Your 2015 Seattle Parks Summer Bucket List

Remember when you were a kid and summer meant three months of sleeping in and not knowing which day it was? Blissful. But now you’re older, and people send you meeting requests in July and schedule appointments in August. You’re expected to show up to work even when it’s 80 degrees and sunny. The audacity.

At Seattle Parks and Recreation, we believe that no matter what your age, you deserve to have some summertime fun. We’ve put together a Summer Bucket List that has something for everyone. So get out your day planner, and scribble some of these events in. They’re sure to turn a ho-hum week into a hopping good time. [Read more…]

Westlake Children’s Play Area Grand Opening

The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA), City of Seattle and Seattle Children’s Research Institute will host a grand opening celebration of the new Westlake Children’s Play Area at Westlake Park on Friday, March 1, 2013.

Currently, amenities for families, such as parks and play areas for kids, are deficient within the Downtown core, with an exceedingly low number of existing public spaces oriented or designed for children.  Filling this gap has become imperative with some 3,000 children calling Downtown home and the Downtown residential population increasing by 20 percent since 2000, and more than 70 percent since 1990. The play area will also serve as an amenity for the tens of thousands of children who visit Downtown every year.  

“You can’t really have a neighborhood without families, and young families deserve easily accessible play spaces,” said DSA President & CEO Kate Joncas. “Attracting and retaining families is a top priority for making Downtown a diverse and healthy neighborhood and the new play area certainly helps.”

In addition to bringing a fun and family friendly environment, the new play space will also provide health benefits.  A study led by Seattle Children’s Research Institute found that children living in neighborhoods with favorable neighborhood environment attributes, including quality parks, had 59 percent lower odds of being obese.

“More than 30 percent of American children and teens are obese or overweight,” said Seattle Children’s Research Institute President Dr. James Hendricks. “Children need spaces like this play area so that they can be physically active, and research also shows that outdoor play time helps improve Vitamin D levels and mental health.”

“We’re excited to be a party to bringing this great new amenity to the heart of downtown,” said Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Christopher Williams.” Every activity that draws families to the park makes it a better place.”

The year-round play area will include a soft, rubber-like surfacing and a Geode by Goric.  This large, netted spherical structure and a collection of large domes will be surrounded by a fence with bench seating in some areas.  The design and elements involved were selected specifically with sightlines and function in mind, as the structures do not obstruct views to the retail spaces and through the park. Geode is designed to be used by children up to 12 years old.

Join us on Friday, March 1 at 11:30 a.m. to celebrate the arrival of a new family-friendly amenity in Downtown Seattle.

What:                   Ceremony to open a play area in the heart of Downtown Seattle, including a ribbon cutting, a performance by the Spruce Street School Marimba Band, face painting, hot chocolate and treats.

When:                  Friday, March 1, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. with remarks beginning at 12:00 p.m.

Where:                Westlake Park (401 Pine Street)

Who:                     Kate Joncas, President & CEO, Downtown Seattle Association

 Mike McGinn, Mayor, City of Seattle

Sally Bagshaw, Councilmember, Seattle City Council

Christopher Williams, Superintendent, Seattle Parks & Recreation

James Hendricks, PhD, President, Seattle Children’s Research Institute

For more information visit:


Belltown Community Center offers My First Movie — FREE

Belltown Community Center, Seattle Parks and Recreation’s newest community center, will offer My First Movie on Saturday, January 26, from 10 – 11:30 a.m. Belltown Community Center is located at 415 Bell Street, at the corner of 5th Avenue and Bell Street.

The free showing of “Winnie the Pooh” will take place in a movie-like setting and is the perfect opportunity to introduce young children to their first movie-going experience – without the expense or worrying who they might disrupt while asking questions during the show. The movie will be shown in a darkened room and projected onto a 70-inch screen. There will popcorn and other concessions available.

The 2011 version of this “Winnie the Pooh” movie is appropriate for children around 3 years old and older, according to Common Sense Media.

Come early and visit the center’s Tot Town Playroom, which is best for children ages 18 months to 4 years old. The playroom is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 3 – 8 p.m.

The Imagination Playground will also be open, and is best for children ages 3 to 7. Regular hours for the Imagination Playground are Wednesdays 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., Fridays from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. and Saturdays 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Each playroom is $2 per child.

