Two Days in Seattle – Fifth Grade Style


Rowyn and lighthouse

Taking a break at the Discovery Park Lighthouse. Photo by Jody Morehouse.

“My class is going on a Seattle field trip, Auntie Kake – will you go, too?”

“Of course, sweetie.”

My 10-year-old niece, Rowyn, calls me “Kake,” rather than Kris, and I’ve learned not to argue with this very persuasive young lady. So, when she asked me to help chaperone her Evergreen Elementary field trip from Spokane to Seattle, I immediately jumped into trip-planning mode.

It helps to work at Visit Seattle. I consulted Ann Peavey, who manages our visitor information centers. She designed a packed but fun itinerary with two days of adventure and, hopefully, a lifetime of good memories.

Rowyn and husky stadium

Rowyn on the 50 yard line, Husky Stadium. Photo by Jody Morehouse.

Day 1

90 kids and 48 parents and teachers hopped on the buses from Spokane at 3 a.m. Thursday morning. The kids were so keyed up that they only briefly napped on the way over, but were ready to roll when they arrived at the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour for their first experience. They could hardly believe the number of workers (42,000), the size of the planes (seven stories to the top of the tail) and the amount of fuel (60,000 gallons) – but they all liked watching the take-offs and landings the best.

Lunch was a quick parent-packed picnic lunch on the grassy lawn, then everyone loaded back onto the bus to the University of Washington campus and stadium visit with U’s Harry Potter style buildings, purple Ws everywhere and a football kicker who let the kids watch and chase the footballs.

Rowyn and penguin

The penguins at the Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Jody Morehouse.

Next, we headed to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to see boats and ships go up and down with the water flow, small fish coming out of the spout from the lake, plus two large sea lions looking for those fish.

Then, we popped over to Discovery Park, a 500-square-acre park in the heart of the city, where we visited the lighthouse and checked out lots of beach creatures.

We capped off our day of crazy fun with even more creatures at the Woodland Park Zoo – lions, warthogs, zebras and a giraffes. Then, most fun of all, we settled in for the night at the zoo. Well, “settling in” for 10- and 11-year-old kids is somewhat different than it is for parents and teachers, who were exhausted but thrilled with the diversity of sites and how engaged the kids were.

Day 2

The day started at 7 a.m. with breakfast and tromping around with the zoo staff, which included an introduction to a snow leopard, a wallaroo with her joey poking its head out of the pouch and a bunch of penguins that played with the kids through the glass.

Waiting for the ferry

All aboard a Washington State Ferry for Bremerton. Photo by Jody Morehouse.

Then we loaded the buses again and headed to the Washington State Ferries terminal on the Seattle Waterfront for a trip to the town of Bremerton on the Kitsap Peninsula and a tour of the navy ship USS Turner Joy. Some of the kids (and parents too!) had never been on a ferry, so they were a little nervous about seasickness and sinking. Everyone sat down quietly (scary quiet) and ate their Subway sandwiches. Then they slowly crept through the ferry. Soon they figured out that they could run around and go outside and see the sea lions and the birds and no seasickness or sinking was happening at all – wow, it was a lot noisier!! Bonus: the Seattle skyline appeared Atlantis-like from the front of the ferry on the return.

The buses were waiting, so everyone loaded up again for the Space Needle. The gigantic spiders on the Seattle Center House were the favorite view, with Chihuly Garden and Glass a close second and the gift store a solid third.

Rowyn and Rachel

Rowyn and Auntie “Kake” cap the day with Rachel the Pig at the Pike Place Market. Photo by Jody Morehouse.

Final loading at 5 p.m. for one final adventure – the Pike Place Market. Dinner, more shopping, watching the fish guys and getting a picture on Rachel the Pig. Whew!!

It really couldn’t have been better. Two days of so much fun, so many sites, so many memories and a very, very quiet bus ride back home to Spokane.

Editor’s Note:

Planning a Seattle trip with kids? You, too, can consult Visit Seattle’s team of concierge professionals, request a visitor information packet, search the calendar of events on our web site or follow us on social media:

By mail: Visit Seattle, Attention: Visitor Information; 701 Pike Street, Suite 800; Seattle, WA 98101

Phone: (866) 732-2695 or (206) 461-5840

E-mail: [email protected]

Web site:


Twitter: @visitseattle

About the Author

Kris Cromwell

Kris Cromwell is Vice President of Finance at Visit Seattle. A Montana native, she’s made Seattle home and savors its big-city charm and easy access to nature walks, swimming in the summer and snowy winter hikes in the nearby foothills.

More Posts By Kris Cromwell


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