A great almost-kid-cafe and an experience gift idea (Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA)

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3rd floor kids' area at SAM

I am always amazed at how few kids we see at our local art museum, the SAM.  Kids under 12 are free with a grown-up and there is a neat little place to play on the 3rd floor.  (I just wish they didn’t have mindless Baby Einstein playing on the tv there 24/7-it would be so much better for both the kids AND adults if it was even pictures of the art in the museum set to music from local Seattle bands…..hint hint) There are many interesting toys and books and sometimes we just enjoy sitting and watching out the window at the people bustling in the streets below.

free kids' area at SAM

If you don’t even go into the museum there is a little play area outside the Taste Restaurant that is full of toys and art materials.  Most of the time, we’re the only people there and we’ve eaten at the restaurant before and used that toy area to entice the kids to behave.  (After we eat, we’ll go play.  Remember that play area that is RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR????)  It’s also an easy place for group family meals so grownups can take turns watching the kids while the others socialize.  The food is also quite tasty and nicely presented so it makes for a lovely outing.

listening to headsets at SAM

The museum itself is definitely worth checking out.  We go quite often and we really enjoyed the Peru exhibit that we finally got around to seeing this weekend.  There are complimentary headsets and the guys have fun practicing their numbers by dialing the corresponding art numbers into their phones to hear about the art.  According to one of the docents, the pelican sculpture in the exhibit has been assembled for the first time here in Seattle (it’s usually split into 6 pieces so it can’t be stolen.  This story is SO romantic) and it’s absolutely stunning.  My guys really enjoyed some of the altarpieces that had really tiny figurines and now they definitely want to go and visit Machu Picchu.

Usually I just park at City Target because we pop in for about 30 minutes before we shop, but I read here that you can get up to 4 hours of parking at this garage for $6 if you get a voucher from the SAM ticketing desk.  I’ll totally have to try that next time we go with guests.

The only thing to watch for is the opening times.  Mondays and Tuesdays the museum is closed and I’ve accidentally shown up on these days and been really sad.  Thankfully it’s near Fran’s Chocolates and the Pike Place Market, so the disappointment only lasted momentarily.

We have a Patron membership because we like the free passes for family and friends and the Reciprocal museum memberships for travel but even just the dual membership would work if you have a family with kids under 12.  If you stop by the SAM Website between now and Black Friday they have a 20% off coupon you can use Friday to buy a gift membership.  I love how this would make an awesome experience gift!

(PS. we’ve used our Reciprocal membership for the Denver Art Museum and it was an incredible museum for kids and grownups too.)


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