Bainbridge Island with Kids

Bainbridge Shops with Kids

Bainbridge shops

On a sunny day, there’s nothing better than catching a Washington State Ferry from Pier 52, bound for Bainbridge Island. En route, ask the kids to find the mountains — they’re all around you. Olympics to the west, Cascades (behind Seattle’s high-rise office buildings) and Mt. Rainier looming to the south. Once you’ve arrived, hop off and enjoy some island time: slow down, ramble along the streets, poke your head into independently owned shops and say “hello” to store owners.

Things to Do on Bainbridge Island with Kids

Bainbridge Aquatic Center, 8521 Madison Avenue N.
Rainy day on Bainbridge Island with kids? No problem! Ride down the 180-foot water slide, cruise along the lazy river, take your stir-crazy toddlers to the play area or encourage your teen to jump off the diving board.

Bainbridge Cinemas at the Pavilion, 403 Madison Avenue N.
In downtown Bainbridge Island, catch a first-run movie or matinee on one of five screens, along with the usual popcorn and popcorn-powder toppings.

Farmers’ Market, Town Square at City Hall Park (spring, summer, fall – Saturdays, 9-1)
This market’s rules say the veggies, fruits, handmade cheese and crafts must be island-grown or island-made, so when they say local, they mean local.

Kids Discovery Museum (KiDiMu), 150 Madrone Lane N.
KiDiMu’s sweet little museum welcomes babies, toddlers and preschoolers with a child-sized village, a cute Smart car, a realistic treehouse and upstairs hands-on science lab. It’s not big, but makes up for size in enthusiasm.

KiDiMu: Bainbridge Island Attraction with Kids

KiDiMu: Bainbridge Island Attraction with Kids

Waterfront Park
Native plants gather around hiking trails and a playground in this 5.5-acre park. Picnic tables welcome picnicking families.

Bainbridge Island Historical Museum may interest older children. Or it might not. Skip it with any child under the age of 10 or so; the museum probably isn’t hands-on enough to engage younger kids.

Where to eat with kids on Bainbridge Island

Blackbird Bakery, 210 Winslow Way E.
Pastries include wheat-free and vegan options, along with rich pies and quiches. I love the unusual drinks; once, I enjoyed a nettle lemonade here. Pack up your snacks and take them to the Waterfront Park (above).

Café Nola, 488 Winslow Way E.
Draw on the paper-topped tables before your pecan-orange challah bread arrives (breakfast). Great lunches and dinners too. The kids’ menu has everything from ravioli to quesadillas to PB&J. Long lines – make a reservation if you can. One of my favorite restaurants in Puget Sound.

Doc’s Marina Grill, 403 Madison Ave S.
Fish ‘n’ ships! Your meal comes with a fine view of boats on Eagle Harbor, whether you’re seated indoors or outdoors. The menu doesn’t stray too far from the typical burgers, sandwiches and breaded fish.

Mora Iced Creamery, 139 Madrone Lane
Mora serves Bainbridge-made seasonal favorites like eggnog (winter) and lavender (summer) along with more typical flavors. But mostly, I love going here for the funky flavors.

Pegasus Coffee House, 131 Parfitt Way S.W.
Order breakfast, salad or dinner, listen to an open-mike or jam session (weekends only), or try absinthe (adults only!). Pegasus coffee for adults, and drinking chocolate for the kids, which is like drinking a slurry of melted chocolate bar – rich enough to share, for sure.

That’s a Some Pizza, 488 Winslow Way E.
Easy-cheesy, pick up a slice to go for the ferry ride home or a pie for your hotel room.

Bainbridge Stores for Kids

Bon Bon Confections, 230 Winslow Way E
Enough candy to scare a dentist: Bainbridge Island Fudge, chocolate in jars, pastel-colored beauties and more than a dozen varieties of licorice. And fudge. Yum.

Calico Cat Toys, 104 Winslow Way W.
A fun little toy shop with great unique selections, including locally made toys and a fantastic stuffed-animal collection.

Eagle Harbor Book Company, 157 Winslow Way E.
Sit on the hardwood floors or an armchair and read from a picture book or a tween paranormal romance – this indie bookstore has it all. Yes, a great selection of books for grown-ups, too.

