The next stop on our whirlwind trip -- Seattle! Hello coffee on every corner!! We were so excited to get a break from the hot summer heat and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
We made plea deals with the kids on our 4 hour flight from Houston to Seattle -- If you behave, we will do something fun for our first day. And even though our 6 month old wasn't going to hold us to these promises, our 2 year old was playing hardball. So first stop was a stroll through the beautiful Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Getting there as close to opening is key - and don't forget to pack a lunch to enjoy in a shady spot on the well kept grounds. Our favorite part you ask? The Jammin' Jellyfish exhibit!
The route we took to the zoo ended up being as much of an adventure as the destination. Ruston Way is a scenic drive running along Commencement Bay with sidewalks, benches, restaurants, and great views! We rolled the windows down and cruised along until the smell of Duke's award winning chowder wafted into our car and forced us to stop! No disappointment on the chowder, and conveniently the recipe was provided to us with our order. Winning.
If you want some killer views, you have to make a stop at one of Seattle's million of parks- Kerry Park. Since it sits high up on a hill in the Queen Ann area, you can see so much of the city skyline as well as see all the comings and goings on the Puget Sound. Major bonus, if you are traveling with kiddos, a quick walk down the park steps you will find an awesome playground area complete with baseball diamond!
On the suggestion of a friend, we took a little longer drive up to one of the beach communities for a some West Seattle exploration. Alki Beach was a quiet spot with several good restaurants and shops. And while we didn't make it all the way to Alki Point (great views of the city skyline and the Space Needle), we did get some yummy pizza and enjoy the slightly altered beach view with the water at low tide. And as always, there was also a fun park just one block off the main beach strand to satisfy our little ones.
We had heard from several of our family members in the area that they had taken trips as kids to see Snoqualimie Falls- so we added it to our list. While we get lots of satisfaction with finding things off the beaten path, sometimes you just need to mark off the touristy things from your list as well. And boy was this stop totally worth it. As we rounded the corner from the parking lot, we could already hear the deafening sound of rushing water, and we quickened our pace to get a good look at this gorgeous view. With several different viewing spots, we were able to see the falls quite well, even with some considerable crowds of people. In addition to the falls, there is also hiking trails available for those with more time and the proper shoes.
Dash Point Beach. This little gem was our "go-to" spot for several mornings of our visit. With our dirty chai's in one hand, and our kids in the other, this quiet strip of beach with a pier and playground meets everyone's needs. There are benches lining the beach, public restrooms, a covered pavilion, and a whole sloping hill of houses to create envy for days. We love imagining what the people do for jobs who live in these awesome beach houses that have more patio that house. Then we imagine which ones we would pick if we were in the market for such a property. One day. But back to the pier... we took a late evening stroll down the pier one night and watched in pure awe as the sky made magic in front of our eyes with the colorful sunset. Even though the pictures are amazing, they do not even come close to the real experience. It was nothing short of spectacular.