Washington has so much to offer, from Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in the state, to beautiful waterfalls, to the hustle and bustle of Seattle. We catered a lot to the kids while we were in Washington going to two separate children’s museums and the aquarium. Pike’s Place Market was a must-see destination as was Snoqualmie Falls. Join our adventures as we spent more than a week in the evergreen state.
Our first stop in Washington was Mount Rainier, the highest mountain in the state. Unfortunately for Blakely, it was her birthday and she didn’t get a whole lot of frills. We drove up from Oregon for half of the day, parked the RV, then headed up to Paradise. We chose this entrance because the visitor’s center was open until 7:30 pm.
The afternoon was slightly overcast and chilly. The road up to the Paradise Visitor’s Center was beautiful with all of the scenery of the old growth forest. The road was windy and there are many car pull-off so you can soak it all in. The girls had a fun time looking for the top of the mountain between curves.
When we reached the top, there were two different parking lots. One was close to the visitor’s center and the other one was an overnight/overflow parking. Apparently, there are many who back-country ski here overnight, which is pretty amazing. I told Colter that he should come back and backcountry ski here.
Due to our time of day arriving, all we were able to do was grab our Junior Ranger packets and look through the visitors center quickly. Fortunately, the cafe was still open and we grabbed a quick bite to eat before we headed back down the mountain. We even scored an extra slice of pizza because the cafe was almost closing.
On our way out, the clouds cleared slightly and we could see the top of Mount Rainier. It was beautiful. Going on a hike would have been fun but it was getting late and we still needed to celebrate Blakely’s birthday.
Colter rode his mountain bike all the way down off the top of the Paradise visitors center. He actually could take the corners faster than the car. The girls and I followed him down to make sure he didn’t get hit by a car. It was still light enough but some of the cars drive pretty fast and he didn’t have any bright clothes on. He did have a helmet though!
Around 22 miles the road started getting flat and Colter was ready to be done on the bike. He loaded the bike back on top of the car and we headed toward the RV. Our next task was to find Blakely a birthday cake.
There weren’t many stores between Mt. Rainier and our camping spot but there was a general store. Colter spotted the store first and I hurried and pulled over. Colter, Blakely, and Tessa ran in while Saylor and I sat in the car. They were in there for a while so I was doubtful they had anything. I was wrong. Colter came out with a Triple Berry Pie.
The pie was perfect. We headed back to the RV, threw the pie in the oven and turned on the new Yogi Bear movie.
Issaquah was our base-camp for the week. We have family here and stayed, parked, outside on their driveway. It was so fun for all of us to spend time with family.
While we were in Issaquah, both Colter and I rode our bikes at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park, which is great. There are multiple mountain bike, single track trails at all different levels of difficulty. Originally I was looking for more of a path trail. The first trail I took was very eye-opening for me. I walked places and then hopped on an easier trail. My second time through I was a lot more comfortable. It had rained the night before and my back and legs were caked with mud by the time I made it back to the RV.
While we were here, our 130 Ironman Challenge was wrapping up. I was able to run three times this week and finish off my miles! I love how Washington makes bike trails and running trails that are not right on the road. There are specific paths where you do not worry about getting hit by cars.
We have been to our fair share of children’s museums and this place seemed small but was packed with adventure. The first thing you see when you walk in is a rope climbing structure. The girls walked on the squishy floor tiles past the front desk and went straight to climbing. Saylor even wanted to climb so I wiggled my way up and helped her along.
Their water area was fantastic. Saylor almost wouldn’t leave. The thing that made it so great was there was a lot to do for a two-year-old. There was even a separate section with a few lower activities. Blakely and Tessa loved the shaving cream craft.
We spent all day playing here.
A visit close to Seattle without visiting the famous Pike’s Place Market would not be complete. We came on a weekday, which was perfect. There were no crazy crowds and we found parking in the garage right under the market.
Coming out of the elevator the first thing we came to was the pig statue. The girls posed quick with the pig and we started down the street. We saw everything from a fairy shop, flamed glass jewelry (that matches any outfit you wear), hand-crafted knives and cutting boards, to unique house decorations.