Lollipops Children’s Boutique, 278 Winslow Way E.
A children’s boutique with upscale brands for girls and babies, with some locally made extras that make fun souvenirs.

Where to Sleep on Bainbridge (Family-Friendly Hotels)

Eagle Harbor Inn, 291 Madison Avenue S.
Four boutique hotel-style rooms (including one with a queen bed and a foldout couch) within walking distance of the ferry and the village center.

Best Western Bainbridge Island Suites, 350 N.E. High School.
Spacious, kitchen-outfitted suites that are great for families, although you’ll need a car to get here and the views are lacking (parking lots, the road, etc.).

Northwest Trek: A Fabulous Seattle Day Trip

Several months ago, we visited Northwest Trek Wildlife Park for the first time. Located in rural Pierce County, Northwest Trek is a fabulous way to meet some of the Northwest’s critters up close and in the animals’ natural habitat — yes, at the same time.

The Tram Tour takes passengers on a 50-minute circular loop through tall grass, evergreen forest and past mountain-fed lakes. The guide kept up the informational, fact-packed patter on our trip, and answered all and any questions — no question was too silly or small. She slowed so we could take photos of bison, bighorn rams and bull elk. Half the fun was watching the tramful of children get so excited at spotting well-camouflaged deer or

Reindeer harem at kid-friendly Northwest Trek in Tacoma

A reindeer harem at Northwest Trek. Really, that’s what it’s called…

The animals are obviously used to visitors; I swear a few posed for the excited toddlers and preschoolers (and photo-taking parents). The tram tour was my favorite part, but the guides make it clear that the tram is not stopping or turning back, so it’s not a good idea for babies, overtired and upset preschoolers or well, claustrophobes.

Once off the tram, we splashed in puddles along the pavement on the Walking Tour. The kids (being kids) often spotted the  creatures faster than adults did, from black bears to turkey vultures.

Walking Tour at NW Trek

Walking Tour at NW Trek

The Cheney Family Discovery Center resembled one of the better National Park visitor centers. Here, kids could touch pelts, compare their armspan to an eagle’s or play with puppets.

Cheney Family Center NW Trek

Measuring up at NW Trek’s Cheney Family Center

I’d like to go back and try the ziplines, which welcome kids from ages 6 and up; we’ll need to make a reservation to try those.

I didn’t love the cafeteria food in the cafeteria, however, and I didn’t love the nonexistent breakfast options. I would bring a lunch, next time, or drive to Tacoma, about 45 minutes away.

It’s not cheap ($18.25 for adults), you’ll often find Northwest Trek deals and coupons, if you keep an eye out. For example, the Chinook Book offers one free youth admission with one paid adult admission.

The story behind Northwest Trek (part of Metro Parks Tacoma) is fascinating and beautiful; read more about Connie Hellyer, the woman who donated the land.

9 Awesome Seattle Day Trips with Kids

Just because you’re between vacations doesn’t mean you have to stay home. These nine fun excursions get the family out of the house for the day. Whether you have one or two hours or an entire 12 hours to drive, play and explore, you’ll find a great escape below.

Seattle to Whidbey Island Day Trip

How long does it take to get to Whidbey Island?

The Mukilteo ferry dock is about 35 miles north of Seattle, then there’s a half-hour sailing time to Clinton. Ferries run every half-hour on weekends and cost $24.85/RT for a family of four. Driving from Clinton to Fort Casey takes about 40 minutes.

Fort Casey batteries and bunkers fun for kids

Exploring the Fort Casey Batteries is always a fun thing to do with kids on Whidbey Island.

Things to do with kids on Whidbey Island on a day trip?

Seattle to Vashon Day Trip:

How long does it take to get to Vashon?

Take a ferry from West Seattle, then drive a few miles of two-lane country roads. Ferries leave about once an hour, and costs about $26/RT for a family of four in a car. Ferries run mostly once an hour, sometimes twice during peak hours, and sailing time is about 20 minutes.

Things to do with kids on Vashon Island on a day trip?

Seattle to Bainbridge Island Day Trip

How long does it take to get to Bainbridge Island?

