Remember when you could keep your eyes open until at least the 11 o'clock news? When you weren't regularly awakened by a sweet little cherub with a bad dream, or a 5:00 a.m. "Mama, I'm all done sleeping" announcement. Yes, becoming a parent definitely changes your night life. But it's all good! Now we have the opportunity to enjoy the city after dark in a whole new way with our little ones. Early spring is the perfect time for an after dinner adventure. The weather is improving but the sun still sets reasonably early, so you can take the kids out on a nighttime date and still make it home for an early bedtime (For everyone!)
As our local bats begin to return from warmer locations or wake up from hibernation, bat watching is an interesting evening activity for little nature lovers. Arrive at your viewing location before dusk so you'll be ready to spot the bats exiting their house just after dark. Bats Northwest leads bat watching tours at Green Lake in the summer, and you can plan your own stake out at one of the other local bat houses. Try spotting bats at the Lake Hills Greenbelt Park in Bellevue, or along Cathy's Trail near Black Nugget park in Issaquah Highlands. Visit Bats Northwest to learn all about our local bat population. If you're really batty, you can even find out how to build your own backyard bat house!
Your late nights of Rock-n-Bowl at good ol' Leilani Lanes may be in the past, but there's still bowling fun to spare in Seattle. Bowling is a great option when you want an quick evening excursion, but (surprise!), it's raining! These days, you can find plenty of non-smoking, clean and family friendly options around town. If you want something modern with plenty of bumpers and kid friendly fare, try ACME Bowl in Tukwilla. If you want to get crazy and stay out really late, kids over five are allowed at TechCity Bowl's 9:30 p.m. Cosmic Bowl. Or how about an old-school (yet nicely updated) alley? Try the longtime family favorite, West Seattle Bowl.
Catching gorgeous views of our Emerald City at night is always a treat, so why not take the little ones downtown for some city light spotting. The Seattle Monorail is turning 50 this spring. Celebrate with an evening ride and watch the city lights pass by in a blur! Park at the Westlake Center garage and hop aboard for a trip to the Seattle Center. Then ride the golden elevator to the top of the Space Needle for some serious 360 degree breath-taking views of all the lights in Seattle. You can eat dinner at Sky City on top of the Space Needle, or just head back down to the Center House or Westlake Center for some more kid-friendly (and budget-friendly) food court fare. If you're there on a weeknight, don't stay too late. The monorail closes for the night at 9:00 p.m. (Never fear, it's open later on weekends.)
Don't laugh! We do get an occasional clear spring night in Seattle. Make a plan now so when the clouds part, you can jump in the car and take a quick trip out of town for an evening of stargazing. For the best views, head east or west away from the city lights. You could hop a ferry to Bainbridge Island to visit the Battle Point Astronomical Association's Ritchie Observatory. Even a quiet neighborhood park on a hill would suffice on a clear night. Pack a blanket and some snacks and see if you can find the Big Dipper! If you're really serious about star spotting, visit the Goldendale Observatory State Park, an official "Dark Skies" park located an hour southwest of Yakima. Not exactly an evening excursion, but worth the drive if you and your budding astronomer are looking for an adventure.
Still too cold for a camp-out? How about a little camp-in! The Pacific Science Center is hosting an overnighter for kids in grades 2-6, (and their parents). We know you've always wanted to sleep in a museum! Campers can sleep beneath a gigantic T-Rex; participate in cool after-hours science experiments; and enjoy a laser light show, an IMAX film and a live planetarium show. Now that's something worth staying awake for!