School’s out! Sun’s out! Take the kids to Seattle Center to play at the granddaddy of all Seattle playgrounds.

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Sketched July 29, 2019

“Artists at Play” at Seattle Center may be the granddaddy of all Seattle playgrounds. On this hot weekday afternoon, a bunch of screaming kids are spinning around in the playground’s carousel while others chase each other inside a labyrinth of ropes and slides 30 feet off the ground — it’s like I’m watching an episode of “Survivor”!

Some parents seem relieved to catch a break while their kids burn off some energy. Others have that anxious look that comes from doubting your kids’ gymnastic abilities or from worrying they will get lost.

The scene brings back memories of entertaining my then-toddlers when we moved to the area 13 years ago. I have fond memories of exploring parks along the Puget Sound shoreline and elsewhere. Some playgrounds with fun features have stuck with me, too, like the salmon slide at Carkeek Park or the castlelike maze at Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore.

I also remember the Fun Forest amusement-park rides that formerly occupied this space at the base of the Space Needle. Those rides, which included bumper cars, a small Ferris wheel and a roller coaster, were dismantled forever in 2010, but their legacy of fun at Seattle Center lives on through this awesome playground.