Day Trip Discoveries: New Burke Museum now showcases active research

Where can you peer up at an ancient mastodon skeleton? Watch paleontologists examine a 60-million-year-old, T-Rex dinosaur skull? Admire a vintage, Coast Salish whaler’s hat and enjoy frybread at a Native American-themed café? The new Burke Museum opened Oct. 16 to offer such experiences — designed to engage as well as educate visitors. It is…

Day Trip Discoveries: Arboretum and Japanese Garden offer autumn highlights

Autumn always invites me to Seattle’s Arboretum, a hidden gem near Lake Washington just south of the Montlake Bridge. This 230-acre park offers wonderful walks through botanical collections any time of year, but it is especially gorgeous with fall’s turning leaves. Within the Arboretum is the traditional Japanese Garden with many varieties of Japanese maples,…

Day Trip Discoveries: Saint Edward State Park and Bastyr University

For a long time, I’d been curious about Saint Edward State Park, the largest undeveloped area on Lake Washington. Visiting it recently, I discovered a wonderful day-use park with sprawling lawns, picnic areas and forested trails that loop and lead to a small shore with a view across the lake. A surprise was the park’s…

Day Trip Discoveries: New Nordic Museum debuts May 5

As a volunteer at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, I eagerly awaited the day it would move from the former 1908 Webster school building into its new-construction museum facility. This coming weekend, the new Nordic Museum (dropping “Heritage” from its name) makes that move with its grand opening at noon on Saturday,…

Day Trip Discoveries: Spring explorations in Woodinville and Maltby

A perfect way to get into spring-mode is visiting nurseries, bursting with blooming flowers, vegetable starts and eager young shrubs. Two of my favorites are Molbak’s in Woodinville and Flower World near Maltby. Together they make a wonderful excursion, whether you’re buying for your garden or simply want to enjoy a mega-dose of spring color….

Day Trip Discoveries: Discovery Park offers tucked-away wilderness in the city

My favorite wilderness escape is often right in the city. Seattle’s Discovery Park offers a great Loop Trail through lush forests and grassy meadows, bluff-top views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, and a saltwater beach below boasting a vintage lighthouse. You can hike the 2.8-mile Loop Trail, enjoy bird-watching and/or picnic on the…

Day Trip Discoveries: Enjoy tasting experiences at local distilleries, a meadery and winery

Looking for a different sort of excursion with unusual holiday gift potential? One that may also intrigue family and friends visiting during the holidays? Rather than do the usual Woodinville wine-tasting, discover out-of-the-ordinary tasting experiences at two nearby distilleries, a meadery and a downtown winery. The distilleries each feature award-winning, hand-crafted spirits. Snohomish County’s only…

Day Trip Discoveries: Explore lesser known Tacoma attractions, many free

Do a day trip to Tacoma, and you may focus on a major event at the Tacoma Dome or its immediate neighbor, the amazing LeMay: America’s Car Museum. Or you may visit the well-publicized Museum of Glass and/or Tacoma Art Museum, two of the three major museums in Tacoma’s downtown Museum District. But be sure…

Day Trip Discoveries: Coast Salish cultural centers preserve local heritage

The Puget Sound region now has several cultural centers that celebrate and preserve the heritage of the original Coast Salish inhabitants. These Native Americans shared the Lushootseed language, which has been recollected and given written form in recent years. Lushootseed — with its strange accent marks — is amazing. For example, dxÊ·sÉ™qÊ·É™b means “place of…

Day Trip Discoveries: Explore Everett’s surprising art scene

Think of Everett, and likely the big Boeing assembly plant and U.S. Naval Station spring to mind. Just a few decades ago, Everett evoked images of a lumber mill town and rough-and-tumble port. So you may be surprised how the former “City of Smokestacks” has developed quite an art scene in the past few years….

