Top 5 Reasons to Visit Woodland Park Zoo

Seattle is known for a lot of things - coffee, flying fish, needles that point up to space, our stunning geography, tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, and lots of rain, but not so much our zoo. Nope, our zoo doesn’t get much hype. Well, we are here to hype it up, because although it is no San Diego Zoo, it is a fantastic zoo and a great place to spend an afternoon with friends, family, and kids. It is also on the CityPass so if you are visiting from out of town you can get in at a discounted price, which is a steal!

Grizzly Bear at Woodland Park Zoo

Here are our top five reasons to visit Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo.

1 - They Have Awesome Animal Feeding Programs - This one is enough to get us to go. For only $5 (be sure to bring cash) you can join a few other people and feed giraffes and penguins at different points in the day. When you stand that close to these animals and get to hear about their traits, likes and dislikes, and stories you feel connected to them.

Learning about and feeding one of the male giraffe’s at Woodland Park Zoo.

Learning about and feeding one of the male giraffe’s at Woodland Park Zoo.

2 - You’re Supporting Wildlife Conservation Around the World - Zoos do a lot for animal conservation and Woodland Park Zoo is no exception. They have programs around the world to help animals. Much of this you can learn about on their website or through their exhibits and programs at the zoo.

3 - Birds Will Get Up Close and Personal - In Australasia inside Willawong Station for only $2 each you can buy popsicle sticks covered in honey and birdseed and stand in the middle of a room while small parrots come and perch on your hand (or head) to help themselves to your treat. As adults, we have to say - this is SO fun. We bought more sticks than we probably should have before we deciding we should let some of the kids have our space.

You can make a lot of friends at the bird feeding with a little bit of honey and birdseed!

You can make a lot of friends at the bird feeding with a little bit of honey and birdseed!

4 - You Can Get to Know Gorillas and Tigers - There are several programs to help visitors learn more about the animals. Hanging out to learn from staff about the gorillas and tigers are our two favorite spots for obvious reasons. These animals are incredibly smart, beautiful, and also struggle for survival in the wild. It’s good to learn about what we are doing to protect them and also get a more up close view while they are fed and played with by staff while they educate the audience.

Tiger at Woodland Park Zoo

5 - It’s a Wonderful Way to Spend an Afternoon Outside - With the main loop being about .8 miles around this is a super approachable and easy zoo to visit. We always find ourselves amazed by the easy way-finding to all the animals. You can easily see everything and spend ample time at each exhibit in an afternoon. And, in true Seattle fashion much of the zoo is covered so that visiting on rainy days is still enjoyable and allows you to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and incredible animals!

Honorable Mention: The carousel is super old and cool - in the northwest corner of the zoo sits a beautiful carousel from 1918 which the zoo restored and opened in 2006. There are only 150 hand carved carousels (yes, we said HAND carved) left in the world. So this one is definitely worth checking out, even if you don’t go for a ride. Obviously if you have kids this is a pretty great stop in the day!

We hope this gets you excited to visit the zoo! Let us know your experiences at Woodland Park Zoo if you are a local or visitor!

Seeing Seattle by Water - Kayak Tour of Lake Union

Seattle is a city where water and mountains collide, and it’s basically a sin to visit and not experience one or the other (but hopefully both!). If you’re visiting for a short time the mountains are sometimes hard to get to, but luckily we have three big beautiful lakes right in the city. Since they are so accessible, we love to recommend to people of all backgrounds and fitness levels to get out on the water and experience the city from a different point of view. For first time visitors to Seattle, we often point to Lake Union as the spot for stunning views of the city (iconic Space Needle included) and the fun experience of checking out the house boats that sit along the edges of the water and the sea planes taking off over head!

lake union

Where to Rent

The fastest way to get onto the lake is to rent equipment from a place right on the lake. There are three companies we love equally, so take your pick:

Agua Verde

Located in Portage Bay, Agua Verde is not only a Mexican restaurant but also a paddle club! You can rent either kayaks (single or double) or stand-up paddle boards March - October (and if you need a snack, we won’t be mad at ya if you grab a taco before heading out. They even have a to-go window). The Paddle Club has a huge selection of rentals, so the chances of them running out of equipment even on busy, sunny days is pretty slim. You don’t need a reservation for groups under 11, and they also offer guided tours in case you don’t want to venture out alone. Check out their tour page to see what’s up.

Nice views of Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle can be viewed from the comfort of your own kayak on Lake Union.

Nice views of Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle can be viewed from the comfort of your own kayak on Lake Union.

Northwest Outdoor Center

This company offers single, double, or triple kayaks and paddleboards and is located on the western side of Lake Union, meaning you need to travel less distance than you do if you rent from Agua Verde (see map below). However, unlike Agua Verde, they do suggest making reservations and will require an extra $10 per item deposit for groups over 6. No need to worry if you are beginner, though. The center offers classes, which range from basic strokes to learning how to eskimo roll. They are also open year-round, which is a bonus if you’re crazy and want to be on the lake in the winter.

