Preschool Hikes: Discovering More in Seattle’s Discovery Park

Places often remain wonderful in mind because I haven’t quite discovered all they have to offer.  The mystery and unknown give me reason to come back and explore.  Magic remains.

Seattle’s Discovery Park is one example.  Maybe its because we usually fall into the same routine: Parking in the same area, hiking down the same stairs toward the beach, walking along the same stretch of shore.  Still beautiful, but I always knew there was more.

For this visit, I switched it up and we saw several aspects of the park that I’ve never seen.  And because of that I have an even greater appreciation for the place.  Even better, as you might expect my two little adventurers were also along for the ride, and for one of them (Georgia, 2 months) this was her very first visit.

Environmental Learning Center

I’d heard that there was an indoor learning space here, but never visited myself.  So to make sure we had a chance check it out, I made it our starting point.  The center proved to be a great spot to get our nature juices flowing.  The space is filled with books, puppets, and tons of other hands on materials for little ones to investigate before or after heading off on an outdoor adventure.

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Summer Camp Dreams at Orcas Island, WA’s Camp Orkila

Are your kids going to camp this summer? Our little guy (2.5 years old) is a bit too young for such fun at this point, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t already giving it some thought.

Dreaming, really, and honestly,  wishing we were the ones getting to enjoy the outdoor time, arts and crafts, sports, and learning without all the everyday interruptions of regular life.

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Being Brave: Crossing the Alexandra Bridge Near Hope, BC

This year over our Memorial Day weekend, we were spontaneous and took a chance.  With just a couple of days notice, we planned a quick one-night getaway up to British Columbia to a small mountain town known for Rambo, chainsaw carvings, and countless outdoor adventure opportunities.  Hope, BC, just under 100 miles (150 km) east of Vancouver is situated along the Fraser River between the Coast Mountain range and the Cascade Mountain range.

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Seattle Cherry Blossoms Two Ways: University of Washington and Kobe Terrace Park

If I had to pick my favorite aspect of spring in Seattle, it would be our gorgeous cherry blossoms that pop open all over the city letting us know we made it.  We made it through yet another dreary, gray winter, and it’s time to celebrate.

It’s no secret.  The “quad” at the University of Washington is one of the best places to view the beautiful bloomig blossoms.  The surrounding buildings add a great backdrop, the brick walkways tie it all together, and just being on a college campus brings a sense of wonder and possibility.

This spring we’ve actually made it to campus twice.  The first time by bike just before the flowers were at their peak.  Sure, the trees didn’t quite have the cotton candy effect of when the blossoms are truly in their prime, but I’ll take that experience any day over what happened when we returned a week or so later.  Let’s just say a sunny, warm (for Seattle) Sunday isn’t the best time to enjoy a relaxing, leisurely stroll around the quad.

So my mental scrapbook of our collegiate cherry blossoms will look something like this:

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Kobe, Japan: Traveling the World in our Own Backyard with Seattle’s 21 Sister Cities

Did you know that Seattle currently has sister city relationships with 21 cities throughout the world? The establishment of sister cities fosters relationships between two locales thus creating greater understanding of their respective cultures.  The exchange program began in 1956 thanks to President Dwight Eisenhower.  His intention was essentially one of world peace and less conflict; or at least more peaceful relationships between the United States and other countries of the world.

I have an ongoing goal of honoring and highlighting each of the 21 sister cities of Seattle.  The master list of cities appears in my “Travel the World in Your Own Backyard: Seattle’s 21 International Sister Cities” post and will be updated every couple of weeks.  

Sister City: Kobe, Japan

Year Established: 1957

Representation in Seattle:

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Keeping Kids in Nature: 8 Ways to Make Time for the Outdoors

Guilt.  That’s the feeling that was creeping up inside and pestering me about spending time outdoors with Bergen (2.5 years old).  Thinking that just wandering around experiencing nature is an avoidance or even a luxury.  It’s an extra saved only for when we have time.

Shouldn’t I be worried about and occupying myself with more important things? You know, household stuff.  Maintenance.  Organization.  Cleaning.  Just getting things done.

Yes, those are valid concerns, but after listening to an inspiring talk by Richard Louv, and diving into his book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, I’m convinced that my instinct is correct.  While spending time outdoors is indeed a pastime, it’s not just a way to pass the time.  It’s serious business, and our health depends on it.

According to Louv, TIME is one of the top reasons kids are kept from nature.  Many of us struggle with finding enough hours in the day to accomplish all we want to accomplish, so I thought I’d share eight ways we create more outdoor time for ourselves and our son.

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Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Traveling the World in our Own Backyard with Seattle’s 21 International Sister Cities

Did you know that Seattle currently has sister city relationships with 21 cities throughout the world? The establishment of sister cities fosters relationships between two locales thus creating greater understanding of their respective cultures.  The exchange program began in 1956 thanks to President Dwight Eisenhower.  His intention was essentially one of world peace and less conflict; or at least more peaceful relationships between the United States and other countries of the world.

I have an ongoing goal of honoring and highlighting each of the 21 sister cities of Seattle.  The master list of cities appears in my “Travel the World in Your Own Backyard: Seattle’s 21 International Sister Cities” post and will be updated every couple of weeks.  

Sister City: Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Year Established: 1973

Representation in Seattle:

The Tashkent-Seattle relationship is quite strong, and was actually the very first Soviet-American Sister City connection to be established in the world.  A wide variety of exchanges have occurred between Tashkent and Seattle from the arts (cinema, dance, tightrope walking) to professional (dentist, lawyer, chef) to social and civic work, and beyond.

The sister city organization hosts an annual event in the spring to celebrate the Central Asian New Year called Navruz.

Our “travels” took us to the Tashkent Park, which was dedicated, with a visit from the Mayor of Tashkent, in 1974 and is located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.  It features the statue, “Semurg” “Bird of Happiness”, given to Seattle from the people of Tashkent in 1989, in addition to an arbor and painted peace tiles created by school children.

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