There are plenty of alternatives for families to spend time wisely out of the house and away from a TV or computer screen. Here are just five suggestions to keep your family having fun and possibly learn something at the same time.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center
440 5th Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 709-3100
www.gatesvc.orgOpen Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center can make for a worthwhile afternoon or two and the fact that there is no admission charge, you can come and go whenever the mood strikes. Here you’ll find information on inventions and programs created to help people thrive from all over the world and how you can be a part of the change if you so choose. Exhibits include the history and the people behind the foundation, how partners are making a difference in the world and short videos on some the foundation’s best work.

Ride the Ducks
516 Broad Street
Seattle, WA
(206) 441-3825
www.ridetheducksofseattle.comIf you are like most Seattleites, you have avoided most of all the tourist activities in town, but our city has a rich history that shouldn’t be overlooked. On a Seattle Duck Tour, you’ll travel on both land and sea and learn odd facts, local folklore and fantastic views on a 90-minute tour that is geared for families. The 20 mile tour includes the Space Needle, Seattle waterfront, Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market and more. The tour is interactive too with songs, chants and general mayhem that your kids will love.

Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 386-4300
www.SeattleAquarium.orgYou’ve probably visited the Seattle Aquarium on the weekends when it busy with guests. The place is lot less crowded during the weekday afternoons and the aquarium has some afternoon activities that are not offered on the weekend as well. Among the special events are the “Meet Our Marine Mammals” presentation at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., the “Meet Our Octopus” presentation at 4:00 p.m., the “Solutions for Ocean Change” event at 2:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. and more.

Related: Free Fall Activities for Families in Seattle

Lynnwood Recreation Center
18900 44th Ave. W.
Lynnwood, WA 98046
(425) 670-5732 it is no longer warm enough outside for a swim, head up north to Lynnwood for a couple hours of warm, wet fun. The state-of-the-art facility houses two large waterslides, a “lazy river,” an interactive play area, swimming pools with floaties, lap pools, and relaxing hot tubs for both families and adults only and more. The afternoon family rec swim is open every day from 3:30-5:15 p.m. Prices range from $4.25-5.25 per person and families can get in for just $16.25. You can buy a membership for an even better deal.

Seattle Children’s Museum
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 441-1768
www.thechildrensmuseum.orgThe Seattle Children’s Museum is always popular, but bring your kids in at 2:00 p.m. for a more structured time. Special classes are offered each day that are included with the price of admission and can include classes related to various exhibits, art classes, cooking classes and more. If money is tight, visit the museum from 4:00-5:00 p.m. for the “pay-what-you-can-afford” rate. There’s lots to explore in the 22,000 feet of playing space.

Related: Ten Ideas for a Thrifty Family Fun Night

Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at