Seattle Museums With Kids – Burke Museum

In addition to searching Red Tricycle Seattle and Parent Map’s events every week, our daycare sends out a list of events (mainly compiled from those sources, but sometimes including others) every Friday, which is how we ended up visiting the Burke Museum’sI Dig Dinos” event this past weekend. On the last Sunday of every month through Memorial Day weekend, they’re having special themed days for kids to come and learn about dinosaurs.¬†They also have a “Dino Days” event this coming weekend, but that seems more formal and likely to be busier.

This weekend’s theme was a “Dino Days Preview” and even though the website says it’s geared for kids aged 3-7, our nearly 2 year old had a great time. The museum is located on the University of Washington campus and is free for kids under 4, with general admission costing $10, so it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other local museums. Parking is also free on Sundays, and there’s some street parking available that’s also free.

We kicked off the morning with breakfast at Portage Bay Cafe, which has a location about a 15 minute walk from the museum. Their pancakes are phenomenal (try the butternut squash with pear butter) and include a trip to the fruit bar that Julia thinks is the best thing since sliced bread. Brunching around 9 a.m. also meant that we beat the rush of UW students.

The event runs from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., but the museum opens at 10 a.m., so we were there with time to check out the other exhibits. Julia liked pointing at the fossils and casts on display, particularly the “elephant” (woolly mammoth) and the whale.



The museum’s permanent exhibits aren’t huge, though, so we spent a lot of time doing dinosaur-themed puzzles in the discovery lab.

All Mine
Toddlers and T-Rexes say “All Mine”
So proud of her for putting together all those numbers herself (sorted by Mom, of course)

We also checked out the Work In Progress exhibit that shows how museum employees are packing up specimens to move to the new Burke location. Julia was mostly interested in climbing in and out of the crates, but did like seeing a T-Rex skull that is being excavated.

The main event was in the Burke Room by the front entrance and was well set-up for families with small kids. There were plastic dinosaurs to play with, dinosaur tails to try on (Julia was not interested), a photo booth, a spot to sort Dinosaur vs. Not Dinosaur pictures (toddlers + sorting = love), and a very popular digging pit. Julia loved it, but I think a 7 year old would get bored quickly.

Why ride a pony when there’s a perfectly good brontosaurus?
Yep, T-Rex, I agree. She’s delicious.

In the main lobby, you could also decorate a dinosaur mask (I can’t recall the dinosaur’s name, but nothing I recognized). Julia loved it and has been carrying her dino mask around with her all week.


I don’t know that we would make a regular trip to the permanent exhibits, but our visit to the Burke Museum for this special event was so much fun (ok, Daddy was bored, but I’ll bring more snacks for him next time) that it’s reminded me I need to keep better track of local museum-sponsored events.

Are there special exhibits that you’ve particularly loved with your little ones?