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Your 2017 Seattle Parks and Recreation Winter Bucket List

The weather outside may be frightful, but with 27 community centers, eight indoor pools, and ten indoor tennis centers, we have plenty of ways to keep you dry and delightful! And for those who don’t mind the frosty weather, we have 485 parks and 120 miles of trails, all brimming with unique flora and fauna that come alive during the winter months.

With Seattle Parks and Recreation, there’s no excuse to hibernate this winter! Read on to discover some of our favorite ways to stay active, connect with others, and explore nature during the weeks ahead.

Healthy People:

We believe that just getting people moving is the first step to a healthy lifestyle. Don’t let the lower temperatures throw a wrench in your workout plans, or give you and your family cabin fever. Below are some of our favorite ways to stay active this season.

  • Tot Gyms: Designed for children 5 and younger, Tot Gyms offer toys, balls, trikes, scooters, push bikes and more in a large indoor space—the perfect place for your tots to play on a rainy day! Tot Gyms are free; brochures are available here.
  • Sound Steps Weekly Walks: Join adults ages 50+ for this weekly walking program, and gain the health benefits of regular exercise and social connections while having fun! Upcoming winter walks include Pike Place Market, Discovery Park, Woodland Park Zoo, Lincoln Park and more. Details here.
  • Swim Lessons: Do your New Year’s goals include becoming the next Simone Manuel or do you just need some help with that backstroke? Sign up for one of many group or individual swim lessons at one of our eight indoor pools—all of which are maintained at a cozy 85 degrees! More information here.
  • Polar Bear Plunge: Start off the New Year with a splash! Come wash off the old year and start the New Year right by jumping into Lake Washington’s waters at Matthews Beach Park. This annual event is a family favorite. Costumes and festive energy are encouraged, and warm refreshments will be served after your dip. Learn more here.

Healthy Environment:

There is such a thing as Nature Deficit Disorder, and it can be especially felt during the gray winter months. These invigorating ways to enjoy nature will help you experience the health benefits–both physical and mental–of time spent outdoors:

  • Volunteer Park Conservatory: See plants that are more than 75 years old in a building that dates back to 1912! Explore tropical plants, carnivorous plants, orchids and cacti—all while staying dry under the Conservatory’s 3,426 panes of glass. Plan your visit.
  • Discovery in the Dark: A No Moon Adventure (8 and older): Explore Discovery Park in the very dark. Learn about creatures that go bump in the night as we find our way with no light. Feb. 10 at Discovery Park. Register here.
  • Full Moon Salamander Walk (6 and older): It’s a full moon. Will the salamanders be roaming Camp Long looking for love? Let’s find out! Bundle up with warm clothes and venture into the winter night with flashlights to search for salamanders searching for mates. Feb. 2 and March 2 at Camp Long. Register here.
  • Washington Park Arboretum: This 230-acre hidden gem on the shores of Lake Washington features a dynamic assortment of plants. Visit the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden to enjoy the fragrances of honeysuckle and witch hazel, and admire paperbark maples and birches.

Strong Communities:

We have many arts and cultural programs that activate our parks and community centers, and encourage residents to connect with each other in our public spaces.

  • Seasonal events: Celebrate the Spirit of Kwanzaa Day at Powell Barnett Park, decorate a gingerbread house at Laurelhurst Community Center, or dance along with the unique cross-cultural tradition of stilt walking from the Caribbean at the Mokojumbie Gathering at Gas Works Park. Our community centers and parks are festive holiday hubs this time of year, with lots of fun events that get families out of the house and into the spirit of the season. See all of our holiday events here.
  • Christmas Ships: The 2017 Christmas ships are afloat! Everyone loves the Seattle tradition of the Christmas ships – concerts at the water’s edge, sung by choirs from the deck of a big floating party alight with Christmas decorations. See the schedule of stops.
  • Teen Late Night: Late Night is a safe and supportive environment for teens ages 13-19. This recreation based program is held on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 p.m.-12 a.m. with a focus on positive teen interactions and engagement where all teens are welcomed. Learn more here.