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Family trip late February

Vancouver, Canada
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Family trip late February

We are sending DD off to California for a few days at the end of February. I promised 11 yr old DS that he could have a weekend in Seattle when she goes. Its not quite LA, but it will have to do. :)

So, mom, dad and said 11 yr old will be spending Thursday, Friday and Saturday night in the area, heading home on Sunday. Said 11 yr old is used to having his sister for company, so it may be dull for him so I want to find some fun things. The only suggestion he had was a Sounders game, no go.

On any recent trips to Seattle, we've done exhibitions at the Science Centre and the Zoo, so want something new this time. I think probably Pike Place Market, and the Museum of Flight. Considering the Boeing Tour on the way home (can you believe that both my dad and my husband have worked there and neither one of them has gotten me in for a tour! Sheesh!). Might spend the Saturday night in Port Townsend - haven't been there in a very long time.

So, its February in Seattle and I have an 11 yr old and this trip is primarily as a treat for him so he doesn't feel too hard done by while his sister gets shipped off to California. What do you recommend?

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Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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1. Re: Family trip late February

I always suggest the Ballard Locks. The locks themselves are beautiful and interesting, even more so when a boat goes through. There's more, however, You can walk across the channel on the various catwalks and enter an underground viewing station for migrating salmon and steelhead. There are underwater windows from which to watch the fish. You don't always see any, but it's a thrill when you do. Finally, the locks are set in a lovely garden that features many winter blooming plants, among them magnificently scented daphnes and sarcococca, as well as many different types of hellebores. Ballard is one of Seattle's most interesting neighborhoods and has many terrific restaurants, so you might want to take the bus up and just stroll around looking for interesting places to stop.

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Family trip late February

I think the Museum of Flight and the Boeing tour would be terrific. Instead of Port Townsend, you could follow the Boeing tour with a day on Whidbey Island (ferry from Mukilteo, 10 min. from the Boeing plant.) Kids LOVE Fort Casey (lighthouse, gun emplacements) and Deception Pass. Back on the mainland near LaConner, you might be able to see some eagles or a few gazillion snow geese on the Skagit flats - awesome if the sun comes out.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Family trip late February

Wonderful recommendations - thank you. The Ballard Locks sounds like a great place for us to explore.

We've had some wonderful weekends on Whidbey Island (I think perhaps I have even learned how to spell it!) and so I was thinking PT just because I haven't been over there for 15+ years. But DS would remember Fort Eby from our camping trip there several years ago and he might enjoy a return visit. And while I remember many happy hours of climbing around Fort Casey as a kid, I'm not sure we've ever stopped in there as a family. Perhaps that is a more practical destination for the ride home.

Hmmm - is the Whidbey Winery still there? Their loganberry liqueur was fantastic stuff. And good port too.

Thanx!

Edited: 21 January 2014, 20:46
western WA
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4. Re: Family trip late February

I've never met an 11yo who showed much interest in hellebores (but hey, mine are blooming right now - I may go check them out!). The locks are fun, though. I imagine it would take about an hour. Right across the street is a good place to get a burger at the Totem House. Not far west is Golden Gardens beach. If you're at the locks at the end of the day, Ray's Cafe upstairs has great views and good chowder. Downstairs is a much fancier place, but the cafe would be ok on an 11yo day. After twilight, there are often people juggling fire at Golden Gardens beach, so might be worth a drive by. The Leif Erickson statue is right there, too.

In the same vicinity for a day trip as the locks are the Troll, Archie McPhee's in Wallingford, Gasworks Park, fish and chips on the barge at Ivar's Salmon House, Theo Chocolate tour, and the Fremont Market (if you go on a Sunday).

If you've got Boeing in the family, I'd say the factory tour is a must, so plan around that. There is a cool Goodwill outlet nearby if your family likes that kind of thing. Good pickings generally, and you pay by the pound. See Macklemore's Thrift Shop video to get the idea. I got a parachute there once, but you never know what you'll find (maybe nothing). In Everett, we like to go to Scuttlebutt brewery to eat. We used to go to Bobby's Hawaiian, featured on Diners Drive ins and Dives, but they have moved to Lynnwood. I'm sure the food is still good, but I haven't been.

