From toddlers to teenagers, Bellevue’s youngest visitors are treated to pleasant surprises at every turn.
Geared to children ages 0–10, KidsQuest Children’s Museum provides a buzz of activities. Kiddos will clamor to scale the two-story Atrium Climber or drive a semi-sleeper cab in the On the Go room. Another popular exhibit, The Mercantile, lets wee visitors stock shelves, shop, weigh goods and run a cash register. Before exiting, point out the life-sized cow, which your youngsters can wash with an air hose.
Introduce your family to real cows—along with a myriad of other farm animals—at Kelsey Creek Farm, which you can visit for free 365 days a year. Unlike any other farm, these 150 acres are situated in a downtown corridor. Before you visit, call to reserve space for your child to paint with chickens, where they create a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork using the chickens’ feet. They can also learn how to make pasta and compound butter, as well as participate in a number of other workshops.
Climbing, bounding, and leaping kiddos of all abilities emit frequent shrieks of delight at Inspiration Playground, located in Bellevue Downtown Park. Play equipment designed to engage all the senses includes a slide built into the hillside, a splash zone for cool relief on hot days, climbing structures, the whimsical Wisdom Tree that begins to glow at dusk, and much more.
Celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez have all enjoyed The Sugar Factory. Here, every drink becomes a decadent, sweet treat. Lemonheads, gummy strawberries, Pop Rocks, and cotton candy embellish beverages, making them instantly Instagram-worthy. Located at The Shops at The Bravern, the cafe also offers lunch and dinner—soups, salads, and sandwiches, plus brunch on the weekends—but the pièce de résistance among the younger set is the Rainbow Sliders, with red, blue, green, yellow, and purple hamburger buns.
Adolescents & Tweens
Bring your aspiring thespians to a production at the Bellevue Youth Theatre (BYT) where they can enjoy a performance by their peers. BYT encourages stars and starlets ages 5–19, with an emphasis on teens, to audition, practice, and perform. The Taming of the Shrew and Cinderella, both suitable for the entire family, are scheduled for 2020.
To soak up the sights and smells of the country in a city, hike the Lake to Lake Trail, which runs between Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington. Trek the entire 10 miles, one way, or access it from one of nine local parks, including Kelsey Creek Farm Park. Hikers and bikers pass lakes, waterfalls, creeks, and wetlands, and sometimes salmon, ducks, and deer are spotted.
Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm sells U-pick blueberries from mid-July to early September. Fish for bass at the adjacent Larsen Lake.
Lunchbox Laboratory pays homage to science with seasonal “liquid experiments” such as Frogleg Stew and Red Velvet milkshakes and specialty cocktails for the adults served in beakers. Ages 12 and younger can find the usual suspects on the menu, including corn dogs, fish and chips, and buttered noodles. Mom and Dad might opt for a burger experiment like Dork (duck and pork) or The Codfather.
Both avid board gamers and novices feel welcome at Mox Boarding House. The knowledgeable staff asks a few questions, then matches each party with the perfect game. Take the box into the attached restaurant and fill up with mac ’n’ cheese, fish and chips, or other comfort food while playing. Parents can order beer, wine, or mead to accompany their food. Before leaving, you can shop from a huge inventory of games for one to take home.
Neophytes and staunch gamers alike enjoy Portal Virtual Reality Arcade. The controls are easy and intuitive, based on interaction with objects you see in your selected virtual world. The technology amuses and amazes everyone, from ages eight years and up. Each of the 12 booths offers 35 options, including both single and multiplayer games and experiences. The staff starts guests out with a tutorial and assists whenever needed.
Those seeking an adrenaline rush can whiz through seven zip lines—the longest being 458 feet and the highest 80 feet—and navigate two suspension bridges on the Bellevue Zip Tour. As you fly through the woodlands of Douglas fir and maple trees, views of the Bellevue skyline and North Cascades emerge. Open April–October.
Skateboarders carve and kickflip at the Bellevue Indoor Skate Park. Opportunities to own the craft outdoors are provided at Highland Outdoor Skate Plaza, Lakemont Park Skate Bowl, and Crossroads Park Skate Bowl.
Feed your brood and their thirst for exploration at Crossroads Bellevue. The vast international offerings at the center’s Public Market allow everyone to try something different, from Indian and Italian to Chinese and Hawaiian. With full bellies, it’s time to get your shop on at Crossroads’ many retail offerings or visit Old Bellevue’s downtown boutiques and the hundreds of shops of the nearby Bellevue Collection centers.
Impress your social media followers with snaps of a baked Alaska made with liquid nitrogen matcha ice cream from FogRose. Take selfies in front of the license plate display in Bellevue Library’s parking garage. Also picture perfect? The End of Day chandelier by Dale Chihuly at Lincoln Square.