Travel in My Town: Bainbridge Island, Washington

Please help me welcome Trish from 3 Kids and a Breakdown! She is here sharing some of her favorite things to do with kids in Bainbridge Island, Washington. I am embarrassed to admit that I had to look it up on a map. I can’t imagine having to hop a ferry to get to a nearby city. My kids would think that was an adventure in itself! Be sure to stop by Trish’s blog where she writes an honest account of all things parenthood. There is no sugar coating and I love it! 

I am really enjoying my new Travel in My Town series because I am learning more about places that have long since been on my list to visit and adding some that weren’t previously on my radar.  Do you want to share your favorite things about your town?  Send me an email at jennifer at twokidsandamap dot com.

Welcome, Trish!

I’m excited to introduce you to my idyllic town of Bainbridge Island, Washington. We are a 35 minute ferry ride away from Seattle in Puget Sound.  I’m not going to lie it rains on occasion (9 months out of 12, give or take), but it’s still an amazingly beautiful island with a ton of fun things for you and your entire family.  I’m happy to share our family’s favorite island activities with you.

Bloedel Reserve is a beautiful 150 acre public garden. It was once a private estate belonging to Prentice and Virginia Bloedel. The reserve includes landscaped gardens, including a Japanese Garden, a Moss Garden, and Reflection Pool, and the Bloedel’s former estate home. The grounds are breath taking year round. You can easily spend hours exploring the 150 acres.

Photo by Wendy Wallace

They offer a variety of seasonal activities, such as the squash scavenger hunt my girls took part in last fall.

Fay Bainbridge  is a perfect spot for a family picnic. It’s a beautiful spot to enjoy the sound while sitting on the shore. The kids love the playground just feet from the beach. There are picnic tables and a fireplace/oven that you can use.  You can also camp here. We’ve not done that yet.

Fort Ward is a beautiful park with a 2 mile hiking trail that our family loves. It’s a beautiful hike in any season. We like to walk down to the salmon farm where we are often greeted by seals. My kids love to explore the old bunker.  Once you get to South Beach you are rewarded with a view of Mt. Rainier.  There are also picnic tables, a boat launch and views of Rich Passage where you can see the ferries going by.

Photo Credit

Battle Point Park  There are a lot of great playgrounds on the island, but our family’s favorite is definitely Battle Point Park. The playground has equipment for little ones and big ones, alike. All 3 of my girls are thoroughly entertained when we are at this playground.

Photo by Wendy Wallace

Battle Point Park is also home to a lovely duck pond. We enjoy feeding the ducks and seeing the babies each spring.

Photo by Wendy Wallace

Another of my girls’ favorites is the Battle Point Park’s planetarium.  At 27½ inches in diameter it is the largest publicly accessible telescope in the Northwest.  The Battle Point Astronomical Association holds free monthly star parties, which include planetarium shows and telescope viewings that are open to the public.

Photo by Wendy Wallace

Kidimu – Pronounced kiddy moo and short for Kids Discovery Museum. A short a walk from the ferry and a ton of fun for kids of all ages.  On the entrance level you will find a grocery store full of all sorts of food stuff, a cash register, aprons, shopping carts and a scale to weight your goods. There is also a medical office and a bank, equally out-fitted with play things that are also educational. There is a picnic area for all that loot you bought at the grocery store.  It’s right near the ferry.  You’ll find a small gift shop area and the pirate tree house.  There is a small area for crawlers with all manner of soft toys, puzzles and a rocker for mama (or dada).  Upstairs is a design studio that has craft supplies set out. There is also Science Hall where your little ones can discover velocity, gravity and acceleration while playing with golf balls in the motion madness and fun with physics exhibits. Check the website for special events and exhibits.

Mora Iced Creamery – After all that playing, hiking, star gazing and picnicing you will need to go to Mora for the best ice cream you’ve ever had! Seriously delicious.  Flavors change with the seasons, but my favorite year round is chocolate peanut butter moreo. My girls like to get a banana split with 3 crazy flavors and all manner of toppings.

My daughter (center) and her two bff’s destroying a banana split in celebration of her 8th birthday last August.

