While ours is a more muted display compared to New England, there’s plenty for the whole family to see here in the Northwest, including brilliant colors not only found on deciduous trees and shrubs but also grasses, meadows, berries and even still-in-bloom dahlias. You don’t have to venture far, as our local parks have lots to offer:
Bellevue Botanical Gardens
A wonderful gem located right in downtown Bellevue, with 53 acres of display gardens, meadows, wetlands and woodlands. The 1/3-mile Lost Meadow loop trail offers picturesque fall color; be sure to also stroll through the Dahlia Garden as flowers should be in full bloom through mid November (or the first frost). The Botanical Gardens are free and open from dawn to dusk every day.
12001 Main Street
Seattle’s largest park takes up 534 acres on Magnolia Bluff, including colorful wooded areas, meadows, sand dunes and dramatic cliffs (in other words: plenty of photo opps with the kiddos!) With 11 miles of trails, a children’s playground and plenty of picnic tables, there’s something here for everyone.
3801 Discovery Park Boulevard
Stroller friendly and serene, Kubota Garden in south Seattle is a hidden gem within the city. Kids will love seeing the waterfall and the fish pond, and you’ll appreciate the stunning array of Japanese maples. The Garden is free to visitors and public tours are available every Saturday through October at 10:00 am.
9817 55th Avenue South
Union Bay Natural Area
With 74 acres and four miles of shoreline along Lake Washington, the Union Bay Natural Area is a public wildlife area just a stone’s throw away from the shopping mecca of University Village. Gorgeous grasslands and wetlands combined with the backdrops of Husky Stadium, Lake Washington and Mount Rainier add to the diverse fall scenery. A popular bird watching destination, bring the binoculars and either a heavy duty jogging stroller or a backpack for the wee ones, as the gravel trails tend to get muddy this time of year. Plenty of parking is available at the adjacent Center for Urban Horticulture.
3501 NE 41st Street
First stop: The Graham Visitors Center (where you can treat the kids to Adventure Packs ($7 for two hours) backpacks supplied with field guides, scavenger hunts, magnifying lenses and activity ideas for children in grades K - 6. Stroll through Azalea Way (.75 miles) past the Woodland Garden, Japanese Maples and Asiatic Maples and end up at the Japanese Gardens at the south end (which has an entrance fee).
2300 Arboretum Drive East
Yes, of course the zoo is here, but did you also know that Woodland Park continues on the east side of Aurora down to the south end of Greenlake? The best fall color can be found near the many picnic areas and the large, wooded dog off-leash area.
1000 North 50th Street
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