warm. When you arrive, the whole family can jump on a raft and slide down Ricochet Rapids waterslide, float around in two wave pools or reserve a cabana to relax. They have rides for little ones and daredevils.

Ride a rollercoaster at Wild Waves

Ride a rollercoaster at Wild Waves.  Photo courtesy Wild Waves Theme Park

22. Wellbody Academy
You and your kids can learn and have fun at this newer exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. Have fun learning about the human body and the importance of sleep, exercise, washing well and eating right.

23. Skydive (Indoors)
Maybe you’ve always wanted to try skydiving with your kids, but the whole jumping out of a plane thousands of feet above ground has you a little concerned about safety. According to iFLY Seattle, children as young as three have participated in the experience. A variety of packages are available for those wanting to experience this fun adventure.

24. Make S’mores!
You don’t need to go camping to enjoy this quintessential summer snack. Get creative and spread peanut butter on your graham cracker, or try other candy besides plain chocolate.

Fun Summers
Imagine Children’s Museum, in Everett offers quick and fun camps for kids to learn about rocks, music, dinos and more.
or
Kelsey Creek Farm Park, in Bellevue is a great place to see farm animals year-round!

Blogs with Great Ideas
(425) Mom Megan Thomas is a 425 mom with three kids. She shares her favorite Eastside discoveries on her fun blog.

Sigby is a one-stop site for kid activities. You can add your children to your profile and search for activities they would like and are suited for their age group.

Leave a comment below and tell us where you like to spend time with your kids during summer!

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