For more information, contact Belltown Community Center at 206-684-4093, visit their webpage or like them on Facebook.

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Playground in a Box brings creative play to urban kids

Playground in a Box is sort of Legos meets Lincoln Logs in giant blue foam. Now, put those pieces inside a brand new urban community center where it’s always warm and dry – no matter what the weather. And, voila! You have the concept for imaginative, physical, indoor play.

Playground in a Box is comprised of large foam blocks that are oddly formed with unique, abstract shapes that make kids curious and want to start building immediately. With their uniform blue color, abstract shapes, and infinite configurations, these blocks from Imagination Playground get kids’ minds working fast and keep them active. Instead of prescribing activities (climb this, sit on that), the blocks prompt kids to “fill in the blank” with their own ideas.

The blocks can be used to make anything kids can think of, and encourages socializing and cooperation. Younger, smaller kids may need help balancing and moving them, so they work in pairs or small teams. Older, larger kids quickly realize that if they want to build structures that are bigger than life, they need to plan and work together with other children.

Seattle Parks and Recreation, The Downtown Seattle Association and the Seattle Parks Foundation have partnered to bring this indoor playground to Belltown Community Center, 415 Bell St.

Children and their caregivers are invited to play on Wednesdays from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Entrance to the playground is free. Playground in a Box is appropriate for children at least 2 years old and older. For the very little ones, Belltown Community Center also has an indoor play room that is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:30 – 7:30 p.m. The drop-in fee is $2.

Playground in a Box can be used indoors and outdoors, and is waterproof. It will be housed at Belltown Community Center, but will be loaned out for special events at Westlake Park, Waterfront Park, and Bell Street Park when it is finished.

For more information, contact Belltown Community Center at 206-684-7245.  

Live Downtown? Grow Food With Seattle Tilth

This summer, Seattle Tilth will teach apartment and condominium dwellers how to grow vegetables and herbs in containers and how to compost food waste indoors or on balconies or patios. Great for beginning and experienced gardeners, these classes provide new ideas and troubleshoot site challenges. Seattle Tilth garden experts will show how to grow food organically and reduce waste for people who don’t have a yard or P-Patch plot.

Grow Food in the Center of the City – Kickoff Event!

Sunday, May 1, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Victor Steinbrueck Park, 2001 Western Ave. north of the Pike Place Market

Stop by the park and build a portable salad garden and talk to local gardening and composting experts. Chat with people from Seattle Tilth, Urban Land Army, Seattle Parks and Recreation, The Garden Hotline, Master Composters, Central Co-op, Metropolitan Market and more. 

Victor Steinbrueck Park; 2000 Western Ave.

Wed., May 11, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.          Summer Vegetable Gardening in Containers

Wed., May 18, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.          Container Herb Gardening

Wed., May 25, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.          Composting for Apartment Dwellers

Thurs., June 2, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.         Container Herb Gardening

Thurs., June 9, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.         Container Salad Gardening

Thurs., June 16, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.       Composting for Apartment Dwellers 

Wed., July 13, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.          Container Herb Gardening

Wed., July 20, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.          Fall and Winter Vegetables in Containers

Wed., July 27, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.          Composting for Apartment Dwellers 

Thurs., Sept, 1, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.         Container Salad Gardening

Thurs., Sept. 8, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.         Container Herb Gardening

Thurs., Sept. 15, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.       Composting for Apartment Dwellers`


Cascade Playground, 333 Pontius Ave. N

Sun., May 15, 10 a.m. – noon            Container Herb Gardening

Sun., May 22, 10 a.m. – noon            Container Salad Gardening

Sun., May 29, 10 a.m. – noon            Composting for Apartment Dwellers

Freeway Park; 700 Seneca St.

Thurs., June 2, noon – 1 p.m.             Container Herb Gardening

Thurs., June 9, noon – 1 p.m.             Container Salad Gardening

Thurs., June 15, noon – 1 p.m.           Composting for Apartment Dwellers 

Wed., Aug. 10, noon – 1 p.m.             Container Herb Gardening

Wed., Aug. 17, noon – 1 p.m.             Fall and Winter Vegetables in Containers

Wed., Aug. 24, noon – 1 p.m.             Composting for Apartment Dwellers

Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave. E

Sat., June 4, 10 a.m. – noon              Container Herb Gardening

Sat., June 11, 10 a.m. – noon             Container Salad Gardening

Sat., June 18, 10 a.m. – noon            Composting for Apartment Dwellers

Belltown Cottage Park, 2512 Elliott Ave.

