TRAVEL: Seattle Vacation {with littles}

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You know you’re a parent when….

You plan a vacation around going to the Zoo; and this is exactly how our trip to Seattle got started. We’ve been wanting to go to Seattle now for quite sometime, let’s just say for far too long. For one, I had never been to Seattle, driven through sure (quite possibly asleep), but not actually stopped and taken in the city. Sofia of course has never been and Sammy well he’s the best road trip driver ever so he was coming along for the ride whether he wanted to or not. 

We knew having heard from others, that the Seattle Zoo, the Woodland Park Zoo, is pretty amazing. I’m certain mind-blowing was mentioned at one point, even “better than the San Diego Zoo” was thrown out there on our Facebook page. Either way they did not need to convince us, we wanted to go and we wanted to go yesterday! 

We left early Friday morning, you may have remember our little “day in the life of” post earlier this week sharing a little peek into what that day looked like (ahhh parenting – good times!). We arrived at our hotel of choice, The Hampton Inn & Suites and got setup in our room before heading off to downtown Seattle.

{a side story that may make you cry laugh, but could totally skip if you’d like} Sammy parked where he could find parking and we walked into Pike Place Market. What I think Sammy forgot was that we had a child with us who’s legs gets tired pretty much once they hit the pavement and a wife currently pregnant who hates stairs just as much as the world collectively hates squats. So let me paint this picture for you, we get out of the car, pay for parking and begin to walk. We get to a place Sammy says we need to go up to connect with the street we want, which is 4 flights of stairs away. Sofia beats me to it, “dad can I go on your shoulders?” to which he happily agrees. We get up the stairs with minimal cursing on my part but a little heavy breathing. We walk a few feet and he says “did I lock the door?”. Are you kidding me Sammy? We all go back as family for the area we were in I wasnt totally comfortable with. He locks the car and off we head again in the direction of the dreaded stairs. Instead we pass on the stairs and see what else we can find a few blocks up. To my excitement we find more stairs, but this time it’s about 6 or 7 flights. I don’t know whether to get mad or cry, I suck it up and make my way to the top leaving my excitement at the bottom and both Sammy and I are literally stopped to catch our breath he looks at me and says “I left the console open with money exposed in the car”.  Needless to say when we finally got to Pike Place Market I was more of a quiet observer, and this was best for everyone. We had lunch and quietly made our way back to the car for the hotel. 

After lunch we walked apart of the market, we heard screaming people (followed by laughing) thanks to the flying fish and of course I was in complete heaven passing by the many buckets of single-stemmed flowers and ridiculously affordable bouquets (some even as low at $10). We headed back to our car after just a little taste of Pike Place Market so that we could get in a swim before dinner and a decent bedtime, preparing for our busy day we had ahead at the Woodland Park Zoo. I knew we would be back Sunday so a little taste was all I needed. 

We woke bright and early, because no kids sleep-in on vacations ever and we got our day started with free breakfast (I told you this hotel was the best). We arrived at the Zoo for opening, at 10am meeting up with my brother, his wife and my nephew Max; we were all first-timers to the Woodland Park Zoo. We can through the Penguin entrance, as apparently the zoo has many ways to enter and were greeted instantly by an exhibit, you guessed it, PENGUINS! They stole our hearts right from the start and the day just kept on getting better. I can’t tell you enough how many time Sammy and I looked at each other and said “can you believe this?” and “this is just incredible!”. The exhibits were so natural, they gave a feeling of actually being in the wild with these amazing creatures. The animals all seemed so happy in their homes, very proud actually, they enjoyed the attention when they wanted and ignored us all when they chose. We had to most amazing experience in both the Gorilla and Brown Bear exhibits. The gorilla came out to say hello after picking some berries and brushed her body up against the glass we were standing in front of. Stopped for a moment, naturally to let me take a photo then ran off throwing a piece of a sack over her back like a cape and running up a tree. I was in awe, my day was made at this point and everything else we would see would be just icing on the cake.

We stayed at the Woodland Park Zoo for 6 hours, headed back to our hotel for a little swim before dinner. As the night was getting away on us, we just headed in the direction of Alderwood Mall as we knew we would find restaurants scattered around the area and stopped at Claim Jumper. With a quick little google search in the parking lot we decided that would be the place to dine. We thought the food was great and the service was better, nothing to complain about here. The meals were large, and very filling which was a little disappointing seeings as upon our entry we saw a cake that was easily 15″ tall, draped in chocolate and pecans! None of us could fit it in, not even a bite, but don’t think any of us forget. We’re coming back for you “Chocolate Motherlode Cake”, all 6 layers of you!

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