Oregon/Washington
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5. Re: Family trip late February

We too loved the Whidbeys loganberry liquer:) The winery is not there, but another couple has started making it in their distillery there a couple years ago. I have not had it since they have been making it, but still have a bit of the old stuff left which we love.

If you go to Port Townsend, a place that we always stay at is the Guest Cottage by Morgan Hill Designs. It is very nice, and has a loft for kids, so your son will probably love it. Our family enjoys the wandering around Fort Worden, and up around the old bunkers, etc.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Family trip late February

Well, I have to say, I've gone from "Seattle in February? How dreary!" to feeling quite excited about this trip. Thanks again for all the great ideas.

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Family trip late February

We had a wonderful trip! Thanks for all your help.

Had a pretty smooth run to SeaTac, and I was very impressed that the parking was only $3 an hour. You pay more than that for 15 min at YVR. I wasn't aware that my $25 Unaccompanied Minor charge for DD was so that we had the privilege of escorting her to the gate ourselves, and nearly lost my Swiss Army knife going through security. I was then expected to wait at the gate until the plane was off the ground. Anyway, got it sorted, although would have appreciated clearer information from Alaska in advance on how that all worked, as I had to message my friend who was collecting her at the other end to make sure he took his passport with him to the airport to collect her.

Then back to the Silver Cloud Inn on Lake Union. Very happy with the hotel and its amenities. Friday was grey but clear, so we decided to start with Ballard and the locks. Lovely historic place and the visitor centre was quite good. I should have paid for more than 1 hr of parking. We were able to watch two boats go through the locks, which my son and my husband quite enjoyed. No salmon at this time of year of course.

Then into Freemont for a nice sandwich lunch at The Other Coast Cafe before heading down to the Museum of Flight as it had started to rain. Wow. Spent all afternoon there and probably only managed to get through about 2/3 of it. Just ran out of time and stamina to see it all and walked out talking about our next visit. This place goes on my "must see" list for any visitor to Seattle. Truly, one of the best museums I have been to anywhere, certainly better than anything we have here, even the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (which is still very good, but MoF is still better). I particularly appreciated the heritage interpretation - the story telling - and all the volunteers around to explain things. The approach to the exhibits was factual and even-handed, with lots of detail, but also lots of different methods of telling their stories (printed text, hands on experimental exhibits, movies and videos, interactive, audio) that kept everyone in our party interested.

The one tip I learned is that all the planes outside are not open all the time. We were able to go through the Concord and Air Force One (both really interesting to see), but my son wanted to see the upstairs lounge in the 747. We were advised to check the website as these planes are open on a rotating basis through the summer and we need to plan our next trip for when the 747 is open.

We made a quick trip to Southcenter to pick up a replacement for a forgotten swimsuit and then back to the hotel for a quick swim before dinner. Had dinner at nearby Bucca di Bepo. What a fun restaurant. Definitely better for groups, but we enjoyed the leftovers an the food was very good. Just make sure when you go here that you understand that service is "family style", so its like going out for Chinese food. You order a plate of this and plate of that and then serve yourself at the table.

Quite startled that no one at the hotel was watching the Olympics??? What's with showing a college basketball game when US is playing Canada in the hockey semi-final??? Or HGTV during the bronze medal game? Really? Where's your spirit people? Never mind, the change in the weather yesterday made us decide that it wasn't going to be a good night for Camano Island, so we came home instead and set the alarm for 4 am to watch the gold medal game at least. Woot! :)

Thanks for a great weekend, Seattle. I really enjoyed exploring some new areas and having more on my list for next time.

Port Angeles, WA
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8. Re: Family trip late February

I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip. I love both the Ballard Locks and the Museum of Flight.

9. Re: Family trip late February

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