We’ve been all wrapped up in the everyday for a while. As much as I can wish there were some grand plans in the making, we’re really just doing “us” right now. We’re not the family that’s jetting off to Brussels or Buenos Aires any time soon. The travel writer in me wants to always be immersed in new places, but the truth is that like many families, most of the time we have a few open hours here and there when I have the luxury of deciding what to do with the whole family.
The weather in much of the country has been hard, but around here it’s a lot of the usual Pacific Northwest formula – sometimes grey, rain off and on, and fleeting fits of sunshine. It was the promise of a glimpse of sun that finally got me back in the mood to explore – that mood that fuels my gumption to get everyone dressed, the backpack loaded with snacks and spare socks, and dad brought up to speed and hopefully onboard for my next little adventure.
Now I’m not against the play pit at the mall, but most of the time my preference for those “what to do with the kids” moments is something out in open air. Even in cities, in industrial places and suburbs, there’s often somewhere to go for a glimpse of wild life, a bit of living earth, and a chance to wander with the family. It’s worth it to look.
I chose Spencer Island Park in Everett, Washington, for the fascinating fact that it’s close to us. Also, my son is currently very interested in birds; in particular, flamingos. So while humming Kokomo and reminiscing about my one Florida experience, I thought about where we could go to see waterfowl nearby. Not to my surprise, flamingos prefer to live somewhere warmer than the Seattle area. But many other birds, die hard Seahawks fans I’m sure, do stick around.
Spencer Island Park is in Everett, Washington, which is about 20 miles north of Seattle. It’s in the Snohomish River Estuary near the Everett Waste Water Facility. I know that sounds like a whole lot of glamour, but there was no odor when we were there and it gave us a good chance to talk to our twins about where all the water goes when it leaves our house.
Spencer Island provides a great marshy and wet habitat for wildlife and lots of birds. If you’re four years old like my twins, you might imagine, “this is where they come to meet their bird friends.” There are trails and an old bridge, with views of our nearby mountains. And if you’re feeling all reckless and free about the laundry, right now it’s a great place for the kids do some spirited mud puddle jumping.
It’s a little hard to find and we did get turned around at first, so do have the directions with you. For parents with new walkers, I’d pack an all-terrain stroller or a carrier as there’s a good amount of walking on various surfaces to get around, although it’s manageably flat.
We had a fun time looking for birds, and I had a rare chance to get my camera out and take some photos of the kids. If you like taking photos of nature and the outdoors, you’ll have lots of opportunities at Spencer Island Park, like this old barn. It’s been nearly swallowed up by the marsh and I’m so sorry if this is your barn, but the writer in me finds it enchanting. My twins were fascinated by it, too.
Exploring Spencer Island Park was a good quick outing for our family, and somewhere I’d go back to in search of bird watching, as we often are. It’s not a grand destination or the latest way to flex your frequent flyer miles, but for a busy family like ours, it was a welcome chance to get outside before heading back to just doing “us” again.
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