Outside In-City Fun for Kids

We are blessed to live in a part of the world whose natural beauty beckons us out-of-doors. You don't have to pack your tent and hiking boots and drive hours outside of the city to immerse yourself in God's creation, though. As the Seattle Christian Homeschoolers Co-op Girls' Club found out, enjoying nature is as easy as stepping out your front door.

Ballard Locks & Fish Ladder: The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are always a great attraction. The visitor center's gift shop has a wonderful garden pamphlet which can help you find many of the rare and exotic plants waiting to be discovered. Every trip to the Locks should include a walk in the garden, watching the boats, visiting the fish ladder, and exploring the exhibits and gift shop. Free guided tours are given March 1 through November 30. For tour times and additional information, go to Ballard Locks or call (206) 783-7059.

Camp Long Programs: Located in West Seattle, this 68 acre park offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy nature, hike in the forest, camp overnight in rustic cabins, rock climb, and learn about natural history. A talented staff of naturalists lead group environmental education and rock climbing classes. Programs at Camp Long are fun, interactive experiences for all ages. To find out what's happening at Camp Long, see the brochure online.

Discovery Park Junior Naturalist Program: Discovery Park, at 534-acres, is the largest city park in Seattle. It provides an expanse of quiet and tranquility away from the stress and activity of the city, a sanctuary for wildlife, as well as an outdoor natural classroom. The Junior Naturalist Program is for 12-16-year-olds who have a desire to work with young children, are motivated to become a role model, want to learn leadership skills, and have an interest in the natural environment. Junior Naturalists participate in 15+ hours of training prior to volunteering for Discovery Park Nature Daycamp. To receive information for the 2007 summer season, please e-mail For more information about other park programs, go to Discovery Park.

Richmond Beach Low Tide Walks: Explore and investigate the fascinating world of marine beaches during low tides and observe sea stars, crabs and others who live in Puget Sound. Join beach naturalists for these fun, free and informative beach walks. Dress for the weather. Waterproof footwear is recommended. For more information, call (206) 418-3383.

Seattle Audubon Neighborhood Bird Walks: Audubon members and their friends are invited to go on a bird walk to introduce them to one of many fine birding locations in the greater Seattle area. Each trip will be held on a Saturday morning, rain or shine, and will last about two hours. No sign-up is required; just show up and enjoy the guidance of experienced birders. Families are welcome. Check for upcoming dates and locations online.

Seattle Tilth Junior Counselor Program: An exciting opportunity for gardeners aged 10-14 to participate in our summer camps and help younger children learn about organic gardening. Week-long placements offer all the fun of summer camp with the opportunity to lead garden activities. Leadership training and orientation provided. Contact Lisa Taylor at or (206) 633-0451, ext. 2.

Shoreline Lunchtime Music Series: Free concerts will be held every Tuesday this summer (Noon—1:00 p.m., July 10—August 14). Locations alternate between Richmond Beach and Hamlin Park. Music styles range from kid tunes to international rhythms. For more information, go to City of Shoreline Events or call (206) 418-3383.

Sky Nursery Junior Gardener Program: Become part of Sky Nursery's newest creation: Sky's Junior Gardeners Club! Joining the club is FREE for young people (kindergarten through grade 6) who are interested in gardening.The club newsletter includes informational articles about everything from vegetables to bird life, fun games, recipes, craft ideas, and exciting gardening activities. Plus, keep your eyes peeled for a free surprise each month when you come visit us at the nursery. The nursery also hosts special activities for Junior Garden Club members. So come join the FUN! Come in or call 206-546-4851 to sign up now!

Weekend Walks at the Arboretum: Free weekend walks are offered the first and third Sunday of the month at 1:00 p.m. January through November.  The 60 to 90 minute walks, led by trained Arboretum guides, focus on seasonal interest in the Arboretum, native plants or Foster Island ecology.  Walks depart from the Graham Visitors Center.  Dress for the weather, tours will take place rain or shine! For more information about the Arboretum, go to Washington Park Arboretum.

Thanks to the Seattle Christian Homeschoolers Co-op Girls' Club who compiled this list..