A few miles to the downtown Seattle ferry dock. Ferries leave about once an hour, and a round-trip trip costs about $40 for a family of four in a car (with kids over age 6). Passenger-only (walk on) saves about $10 on that total, and most attractions are in the downtown Bainbridge core, which is more like a small town.

Things to do on a Bainbridge day trip with kids?

Seattle to Bremerton and Poulsbo Day Trip

How long does it take to get to Bremerton and Poulsbo?

Ferry from downtown Seattle to Bremerton takes about an hour for the crossing time, then you’ll need to drive another 17 miles to Poulsbo. Ferries leave once an hour – every 90 mins, and costs about $40/RT for a family of four in a car. You can return via Bremerton or push on to Bainbridge Island and sail back to Seattle from Bainbridge.

Things to do on a Bremerton and Poulsbo day trip with kids?

Seattle to Bellingham Day Trip

How long does it take to get to Bellingham?

Bellingham is about 90 miles via I-5, or around 1 h 30 m.

Things to do with kids in Bellingham on a day trip?

  • Watch a Tesla coil light up at the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention.
  • Learn about the beauty of nature and science at Mindport.
  • Sehome Hill Arboretum.
  • Take your teen to a movie at the Pickford Center.
  • Hike a trail at Larrabee State Park.

Seattle to LaConner Day Trip:

How long does it take to get to LaConner? 

Laconner is about 70 miles along I-5, so around 1 h 20 m.

Things to do with kids in LaConner on a day trip?

Pierce County Day Trip

How long does it take to get to Pierce County?

About an hour south along I-5, then along Hwy 167.

Things to do on a Pierce County day trip with kids?

Discovery Village toddler area a fun place to take kids in Gig Harbor

The toddler area at Discovery Village; it’s a fun little place to take kids in Gig Harbor.

Seattle to Tacoma Day Trip

How long does it take to get to Tacoma?

Tacoma is about 40 minutes south, along I-5.

Things to do with kids on a Tacoma day trip?

Seattle to Olympia Day Trip

How long does it take to get to Olympia?

About an hour south, along I-5.

Things to do with kids in Olympia day trip?

Family Day Trips from the Seattle Area

If you’ve only got a day, try one of these family-friendly daytrips from the Seattle area for winter break, spring break or a weekend escape:

Bellingham with kids daytrip

Take I-5 North to Bellingham and enjoy the town’s artsy vibe, parks and museums, then get a cool scoop at Mallard Ice Cream. In fact, there are over 20 family-friendly things to do in Bellingham.

If you don’t want to drive as far as Bellingham, try the picture-perfect, riverfront town of La Conner for spring’s tulip festivals or just to stroll streets stacked with bookstores, toy shops and museums.

A typical storefront in La Conner

Don’t forget to try the Banana Coconut Cakes at Calico Cupboard Cafe.

Time one-way to Bellingham: About one hour, 40 minutes.


Kitsap County with kids daytrip

A quick ferry from downtown Seattle delivers you to Bremerton, where you can pick up a pack of Belgian frites at Fritz European Fry House or tour the U.S.S. Turner Joy warship (my son loved the maze of sleeping bunks and chow hall).

Maybe you can find your sea-legs aboard the U.S.S. Joy — I obviously didn’t!

Drive up the peninsula to enjoy’s Poulsbo’s Nordic theme and the Poulsbo Marine Science Center (note: currently closed for repairs — keep an eye on their website), then end your day on Bainbridge Island’s KiDiMu. Ride the ferry home.

Time one-way to Bremerton: About one hour; round-trip drive time about two hours.

Olympia daytrip with kids

Visit Olympia’s stellar Hands On Children’s Museum with little kids or the Washington State Capitol Building with big kids. Then spend a few hours in the local toy stores, cafes and at Olympia’s April-December farmer’s market. Read more here: Daytrip: Olympia with Kids. Need more to do? On the way down, you can always make a stop at Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo and a 19th-century fort at Fort Nisqually’s Living History Museum.

