Woodland Park Zoo::Things to do in Seattle with Kids

Today we went on a little adventure to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA. I hadn’t gone to this zoo since Haden was a baby- so I was so excited to share it now with the kids now that they are 5&6! It was supposed to rain today, but I figured we would get our rain gear on and expect it to pour the whole time! We actually got pretty lucky, however, and the sun even popped out a bit for a bit! I also opted for the Woodland Park Zoo instead of the Point Defiance in Tacoma, since I knew it offered much more covered exhibits.

The Woodland Park Zoo is huge- we were there for just over 4 hours and didn’t cover all of the exhibits! It’s split into several different sections that are mostly themed with different areas of the world. We first hit up the “Tropical Rain Forest” area because the kids and I were stoked to see the gorillas- and they did not disappoint! In fact, there is a baby gorilla there now (she is about two years old) named Yola- she was a feisty and playful little thing, and even ran back in forth in front of the glass with my kids on the other side. The kids loved it! I really love gorillas and could probably watch them all day- we stayed and watched/played with Yola for at least 20 minutes!

Right next to Yola’s home is a tropical bird/snake/frog house- I actually have no idea what it’s called- but it was empty when we visited and the kids loved it. Especially, Haden, my little bird lover! Sadie was especially inspired and made me promise we watch Rio asap after watching the toucans!

Haden LOVES penguins- always has- and so next stop was a trip to feed the penguins! On select days, penguin lovers can live out their dreams and actually feed them! It’s $5 for four fish, but in my opinion, well worth the experience! I would much rather spend money on a special experience like that then toys from the zoo store (although sometimes my kids disagree with me, ha!)

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Frugal is the name of our game (after all, we have to save all that cash for our adventures!) so we packed a picnic lunch for a mid day pit stop. They have tons of benches and tables all around the zoo, so plenty of places to stop and grab a bite to eat! I’m *trying* to say no to treats unless the kids bring their own money to get their own (I know, mean mom!). Haden brought his own cash and grabbed a giant bag of kettle corn from the cafe, cause that’s how he rolls.

We hit up the “Tropical Asia” section as our last exploration before we headed home- and so glad we did! Although some of the animals seemed to have retired for the evening (we missed the tiger and the leapord), the orangutans were our next favorite exhibit of the day! They were wrestling and the kids laughed their heads off at all of the mischief!

The Woodland Park Zoo has so much more to offer than what we saw today! Giraffes, zebras, bears, wolves and more! The rhino exhibit opens in 2018! We will definitely be back, it’s on our Seattle favorite must do list!

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Hiking with Kids:: Fallsview Canyon Trail::Olympic National Forest

Sadie crawled in bed with me early this morning to snuggle. She said “Mom, do I have to school today?”

“Nope, we’re going for a hike! But please, don’t share that with your brother (he has to go to kindergarten)”

So of course, she blurts it out over the breakfast table. Haden looked at me with the saddest eyes, as if to say “it’s not true, right mom?!?” And I looked back at him with heartache. He pulled the cereal box in front of his face and started to silently sob.

“Of course you can go with us, buddy! I’ll call the school now to let them know!” His face lit up and he jumped up to pack his bag for the hike ahead.

Cruising down the highway, we did a U- turn to the ranger station before we entered the National Forest. We picked up the essentials- a map, a safety whistle, and of course, two pair of Smokey the Bear binoculars for the expert wildlife observers.


The Fallview Canyon Trail is just past the entrance to the National Forest near Quilcene. It used to be an operating campground, but doesn’t appear to have been up and running for a few years now.

The trail itself is just to the left of the campground. It starts with quite a few switch backs, where I helped the kids in several parts to navigate because of the somewhat slippery gravel. Once you get to the bottom, you have a great view of the river.


The trail itself follows the river and goes to a 1/2 mile loop near the end. It is a fairly easy route with a small elevation gain (I believe around 475ft). The entire length of the trail is 1.3 miles.


My kids mostly spent the time collecting the fuzzy ends of ferns, because they decided they were really cool and worth collecting. The other half was mostly arguing about who got to be the leader- such is life with siblings.

But perhaps my favorite part of being in nature with them is all of the questions! A lot of them I don’t even know myself- like really, is that a banana slug? Why is it called that? Does it really taste like a banana? Why is it harder for girls to pee outside? Why do people glitter (aka litter)? Where do bears sleep? What exactly IS moss?!?

Burning questions, these two come up with! And to think- no service in the mountains to consult with Mr. Google!


Food is key motivation when hiking with kids, so making a goal of getting to a certain point before we ate lunch was key. This lunch was on a log bench overlooking the river. We ate strawberries and cheese and turkey and talked about what decomposing meant. They asked me how many rings I’d have if I was a tree (29, of course!). I made them crowns from ferns while they used their binoculars to spot birds in the trees.

We really had such a good time on the trail. They still don’t really get why mom makes them walk in the forest to no apparent real destination, but I think the more we do it the more they find enjoyment in it. I’m happy and proud to say I’m cultivating the love of outdoors in them at such an early age. I am so excited for all of our future hiking adventures to come!