My brother and his family, including his young daughter, were in town this weekend and I had a rare chance to view (review?) my local big city through the eyes of a small child.  Normally when you walk through your own city you see the stoplights and the crowds.  You’re not thinking about what’s next, only when the next bus is.  With family visiting, and a desire to make sure a jetlagged young girl had a good time, my boring city was turned into a playground for a day.   It was a lot of fun to see my ordinary world through very new eyes and it gave me a different perspective on viewing the mundane.

What to do in Seattle if you’re five


Ride the giant Ferris wheel[1]

Seattle Great WheelCredit: wiki commonsActually called the Seattle Great Wheel, this is, well, a giant Ferris wheel built on the edge of Seattle overlooking Puget Sound.  Modeled after similar projects in other cities (I think London’s Eye was the first), Seattle has the third giant Ferris wheel in North America.  It opened on June 29th, 2012 and its 42 gondolas offer spectacular views of Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula.  Your $15 gives you three spins around slowly enough to get a good look at everything.  We were lucky to have one of those rare spectacularly clear days and the view is amazing. I imagine even a cloudy day wouldn’t be too bad.   My niece had the most fun measuring the size of the people on the ground with her fingers.  The rest of us enjoyed looking out the windows.


Feed the Seagulls[2]

Ivar’s restaurant has been around since 1946 when it was started by Ivar Haglund.  It does have a full restaurant, but the real fun is at the fish-and-chips bar, and the outdoor picnic tables.  I can’t tell you for sure if it’s true, but the story is that Ivar loved the seagulls and fed them leftovers from the restaurant.  There’s even a metal statue of him doing this very thing, which stands in front of the restaurant.  True or not, feeding the seagulls has become a huge tourist attraction, mainly for the smallest tourists.  We got our baskets of French fries and I proceeded to show my niece how it’s done.  She wasn’t quite prepared to stand there and have a seagull swoop down and grab the French fry from her fingers (they are big, the birds, and the French fries), but she was happy enough to balance the fry on the railing, then back away so a gull could fly up and take it.  Tossing scraps into the water causes quite a ruckus too.  There are seagulls everywhere, but there is a covered outdoor eating area if you don’t like the idea of being watched by birds.  They don’t fly to your table, and only the bravest sit on the rail, so most people won’t have a problem.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop[3]

It’s just full of weird stuff like Mexican jumping beans and skeletons of dead animals.  Mummies?  Yep.  Tacky toys? Check.  Bacon fudge?  Yes, that’s there too.  It’s crowded and noisy, but you can spend hours looking at huge variety of crap, I mean goods, packed into this small space.  Still, little girls aren’t really lookers, so after pawing through the pretty stones we headed off for …

Ice cream

It wouldn’t have mattered which store, but there is a place right on the waterfront that serves up giant waffle cones filled with handmade ice cream.  You can smell the sweet cones cooking from a block away.  There are even some tables off to the side for you to sit and enjoy your treat while you look at the water, or people watch. 


And there was some fine watching to be had, as Comicon was in full swing, and all sorts of characters were wandering the streets.  I realize that you won’t likely be lucky enough to be here during some event that features adults dressed up as cartoons, but there are plenty of ordinary characters around most of the time.  Not being a comic person, I probably didn’t recognize half of them, I mean, purple hair can be found anywhere these days. 

Ride the monorail[4]

Seattle MonorailCredit: Seattle Monorail

It’s a giant train in the sky, what else needs to be said?  Leftover from the World’s fair in 1962, the monorail is a functioning, and handy elevated train that runs from the Seattle Center to Westlake shopping center which is downtown Seattle.  It costs the same as the bus and is a lot more fun to use for transportation to the Seattle Center, which has a great selection of rides for young people, and the ..

Seattle Children’s Museum[5]

No, not a building filled with children, well, I guess it is, but they are visiting, not the exhibits.  The Children’s Museum is a place to play.  They have interactive exhibits and demonstrations set up for most days.  Build, play, climb, shop, whatever it is you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it here.  Storytelling happens at noon if you need a break, or just take advantage of easier access to all the toys with all the other kids being entertained elsewhere.  This is worth an entire day if you come to Seattle with small people.  It’s also a break for the adults since you can sit and watch in an enclosed environment a lot instead of trying to keep track of your youngster on a busy city street.  If your young’n is a little older than five, you might instead choose to go to the …

Pacific Science Center[6]

This is a science museum, with fewer toys, but still plenty of things to play with.  Balance on the machines that measure skills, give a news report in front of a green screen, or take a quiet walk through the butterfly room.   There’s always a travelling exhibit (The Titanic exhibit a few years ago was incredible and I’ve just discovered that I missed Harry Potter.  oh well), and right now is King Tut.  Not so exciting for a small niece, but I would have enjoyed it.

I had a very fun day, and my niece is adorable.  I hope she had as much fun as I did.