Moss Bay

In the south part of Lake Union, you’ll find Moss Bay, which provides single or double kayaks and paddle boards for rent. The waterway around the business has a 7-knot speed limit making it safe to paddle in case you’re worried about the boats. Moss Bay also offers tours that include a lesson (total time 3 hours) and will take you past all the great sites. They are open April - October.

Set Sail

Lake Union is a fairly small lake and easy to navigate (you are basically looking at one giant circle), and because of its location north of downtown, you get pretty epic views of our gorgeous skyline. The lake is also home to Kenmore Air, a seaplane operation that has been in business since 1946. From your vantage point on the lake, you can see the planes coming and going directly overhead and if you’re wondering, yes, it absolutely is an instagram-worthy event!

Kenmore Air seaplane comes in for a landing on Lake Union.

Kenmore Air seaplane comes in for a landing on Lake Union.

On the north end of the lake sits the famous Gasworks Park, a 19 acre park that you’ll recognize by the giant defunct (yet cool looking) gasification plant. You aren’t able to dock at the park and get out of your rental, but it’s definitely worth a paddle-by. There is always something new and unsual going on at the park from weddings to Irish step dancers, to nudist bike riders, to art installations. Seriously, we’re never sure exactly what we’ll see so check it out and report back.

Gasworks Park in Seattle is one of the best lake front parks and people flock to it to fly kites, sun tan, and play games. The old gas plant gives it unique character too!

Gasworks Park in Seattle is one of the best lake front parks and people flock to it to fly kites, sun tan, and play games. The old gas plant gives it unique character too!

Sleepless in Seattle IS the best Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film. Don’t argue with us. Tom Hanks actually filmed in Seattle for the movie, and there are many spots around town that you can visit from the film’s scenes. One of those spots is the Baldwin house boat (Tom Hanks’ Seattle home in the film), which still sits on Lake Union and looks exactly the same! Head to the houseboat on the west side of the lake and see if you can find it. And while we’re on the subject of houseboats, Seattle has the coolest ones around. They line the lake on both sides and are beautiful and interesting and worth checking out and then discussing what you would do if you owned one (for us, it would be paddle board right off our deck every morning before the day started).

Tom Hanks' houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle is still perfectly the same!

Tom Hanks' houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle is still perfectly the same!

Grab a Bite!

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time to stop for a bite. We have two favorites that have a dock where you can park your equipment. This is a great way to rest for a bit and fuel up for the equipment return trip.

100 LB Clam is exactly what you want in warm weather dining. It has outdoor-only seating with a walk-up window for ordering food. You’ll find a rotating menu, but you can be guaranteed that it will have delicious seafood combos and cold beer on draft. We highly recommend the Poutine O’ the Sea (clams! bacon! chowder!) or the fishwish BLT. Wash it all down with a microbrew or, our pick, a Rainier tallboy (your classic Seattle beer since 1887). They are open 11:30am - 3pm in the summer only. If you are outside of this window or you prefer indoor seating, head into the White Swan next door. It’s run by the same owner and also has an incredible menu (with a few of the same items like the poutine!) and a great happy hour.

Ivar’s Salmon House is another great lake option with a large outdoor seating area (and inside seating too). The restaurant is a Seattle staple and has been serving customers since 1938. The restaurant sits right on the lake, so you won’t miss a second of the boat action. You’ll find the freshest seasonal seafood on their menu, and you definitely can’t go wrong with a bowl of their famous clam chowder...even if it IS in the middle of summer.

A bowl of chowder at Ivar's is great year-round, a Seattle classic!

A bowl of chowder at Ivar's is great year-round, a Seattle classic!

Check out our inclusive map to get your bearings on our recommendations.

Map of Kayak Tour Lake Union Seattle

We can't wait to hear how you like it! Comment with your thoughts and/or questions below. 

10 Awesome Seattle Dates Under $20

Seattle Dates

1. Play a round of mini golf at Flatstick Pub. This fun indoor mini golf pub only costs $7/person and is a great place for a night of fun. 

Flatstick Pub

2 .Watch the sunset and roast s'mores at Golden Gardens. This is hands down one of the best waterfront parks in Seattle. They have fire pits, so bring a picnic bag with some wood, matches, and all the fixings for your perfect s'more. 

3. Get your karaoke on at Rock Box. Because who doesn't want to belt out to Celine Dion with their BAE? Full price at Rock Box is $7/hour, but during happy hour you can get the amazing price of $4/hour. 

4. Volunteer together. Seattle is a tightknit community, which means there are a ton of places to get involved and give back! This is a great way to grow closer and get to know new people as well. Some of our favorite nonprofits include Treehouse, EarthCorps, and Solid Ground

Volunteering at Pike Place Market Food Bank

Volunteering at Pike Place Market Food Bank

5. Rent pedal boats at Greenlake. Green Lake is a beautiful place to get out on the calm water for some 1-on-1 time. Pedal boats are $20/hour and are perfect for a leisurely jaunt out on the lake!