Finding out what’s up with George at the Washington State Capitol

Time one-way to Olympia: About one hour


Snoqualmie Pass daytrip with kids

If the snow skipped your neighborhood, there’s still a chance of catching the white stuff up on Snowqualmie Pass, even into early spring. Whether sledding at Hyak, skiing at Summit West, tubing at Summit Tubing Center or just playing in the snow, the Cascades offer dramatic vistas of cloud-wrapped, evergreen-studded peaks. Read more at The Summit at Snoqualmie website.

Sledding and snowshoeing at Hyak

In summer, either enjoy the cool breezes or push on just a little further over the mountains and let the kids visit “The Other Washington,” featuring a dry, arid landscape and rolling hills of bleached grass. A prime pick: Washington’s weird little Petrified Gingko Forest (about 2 hours from Seattle; head to downtown Ellensburg for food).

Time: 45 minutes to 90 minutes, depending upon road conditions. Pack chains and check road conditions before leaving.


Photo Friday: The Star Wars Shop

Driving into Aberdeen, Wash., we’re greeted with the sign, “Come As You Are,” from a song by the marine town’s local boy, Kurt Cobain.

The verses that follow? As you were/As I want you to be.

Aberdeen has always struggled with being, in any sense. The town now appears to be well-sunk, pulled down by the weight of dead logging and fishing industries. The downtown core’s empty storefronts offer “for lease” placards. Rotating signs spin half-heartedly in the wind, missing letters and customers. It’s enough to break a city girl’s heart.

So what do you when Abderdeen’s grey skies and grey streets part and reveal the Sucher & Sons Star Wars Shop? Even if you’re not a Star Wars fanatic, you stop the car, amazed at the resilience of a desert flower.

We walked in the door and found thousands of memorabilia laid out on tables, hanging from the ceiling, perched on sills. Some pieces with price tags, some tagless. It was like walking into a Star Wars hoarder’s home. A grey-haired man hurried to greet us.

“Is this like, a private collection?” I ask. The kids dart off into the jumble corners of Star Wars hand-sized figurines and human-sized figures, Legos and Leias, model kits and magazine kitsch.

“No, it’s all for sale. And this month, it’s all half off!” Don Sucher said, with a contagious smile.

Of course, after poking around on the Internet later, I discover that the store is often half-off, and sometimes more. Sucher is a dealer in every sense of the word.

Sucher, a nervous, fast-talking guy, followed us around, demonstrating how everything worked and bringing out items at my son’s request (“Do you have a light saber? A red light saber?”)

My son fell in love with a good amount of stuff – a Darth Vader Mask ($2), a Darth Vader figurine ($4) and a Darth Vader Light Saber ($20). “It’s the right color!” my son shouted as the red-lit plastic saber growled and hummed.

Sucher seemed inordinately excited over out-of-town customers. I wondered at how he could possibly keep such an enterprise going, even with Aberdeen’s low rents. Did he sell on eBay? No, he said, too much work. Ongoing media attention – and the fan visits that resulted — kept him in business.

Newspaper clippings on the walls, from Japan and the U.S., seemed to support his statement, but I wondered at how I’d never heard of the store. It’s been here for 15 years.

While Sucher may keep a $5,000 Millenium Falcon on display, his dearest possession is his tattoo. Carrie Fisher autographed his arm, years ago – and he promptly ran to the tattoo shop to get it permanently inked into his skin. Photos of The Arm decorate the store, and he loves any and every opportunity to pull up his shirt sleeve and show it off.

My daughter dug through the back room of general collectibles and found a few Pokemon items. The back room also held Lilo and Stitch, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man and My Little Pony items, along with dozens of old movie videotapes.

After we finished up our oohing and ahhing and amazement over what-the-heck-it’s-an-Ewok-phone pieces, we went out to the car, where my husband was waiting.

“You gotta go inside,” I insisted.

“Why, is it cool?” he said.

“You just – you just gotta go see it for yourself.”

How to get there: 413 East Wishkah St., Aberdeen, Wash, about two hours from Seattle and 2 1/2 hours from Portland, Ore.

Hours: Generally 12-5, but call him anytime (Phone: 360-970-7080s) and he’ll open the door. Come as you are.

This post is happy to be part of DeliciousBaby’s Photo Friday. Visit Debbie’s site to find more deliciously different travel posts.