Day Trip Discoveries: Nearby trails to explore this summer

Seeking a convenient day hike this summer? Why drive to the Cascade foothills when you can take a surprising variety of close-by trails — and avoid most traffic hassles and major highway repairs. Choose from beach walks and birding trails to tranquil forest loops among these four trails in Everett, Snohomish, Mukilteo and Edmonds/Lynnwood.  Jetty…

Day Trip Discoveries: Add a heritage discovery to your summer excursions

Curious about Snohomish County’s history and heritage? A number of heritage sites expand their open hours and/or add special activities during summer months. So warmer weather is an ideal time to include them while on Snohomish excursions ranging from shopping to hiking. Going to Alderwood Mall? Stop off at Lynnwood-Alderwood Manor Heritage Association & Museum,…

Day Trip Discoveries: Waterfall hikes are most spectacular in spring

Enjoy hiking and want a waterfall view as your reward? Snohomish County has more than 20 spectacular waterfalls that can be viewed on hikes in its Cascade foothills. And spring is the best time to see these waterfalls, rushing and roaring with rain and snow melt run-off. Two of the most popular waterfalls are both…

Day trip discoveries: Historic Mukilteo Lighthouse now open for tours

On Saturday, April 1, the historic Mukilteo Lighthouse opens for its 25th season of weekend tours. Operated by the Mukilteo Historical Society, the Mukilteo Light Station — as it is officially called — welcomes visitors on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from noon to 5 p.m. through Sept. 24. Admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated….

Day Trip Discoveries: Go beer tasting at local microbreweries

Microbreweries seem to be popping up everywhere these days, and several intriguing ones have established themselves from Edmonds to Everett in just the past few years. Curious to try unusual beer flavored with peanut butter, coconut or juniper berry? Beers ranging from Bavarian-style Märzen to dark, hoppy Porter? Those made with organic or locally sourced…

Day Trip Discoveries: Fun winter events celebrate Snohomish frogs and birds

Every winter, Snohomish County has two annual events that draw birding enthusiasts — and one very quirky GroundFrog Day. Since groundhogs aren’t native to Washington State — but we have lots of frogs thanks to all our rain — why not a groundfrog adaption? So the City of Snohomish Chamber of Commerce ingeniously invented GroundFrog…

Day Trip Discoveries: Rainy day? Take kids to a children’s museum

When you wonder what to do with house-bound kids or grandkids during winter’s rainy months, take them to a children’s museum. Everett, Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia each have a dedicated children’s museum with creative exhibits and hands-on activities designed to encourage both play and learning. These non-profit museums cater to toddlers up to 12-year-olds. While…

Day Trip Discoveries: Walking, jogging, hiking and biking on nearby trails

Whether you enjoy a brisk walk or more strenuous exercise, you can take advantage of several convenient trails in Snohomish County that are accessible year-round. Some trails feature bird-watching and wildlife viewing, all offer scenic views ranging from wetlands to mountains, and one even includes horseback riding. Each trail is fine for families as well…

Day Trip Discoveries: Restoration Center is Paine Field’s surprise aviation attraction

Paine Field near Everett boasts several major aviation attractions such as the popular Boeing Tour at the Future of Flight and the vintage aircraft displays at Flying Heritage Collection and Historic Flight. A fourth, little-known attraction is the Museum of Flight Restoration Center and Reserve Collection on the southeast side of Paine Field. Here vintage…

Day Trip Discoveries: Fascinating ‘critters’ at Outback Kangaroo Farm, Reptile Zoo

If your children or grandchildren are intrigued with “critters,” two unusual attractions in Snohomish County offer up-close experiences with exotic animals far beyond neighborhood dogs and cats. The Outback Kangaroo Farm in Arlington and The Reptile Zoo in Monroe both feature amazing collections of unusual animals with an emphasis on educating visitors about their special…

Day Trip Discoveries: Red Rooster Route offers rural fun this summer

Explore rural Snohomish County this summer along the Red Rooster Route near Arlington. Visit farms open to the public, buy fresh-harvested produce and U-pick your own berries. Pause at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum to learn the heritage of this agricultural area. Perhaps attend some of the local summer festivals. The Red Rooster Route began…