North - Ballard Locks
Ballard Locks (Hiram M. Chittenden Locks) - The Ballard Locks are an engineering marvel, allowing boats go back and forth between the freshwater lakes and saltwater Puget Sound. When you visit the locks, kids will see large ships and fishing vessels passing through one lock, and canoes, sailboats, kayaks and motorboats, even log rafts, stacked together in the second lock. The lock operates every day, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
Stop in the visitor center to watch a 12 minute video about how the locks and Washington Ship Canal was built, connecting Puget Sound with Lake Washington. Then go out to watch boats going through, lock gates opening and closing, water pumping in and out, and then the boats chugging through. Tip: It's okay to cross over the lock gates, they're fenced in, and wide enough for strollers.
Fish Ladder - Cross over the locks to the other side to see the fish ladder viewing gallery. The fish ladder lets the migrating salmon go around the locks and dam, to return to their birthplace up stream. It's hard work for the chinook, coho, sockeye or steelhead salmon swimming up the steps and pools in the fish ladder. We saw an beautiful silvery coho salmon resting in the current before continuing on.
Around the locks are trees and grass, so bring a picnic lunch.
Gasworks Park is a wide open park with grassy knolls, brightly painted pipes from the old gas works, views of Lake Union, houseboats to the west, and Seattle in the distance. Run to the top of the highest grassy knoll for a mosaic of the four directions. Bring a kite to fly and a picnic for lunch outdoors on a nice day.
Fremont -
Fremont Troll - Crouched under the bridge is a huge one-eyed concrete troll, clutching a squished car in its paw. A local landmark, and worth seeing if you're in the neighborhood, on the way to Gasworks Park. Easy to see at N 36th St. and Troll Avenue N.
Fremont Sunday Market - Sundays, both indoor and outdoors, a local market with snacks and fresh local fruits (the apples are delicious), plus arts and crafts for sale. Located at 34th St. North near the Fremont Bridge. (Tip: The blue and orange Fremont Bridge is a drawbridge, and look for it raising up for boats to go by.)
Burke Museum (University of Washington) - A homey museum devoted to the natural and cultural history of Washington state. Find out about dinosaurs and marine reptiles that once roamed the state, mineral, gems and geodes, plus models of volcanoes (Mt. St. Helens is the youngest volcano) and dioramas of old growth forests and salmon streams. In the Northwest cultural exhibits are masks of all kinds, ceremonial robes and cedar bark capes and hats, models of canoes and long houses.
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