Trish is a stay-at-home-mom to 3 girls, a wife, writer,  and blogger at 3 Kids and a Breakdown. She loves martinis, dessert, trash TV, books and 4-letter words.

Travel in My Town – Seattle

I am so excited to introduce a new series that I will be posting occasionally on Tuesdays called Travel in My Town.  I have some great guest posts from the blogging community to share with you.  I am looking forward to learning some insider tips about favorite activities in their cities!  I am honored to begin this series with my writing pal, Keryn.  Keryn lives in Seattle, a city that I have never been to but is high on my list of places to visit, and she is sharing her favorite toddler-friendly activities.  Be sure to follow the links to her blog, Walkingon Travels, where she writes about everything from flying with children, to exploring Asia with kids and finding inspiration to travel.  Keryn is kind, funny and helpful.  Someday, I hope to make it to Seattle and maybe we can meet for coffee!  Welcome, Keryn!

I’ve lived in Seattle for over 5 years, but I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all this city has to offer. Whether we are under a seemingly endless rain cloud or enjoying gorgeous summer days (it’s why we all live here after all) I can always find something to do with my toddler son in a city of endless activities and natural wonders.

Woodland Park Zoo

Our local zoo may not be the biggest in the country but it sure does pack a punch. I have been there at least 20 times and I still happen upon exhibits I have never noticed before. Orchids, poisonous frogs and birds fill the Tropical Rainforest building, while snow leopards, tigers and jaguars will have your kids growling and purring in no time. There are daily feedings and animal presentations that both kids and parents can get excited about and learn from. If you are looking for a little break from the animals, there is also an historic carousel you can take a whirl around before setting up a picnic lunch on the lawn.

Pike Place Market

Yes, this seems like a tourist trap to be sure, especially in the summer, but it is also a very active local market. If you love to eat and have kids that can’t wait to try out a few new foods along with some of their old standbys then than Pike Place should not be missed. You will definitely see a few characters offering everything from fresh off the boat fish to bursting with flavor strawberries and a silver necklace with matching t-shirt to boot. Do a little jig along with a street musician, watch cheese masters shoveling curds and gorge yourself on crumpets and donuts from the Daily Dozen. Just watch out for flying fish.

Kubota Garden

A free park, beautifully maintained and away from the tourist crowds, what’s not to love? I continue to head to this park just south of downtown to soak in the Japanese inspired design. The dramatic colors change with each season and make you wonder what next month will bring. Paths are extremely kid-friendly and there are no park rangers yelling at you to keep off the grass. Be respectful, but also feel free to explore what Mother Nature is cooking up that day.

Ballard Farmers Market

This is by far one of our favorite farmers markets in the city. Held every Sunday, rain or shine, this is the place to go for fresh produce, some delicious street food and a whole lot of people watching. If you aren’t up for Pike Place Market this is a great, if not better, introduction to Seattle’s love of farm fresh food. Pull up a slice of curb, a freshly made tamale and just watch the locals stroll by with kids, dogs and bicycles in tow.

Volunteer Park

I’m not sure if I get more excited about the various elements in this park that makes multiple trips a must, or the Volunteer Park café down the street that serves up one heck of a breakfast. Whether you want to swing from the monkey bars at the playground, take a peek at a few paintings in the Asian Art Museum, or just warm up with some flowers in the Conservatory, there is something for everyone. Oh and Bruce Lee is buried just behind the park if you feel the need to make a little pilgrimage.

Seward Park

I’ve only seen a fraction of this park but it is already one of my favorites. Stunning views of Mt. Rainier peak over the horizon. There are sandy beaches for kids to splash around in along with a very impressive playground. The Seward Park Environment and Audobon Center leads toddlers on a Little Tykes Tales and Trails expedition, even on rainy mornings, throughout the park.

Mom and active blogger, Keryn Means left the publishing world in 2011 to take care of her growing family and follow her passion for travel. A native of Philadelphia, she spends her days exploring her new home in Seattle with her toddler son and anxiously awaits the arrival of her second born due in late April. When her son is asleep you can find her editing photos and writing away on Walkingon Travels. Keryn follows the mantra that just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to put your travel dreams aside, if anything they just get bigger and more exciting.  Follow Keryn on Twitter and Facebook, too!