6. Grab some ice cream at Molly Moons in Queen Anne and head down to Kerry Park to soak up the views. Just a few blocks away from the best views in Seattle is some of the best ice cream! Check what time the sun is setting and go grab a bench, enjoy your waffle cone, and watch the sun go down.

Kerry Park

7. Take advantage of Seattle's awesome music scene and see some live music at Conor Byrne. This bar in Ballard hosts amazing local talent for a very low cover charge! You can't go wrong with any of the artists, they are always great! 

8. Take a hike - There are tons of great hikes of varying difficulty to do around the city ( is a great resource). You don't even need to leave the city for Discovery Park. A hike to the lighthouse on the water is a perfect date for an afternoon! 

Take a Hike

9. Play some games! Seattle has so many fun places to go if you like arcade games (we will 100% destroy on any skee ball set-up in our presence). Full Tilt Ice Cream Parlor, Kings Hardware, Unicorn and Shorty's are our favorite picks in the city! 

Skee ball at the Unicorn

Skee ball at the Unicorn

10. Go place some bets at Emerald Downs. There aren't many people who don't enjoy the thrill of placing a bet at the races! Head over and see if you can win big. You can bet for as low as $2 a race!

Emerald Downs

What are some of your favorite cheap date spots? We would love to hear about them! 

Rain or Shine Guides 2017 Bucket List

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

It's 2017! 

It kind of came at us like a freight train and we are sitting here in the first week of January wondering how another year could have come and gone. 

To start this year off right we figured we would make a bucket list of all the things we want to make sure we do, big or small! 

Our 2017 Bucket List

1. Find #ThatNWBus at Palouse Falls 

People visiting Palouse Falls have started making a pitstop at an old abandoned school bus in the area and it is gaining fame on Instagram with the hashtag #thatNWbus. It's beautiful and run down and holds art from the people who have made the trek. Keep your eyes peeled on Highway 260 and you can visit too!

2. Float Green River

The Green River gorge in Auburn is supposed to be one of the most beautiful river canyons in Washington. You can start the beautiful float south of Seattle in Flaming Geyser State Park and take out at the SR18 Bridge. It should take you around 2.5 hours to complete, and we heard this is a very popular float filled with people partying, throwing back a few beers, and enjoying the sunshine. If you are looking for a quiet float, this might not be your spot.

3. Stay at the new McMenamins in Bothell

McMenamins is a PNW charm and their new location in Bothell is supposed to a be a great place for a little stay-cation. With a pool, restaurant, bar, movie theater, and outdoor grounds with fire pits, this place is great for relaxing, reading or hanging out with friends. It has something for everyone.

4. Try the iced cardamom coffee at Voxx

We fell in love with Fonte's cardamom latte and now we are moving on to the rumored deliciousness at Voxx Seattle Coffee, an iced cardamom coffee! We might save this one for the summer months.

5. Take a cooking class at Hipcooks

A good friend of ours recommended Hipcooks for great cooking classes in Seattle and ever since hearing the rave reviews on Bonnie and her cooking secrets we have been dying to get into one of her classes!

6. Zipline at Canopy Tours NW

It's one thing to hike through the beauty of the PNW, it's another to zip through it amongst the trees! We want to get in touch with our inner flying squirrel and check this out once it warms up!

7. Hike the ice caves

Up north in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Park near Silverton, WA you can hike a trail to view the Big Four Ice Caves. Not only are ice caves cool on their own (they just scream Game of Thrones battle scene), but Macklemore filmed his music video for "Can't Hold Us" here. Just oozing cool points now.

8.Visit Soap Lake

Soap Lake is located in Eastern Washington and has been used by early settlers for its healing purposes and therapeutic effects due to its extremely high mineral content. While we heard there isn't a whole lot going on here, the town is trying to attract tourism and has plans to install a 52,000 pound lava lamp as a roadside attraction. So, let's recap: soak in a lake for healing AND see a giant lava lamp? Sign us up.

9. Enjoy a drink and the view at Mbar.

Mbar is new to the Seattle scene and apparently has one of the best rooftop patios in the city! There is nothing we enjoy more than cocktails in the sun, so we will absolutely be here on the first semi-warm day of the year.

10. Search out the best Korean BBQ in the city

Who doesn't love roasted and delicious marinated meat? (Vegetarians probably don't but there aren't any of those in this duo, so we are just going to say 100% of people love Korean BBQ.) We are going to be on the hunt in 2017 to find the best. Apparently Lynnwood is known to have great Korean BBQ (who knew?). First stops will be Sul Lung Tang and Ka Won.

So those are our 10 bucket list items. What do you have on your bucket list this year? We would love to hear in the comments! 

New Year's bucket list
Confetti gun fail

Confetti gun fail