The one thing I love about farmer’s markets is seeing the many different types of things people create. As we were walking, there was a jewelry table with kids bracelets. The bracelets were adorable. They would have been so cute on the girls. A leather wrist clutch was the base and then we could have personalized their names on the bracelets with wire. Watching the lady create other bracelets was definitely a work of art.
Along with a lot of cool items to look at, the girls all wanted to touch everything. A couple of store owners reminded us that their product should not be touched by children. We kept walking. Soon we realized the girls weren’t listening to our requests to stay close and not to touch anything. Colter needed to get some work done so he took the girls and sat them in the car to take a nap while he would be working on his computer and making phone calls. I was to enjoy the market.
I looked around through the market by myself little more. Somehow I unknowingly walked to the gum wall. Let me tell you, it is gross upon the first impression but when you step back and look at the wall as a whole it is an interesting piece of art. I didn’t add anything to the wall but it was fun to watch other people as they interacted with the wall. One person stuck their tongue out within an inch of the wall…gross.
Walking around by myself wasn’t a lot of fun. I kept thinking about how much everyone else would have enjoyed it. We might have had some struggles but it would have been worth it. A stroller is what we should have brought to the market. I headed back to the car.
When I arrived, the girls were watching a movie and Saylor was asleep.
This day was a day to remember for sure! I headed out to Seattle to the aquarium with the girls. Colter stayed back to get some work done. My phone died around noon and from the aquarium we walked to the Pacific Science Center.
The aquarium was a hit! All three girls loved the touch pools. We hung around the touch pool most of our time at the aquarium. When the employee brought out a sea cucumber, put it in a bowl and set it on the floor the girls were really excited. We also all learned a lot more about sea cucumbers.
The other big hit was the huge octopus. Mesmerizing. It was so active, moving from one side of his habitat to the other side. I would have loved to get pictures and video but my phone died. The most interesting fact is that the huge octopus could have fit through a four-inch hole or however wide his beak is. The beak is the limiting factor if an octopus can fit through any space. The rest of the body can just squeeze.
The girls were finished with the aquarium in the early afternoon. My two choices were to one, go home and have the girls fall asleep around three or two, find another activity so they would fall asleep close to bedtime. I chose option two and the Pacific Science Center didn’t seem that far away.
Looking back I should have driven or taken the train. When I asked the lady at the aquarium how far it was to the Science Center she said it wasn’t that far and gave me a map. So here I am, walking down the boardwalk, through a park, and up the hill to find the Science Center. We made it and the girls did awesome. Even Saylor walked most of the way.
With my phone dead, I called Colter as soon as I reached the Science Center so he knew I was alright. In our conversation, I mentioned getting a taxi to go back to the market because I knew the girls would be tired. Fortunately, the lady at the front desk at the science center overheard our conversation and after I was off the phone mentioned I could take the rail back. What??
It was really easy to do the monorail. We still had to walk a couple blocks back to the car but it was nice to ride and not have to hire a taxi.
The Science Center was big and had a lot of space. The favorite place to go though was the Tropical Butterfly House. Here the butterflies are everywhere and may even land on you as you walk down the path. One landed on Blakely and she was SO excited. We would have stayed longer but the science center was about to close.
If you are interested in beautiful waterfalls or just power in general, the 270-foot Snowqualamie Falls is a great place to visit. The observation deck is very family friendly and there are also multiple places to view the falls. You could spend half an hour or longer here just looking at the falls. The hike down is not very far so it really depends on how long you like to look at waterfalls.
The water is used to generate power. You can read all about it on the signs around the viewing area. There is also a power museum on the other side of the river that talks all about generating power from water. Reading the history of how it all started is fascinating and really informative.
We walked over the bridge from the falls to view the museum. While we were there, there were kids turning on and off old breaker boxes and all of a sudden a train rolled into the ‘station.’ We wanted to see if we could get a ride. Since it was late in the day they were not picking up any more passengers. I think it would have been fun though.
We enjoyed every minute we had in Washington and were sad to leave. The one thing we did want to do is go to the most western point of the United States. Unfortunately, it was way north and out of our way as we continued on our 50 states in 50-week adventure into Idaho and Montana. I guess we will just have to add it to our bucket list.