Play: Ballard Locks and Golden Gardens Park

Last Thursday the kids and I got out of the house and made our way to Seattle. Finley is always so excited to go to the "City." She loves the drive on the freeway and all the big buildings. Even Grady gets into it and looks at the cars going by and says, "Vrrrooom. Vrrrrooom." So cute!

Our plan was to spend the morning at the The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (aka Ballard Locks), have a picnic lunch and then head back home in time for Grady's nap. But we had so much fun and the weather was so nice we decided to add a stop at Golden Garden Parks for a little play time and ice cream.

The Parking Situation
Ballard Locks is completely free. (Yeah for free fun!) The only thing to worry about is parking. They have a pay lot right at the entrance to the park. It's $2 an hour for up to 6 hours. If you don't have a Starbucks addiction, go for it. But for me, that's 1 1/4  grande pumpkin spice lattes. So an extra 5 minutes to find a free spot on a side road and walk a few blocks to the entrance is definitely worth it. (Head east on Market St past 32nd Ave for some easy-peasy parking.)

The Fun
Ready to go!

Right when we got to the Locks, we walked across the first walkway, found a bench, and watched a bunch of boats go through. (Oh, and ate a cookie or two before lunch. It's hard to say no to them when I'm really craving a sugar cookie, too.)

This place is full of fun things for the kids to see - water, boats, trains, planes...

After watching the boats for a while, we walked across to the fish ladders and the viewing area. As soon as we walked in we caught a glimpse of the fish. The kids were so excited. (I was maybe just a wee bit excited, too!) We didn't see too many salmon. I think I counted 6. But I was just pleased that we saw that many in the short time we were down there.

The kids were getting antsy so we walked back up and across and immediately spotted a seal. Ok, I know it's hard to tell from this picture. But it is a seal. We walked back to the cookie bench to enjoy our picnic lunch and spotted the same seal enjoying his lunch as well. There was some sort of fight to the death between the seagulls and the seal. Lunch and a show!

After our lunch we headed back home. I decided to drive up Seaview Avenue to get a view of the Sound. After spotting the playground at Golden Gardens Park I couldn't say no to a quick stop there. I figured it would hopefully tire the kids out even more and ensure a nice, long nap on the way home. (That backfired on me big time!)

After some time at the playground, I spotted a little shop that sells ice cream. Yes, please!

Melted ice cream + sand = a whole lot of clean up

Such a beautiful day!

Play, Stay Way, or Just Okay
Both the Ballard Locks and the Golden Gardens Park get my highest Play rating! We will definitely be back to the Ballard Locks. Hopefully sometime in the next month or two. I would love to see the fish actually swimming up the fish ladder. And we didn't even begin to explore the Botanical Gardens. I think you'll find us there on the next crisp, Fall day to watch the leaves changing color.

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