Tag Archives: park

Day Trip: Bremerton

1 Aug

I’ve hopped impulsively on several ferries over the years, and have to admit that the ride is usually more fun than the destination. That’s okay, but it’s hard to get excited about “just” a ferry ride after you’ve done it a few times. Bainbridge and Vashon Island both have fantastic reputations as fun, groovy places to explore–but you really need a car to get you anywhere worth going. (Please feel free to correct me in the comments–I’d love to be wrong.)

Bremerton doesn’t have the same cachet as the islands, but we recently discovered that it’s an awesome day drip with a toddler. Cheap, easy, and exactly the right amount of time away from home.

We were impressed with how pedestrian-friendly and welcoming the area around the ferry terminal is. Full of public spaces and a nice mix of business, the waterfront area feels like it was designed to encourage people to stick around and enjoy–not just pass through.

Logistics: Get an ORCA card and load it up to save time–you won’t have to stand in line to buy a ticket. Add an E-Purse to your existing pass to cover the difference between your usual fare & ferry fares. Light Rail to University Station ($2.00 from Beacon Hill), walk a few blocks to ferry terminal, walk on ferry ($7.10). All eastbound ferry rides are free, so we paid a total of $11.10 per person (free for kids under 5) for transportation.

Ferries depart promptly, so plan plenty of time to get to the terminal–it’s a fun place to run around if you get there a little early and you don’t want to miss your boat. The crossing takes about an hour. Our door-to-door adventure was about 6 hours total: 40 minutes round trip on the train, 2 hours RT on the ferry, 3 hours play time in Bremerton & a little wait at both terminals.

Plenty of stroller access, though we still bring a carrier (currently the Ergo) for napping/fussing. Current schedules & other information here:

What to do when you arrive:

Kitsap Library, Downtown Bremerton

This gorgeous Art Deco building is only a few blocks from the ferry terminal. It’s worth the walk just to admire the building. We enjoyed playing with some puzzles, reading a couple of books, and cooling off in the air conditioning. Libraries are my go-to free, family-friendly pit stops.

Bremerton Bar & Grill

This place has great service and lots of good choices at reasonable prices. You set the pace: rushing for a ferry? Relaxing after you just got off? One beer or a pitcher? Incredibly family friendly–a great way to start (or finish) your visit to Bremerton.

Other food/drink choices: chains (Starbucks, SubWay) and local delis, coffee shops and restaurants. I didn’t see a grocery/market, so be sure to pack well. We brought a swim diaper, a couple of disposable diapers, sunscreen, water, and light snacks. You can always get snacks & refill water bottles on the ferry, as well.

Aurora Valentinetti Puppet Museum

Free, donations accepted. Stop by to admire the latest exhibit, enjoy the play area, and maybe pick up a puppet in the gift area. We were excited to see a Jabberwocky puppet and the baby really liked banging on the xylophone.

Harborside Fountain Park 

This spray park is just steps from the ferry terminal and was full of local families. The facilities are clean, modern, and welcoming. The art is simple and attractive. Kids of all ages will go nuts for the water features. Pack a lunch (and lots of water) and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Go explore Bremerton & let me know what you think!

 

 

 

 

 

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Beer makes us better parents

19 Oct

We live just about a mile from Jefferson Park. Baby fell asleep walking over there yesterday, en route, so we stopped off at Victrola for coffee–yum! When we arrived at the park, she was still asleep, so we strolled around the park and watched the big kids tumble down the slide. Still asleep…what to do?

After a brief debate about why we’ve never gone there, we decided to check out the Jefferson Park Golf Course snack bar. Cue celestial singing–they have NFL Sunday Ticket! And beer! And fried things! Children are allowed! This is exactly what this Beacon Hill family needs. Baby gets to enjoy the park, mom and dad get to unwind with a frosty cold one.

Becoming a parent shouldn’t mean giving up the things you love. I love football and beer. Baby loves happy parents.

  • Location & hours of operation: (206) 763-6412 4101 Beacon Ave S Seattle, WA 98108;
  • Transit access and/or parking: parking available, walking distance from the Light Rail Station or take the #36 bus
  • Accessibility for strollers & little legs: no stairs
  • Cost: reasonable (less than $10)
  • Activities & safety issues: walking distance to Jefferson Park, golf & mini golf on-site, televisions
  • Food/drink (for kids and adults): Beer, wine, cocktails & snack food (cheeseburgers, fries, etc)
  • Restrooms and changing table: table in women’s room, not technically a changing table but it works
  • Overall welcome (or not) towards kids & babies: very family friendly

South Lake Union Park/Center for Wooden Boats

27 Sep

On Sunday 9/27, we struck out for the newly opened South Lake Union Park. We started on light rail to Westlake then walked over to the South Lake Union Trolley Streetcar stop a couple of blocks away.

The streetcar took us all the way to the new park, where we discovered the Fremont Sunday Ice Cream cruise (an adventure for another day) and explored the Center for Wooden Boats display boats. Visitors are encouraged to climb aboard the Arthur Foss, an historic tugboat. There’s even a working head (toilet) for toddler emergencies!

There’s lots to see and plenty of activities for older kids and adults. Baby enjoyed people watching, climbing in and out of the boat, and being outside. Parents enjoyed the views.

Great views, gently sloped grassy knolls, and lots of footpaths in this park. No toys, but if your little ones absolutely must have a slide there’s a small play area nearby.

At a glance:

Open Hours: park is open during the day
Cost: Free! Center for Wooden Boats and cruises charge and/or request donations for their services
Fun for parents? yes
Fun for kids? all ages
Caution–as the name suggests, South Lake Union Park is near water. Watch kids carefully.
Activities available: tours, walking, boat rental, cruises
Food/drink available: none in park, nearby restaurants
Restrooms/changing table: public restrooms in the Armory; emergency bathroom available on the Arthur Foss
Accessible via transit? yes
Parking nearby? There is a parking lot.