Sun., July 17, 10 a.m. – noon             Container Herb Gardening

Sun., July 24, 10 a.m. – noon              Fall and Winter Vegetables in Containers

Sun., July 31, 10 a.m. – noon             Composting for Apartment Dwellers


Counterbalance Park, 2 Roy St.

Sat., July 1, 10 a.m. – noon                Container Herb Gardening

Sat., July 9, 10 a.m. – noon                Fall and Winter Vegetables in Containers

Sat., July 16, 10 a.m. – noon              Composting for Apartment Dwellers

All classes are FREE; participants need to register ahead of time. Find out how to register at or call 206-633-5045, ext. 115. 

Founded in 1978, Seattle Tilth is a nationally recognized nonprofit educational organization dedicated to cultivating a sustainable community, one garden at a time. Seattle Tilth’s mission is to inspire and educate people to grow food organically, conserve natural resources, and support local food systems to cultivate a healthy urban environment and community. Programs include classes for adults, children and families, green jobs training for low income communities, the Garden Hotline, the Master Composter/Soil Builder program, volunteer opportunities, community learning gardens throughout the Puget Sound region, and community events including the Edible Plant Sales, Chicken Coop and Urban Farm Tour, and Harvest Fair

For more information, please visit or call 206-633-0451, or visit


Free Concerts, Movies, Art and More in Downtown Parks This Summer

Explore life between the buildings at downtown parks this summer. Enjoy free concerts, dancing, outdoor movies, art installations and performances, gardening classes, bocce tournaments, and more. Here are a few highlights to jump-start your summer.

Bring the kids to a free family concert at Freeway Park with Johnny Bregar, Caspar Babypants, Recess Monkey, and The Not-Its!, from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 13.

Or take the kids for an amusement ride at Occidental Park on Thursday, June 10, and Westlake Park, Saturday, June 19. Rides are open 3 to 6 p.m.

Dance in the park at “Dancing ’til Dusk.” The salsa band Cambalache kicks off the dance series July 1 at Occidental Park. Beginning salsa lessons are from 6 to 7 p.m., then dance from 7 to 9 p.m. And on July 9, enjoy the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, simulcast from Benaroya Hall on 98.1 Classical King FM at Westlake Park. Recital is at 7 p.m.; the concert is at 8 p.m.

For a complete listing of events and information, check out Seattle Parks and Recreation’s website at\parks\downtown. The Downtown Seattle Association has also put together a list of its “Out to Lunch” concerts and other downtown summer events and tips at

Dance ’til Dusk and then enjoy an outdoor movie – for FREE

 Join your neighbors, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Dance for Joy instructors as we celebrate the last Dancing ‘til Dusk and the final outdoor movie of the year in Occidental Square, at the intersection of Occidental Square S and S Main Street, on Thursday, Sept. 3, beginning at 6 p.m.

Each Dancing ‘til Dusk session begins with a free dance lesson from 6 – 7 p.m. in the dance style chosen for that evening. Lessons start at a rudimentary level and build in complexity over the hour. Be on time to get the most out of the lesson. No experience is necessary, nor is a partner required for the lesson.

No security clearances are required to enjoy the melodic tunes of KGB as they play waltz, swing, foxtrot, polka and more. With fiddle, mandolin, guitar and piano, KGB creates subversive music lulling the unwary with traditional New England contra dance tunes, then jumping off into Balkan modalities, tango riffs and bluesy jigs. KGB’s extraordinary waltzes captivate dancers song after song, each melody more delightful or exquisite than the last.

This is the last, but not at all the least of the bands to play for the season. This event will send you away fully satisfied as the last of the summer dances.

It’s another Ball Blanc so wear white – be it a tee-shirt or tuxedo.
6 – 7 p.m. Waltz lesson with Lilli Ann Carey and Jamie Shamseldin

As a special treat on this evening, the dance will be followed by an outdoor presentation of “Shall We Dance,” the RKO movie production with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on and a jacket or that special someone to keep you warm.