As that never-ending season of rain and grey approaches, you may be looking for more indoor options to fill your family’s free time. As a popular dry haven for the greater Seattle area, KidsQuest will be busier than ever as we head into Winter. Here are a few tips and reminders to make your visit as smooth as possible!

Parking: Since our grand opening in January, patrons and employees alike have gone through the growing pains of moving to a downtown, urban location. While there is limited free parking available onsite and next door at Ashwood Park, they fill up quickly on busier days. The best advice I can give is to plan ahead and know your options. Here is a list of nearby parking options from our website, including a pdf map of the surrounding area. Downtown Bellevue Association also has a great interactive parking map to take a look at as well!

Strollers & Storage: If possible, we recommend a stroller-free visit. We know this isn’t always an option, especially since you may be toting little ones who don’t want to walk, along with extra clothes and snacks to last all afternoon. For this reason, we do offer a space for empty strollers on our outdoor, covered ramp. (The big white tent will be back this week!)

Additionally, there are coat hooks, umbrella bins, and open spaces below the benches in the lobby. For more valuable items and peace of mind, you can also rent a locker for $1 (and an ID) from the front desk.

Eating in the Museum: You may bring your own food, purchase something in the museum store, or leave and come back after lunch! Our museum store now offers snacks and refrigerated drinks, including milk, juice, and coffee. If you are looking for a more substantial meal, there are many kid-friendly restaurants and cafes nearby that are accessible by car or foot. If you’d like to enjoy snacks during your visit, there are three food-friendly spots with black benches and trash, recycling, and compost bins. They are located behind the atrium climber and on both stair risers. While drinks are welcome in all areas of the museum, we do ask that you keep food items to these spots to keep the exhibits clean and respect patrons with allergies.

Same Day Re-entry: Don’t forget to grab a hand stamp on your way out if you are planning on returning later in the day. They are a convenient way to show staff you have already checked-in without having to wait in line at the front desk again (unless we are at capacity). This applies to both general admission and members

Capacity: On our busiest days we do implement a cap on the number of patrons inside the museum. This ensures that the galleries are playable and safe! During this time, entrance is first come, first serve, and stamps will not allow automatic re-entry. If you are concerned about waiting in line or feeling overwhelmed, please call the museum or ask for a staff member at the door.

Best Times to Avoid Crowds: Even during the rainy season, there are still slower days and hours you can visit for a quieter experience. Typically, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are filled with tots and the afternoons are tailored for bigger kids with special programs. Both days remain fairly mellow, with the exception of occasional field trip visits. (Check out our Facebook page for weekly field trip forecasts this winter!) If you are a member, you can also visit Thursday evenings until 8pm for our special member hours. Another good time to visit is Friday afternoon, the museum stays open until 8pm. This coming Friday (11/10) there will be a food truck in the parking lot, come play in the museum and then get some dinner. It is the perfect start to the weekend.

Still have questions? Give us a call! We are happy to let you know how the day is looking and if we are or anticipating a busy day.

Contributed by Andi Koller