The Lazy Parent's Dream Park! otherwise known as The Tot Lot, Corner of Cornwall and D Street, downtown Bellingham
The Tot Lot is one of those parks I have formerly scoffed at. Surround by a chainlink fence, featuring a little bit of grass, and a lackluster set of small climbing toys. My little walker used to stay close too, but suddenly he's on the run and the Tot Lot seemed like the most genious park in all of Whatcom County. Rest assured, we still play together, but I can actually rest without having to fear for his life when he runs all over. It's enclosed and has two gated entries. That park seems like sparkly magic to me now. :)
Farmer’s Markets – Every Saturday and Wednesday
Bellingham’s main Farmer’s Market at the Depot Square (southern end of Railroad) is a mixture of local food, plants, produce and craft items. A fun place for moms and dads and a world of wonder for the little ones. There’s usually live music, kettle corn and plenty to look at. The Bellingham Farmer’s Market operates from April – December, 10am to 3pm.
The last Saturday of every month is Kids Day at the market where kids are encouraged to set up their own booths of hand-made or self grown products. What fun!
A slightly smaller version operates in Fairhaven on Wednesdays between 12-5 pm from June 4 – September 3. This smaller scale and slightly more relaxed version is centered around the Fairhaven Green - a perfect place to let kids run around and experience another fun market full of local produce and worthy crafts.
Waterparks are open in the summer!
There are two amazing waterparks that Bellinghamsters with kids in tow migrate to when the weather gets hotter. On a not-so scorching day, I recommend Fairhaven Park’s water park. It is an awesome park, but not a lot of shade around to get out of the sun. The second is located in Cornwall Park. There is also a nearby creek with natural wading pools to wade (not deep enough to swim) in. Cornwall’s waterpark offers quite a bit more shade to escape the sun, so head there on the hottest of days.
Free Summer Concert Series…Starting Mid-July
Tuesdays, 6-8pm Fairhaven Village Green
Wednesdays, 6-9pm, Alley downtown between Holly and Champion/Bay Streets
Thursdays, 6-8pm, Elizabeth Park
Fridays, 12-1pm, Bellingham Library Lawn, CHILDREN’S CONCERTS
Saturdays, 7-9pm, Boulevard Park
Sundays, 3:30-5pm, Big Rock Garden Park
Lake Padden - my favorite park for toddlers...
Why Lake Padden? When we go to the park, we play, laugh run and I inevitably end up climbing up and down those playstructures about 57 times. Not that I don't love it, but Lake Padden ALSO has a large wooden "boat" with a ramp leading up to it and a slide coming down that is so very, very safe for toddlers to enjoy by themselves. I actually got to enjoy a few sips of my morning coffee the last time we went! http://whatcom.kulshan.com/country/state/region/county/division/city/area/location/default.asp?LGroupId=60&LocationId=485
Here comes the sun! (do-do-do-do)…Larrabee State Park
Take a walk, hike, stroller ride, or explore Larrabee State Park on Chuckanut Drive. It's a tide-pooler's paradise, and the kiddos can run free while you enjoy the scenery.
And if the weather is good…Boulevard to Fairhaven walk
A great mom and kids date (if the kiddos are stroller worthy) is a walk from Fairhaven to Boulevard Park. If your kids are strolling instead of strollering, just park at Boulevard and head to the coffee shop, walk the trails, climb on the rocks, play on the playground and climb the tower. Not to mention the water! Throw rocks until your arm can't throw anymore!
Arellanes Family Farm and Giggles the Clown - Summer Activities and Camps
Fun, fun, fun! The Farm offers pony rides, a petting farm, kids trails, and a summer camp program. Coming soon is miniature golf and a zipline! They are open daily, from 10am - 8pm starting June 16th. The farm also offers space for birthdays, company picnics and familiy picnics. 8651 Kendall Road, Maple Falls, 350-599-1515, http://www.gigglestheclown.org
Blaine… Wagon Rides, Pony Rides, & Petting Zoo
Peach Arch Equestrian Center 4520 Anderson Road, Blaine. 371-3109, www.peacearchequestrian.net
Lynden…Million Smiles Playground
Opening in April 2007, Million Smiles has the reputation for being one of the coolest playgrounds in Whatcom County. The park includes a multi-story treehouse, mazes, swings, a climbing wall and a handi-cap accessible slide. 8460 Depot Road, Lynden. 354-6717
The mini train in Birch Bay
Anyone have a toddler obsessed with Thomas? Running weekends April through May, then every day in June and through the fall, the mini train travels around a miniature track and through the “forest of imaginiation”. 4620 Birch Bay Lynden Road, Birch Bay $3.50 per person or $3 per person for a family of four or more. 371-7700, www.miniatureworld.org
Ferry to Lummi for Lunch and Beach Fun!
Walk onto the Lummi Island Ferry from Gooseberry Point (about 15 minutes north of Bellingham) and ride to the island for lunch and some beach fun. The ferry is $2 per walk-on adult and free for kids under 12. It departs about every 1/2 hour on weekdays and every hour on weekends. Bring your bikes too if your kids are old enough to ride along a rural road. Check out the ferry system website for a map, fare info, and specific departure times.
Tennant Lake Park and Hovander Homestead – Lynden
Or head out to Ferndale's Tennant Lake Park (15 minutes north of Bellingham). Kids (and adults) can enjoy the interpretive center with hands on displays for children, an elevated boardwalk, a 50 foot tower, and a fragrance garden that is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Nature Classes are offered for 6-10 year olds and families as well as nature day camps!
Tennant Lake Park is a part of the Hovander Homestead Park, another great outting. Hovander offers a place to play, picnic and run around as well and see ANIMALS(!) from May through October. Included in the full farm experience are draft horses, donkeys, cows, sheep, goats and pigs. You can see rabbits, chickens, roosters, turkeys, ducks, geese and peacocks ALL YEAR LONG! http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/hovander/hovander.jsp
Mount Baker…Let it snow...still? Isn't it spring already?
And if you're brave and packing a sled you could head up to Mt. Baker (home of the world's snowfall record!) and do some sledding. There is a sledding hill just down from the ski area. But, now that Mt. Baker is closed, you can basically sled anywhere. When the snow finally melts, take the short hike to Artist Point with the little ones and enjoy the views and photo ops.
Giggles the Clown (in Maple Falls) for daily activities AND summer
Giggles the Clown offers daily activities from 11-4 (like pony rides!) AND they are also offering summer daycamp for nine weeks at $3.00 per day. For more information, visit their website www.gigglestheclown.org
Anacortes – Washington Park
Washington Park has a lot to offer. It’s 220 acre city park with a little over 2 miles of paved, stroller friendly looping trails around the point, picnic areas, clean bathrooms, a sandy beach with tidepools along the side and an awesome playground. If you have slightly older kids, this playground was made for school-agers to enjoy for hours, but toddlers can have a blast too. http://www.cityofanacortes.org/Parks/WaPark/wa_park.htm