I have always had a Seattle secret place for kids, even before I had kids. It’s a place so far off the beaten path that many locals don’t even know it exists. So imagine my surprise when MY favorite museum to take kids was voted Best Museum (period) in Seattle by readers of Seattle Weekly!
In an unassuming store front on the corner of Second Avenue and Jackson Street in Pioneer Square is the story of how Seattle became a city. Klondike Gold Rush National Park is one of the smallest parks in the National Park system, and partners with locations In Alaska to tell the story of the thousands of men and some women who came through this area dreaming of striking it rich!
While the gold itself was no where near Seattle, nearly ALL of the prospective miners came though our city, and outfitted themselves with the required "2 tons" of equipment here. Seattle, directly after the discovery of gold in the Yukon, doubled in size and popuation in the following ten years. Many people don’t know John Nordstrom, yes THAT Nordstrom, opened his first store here in Seattle with money he made in the Klondike gold fields.
Two floors in a historic Pioneer Square building illustrate this event in a fun and interactive way for kids and adults alike. Artifacts, videos, personal accounts and hands on displays will transport visitors to 1897 when gold was found in the Yukon of Canada and the Klondike Gold Rush was on. A favorite of any kids I have taken is the log cabin located on the lower level of the museum. Another favorite of mine; ask at the visitor’s desk about the Junior Ranger program, a free program the Park Service does for kids 12 and under. Kids will receive a scavenger hunt and when they complete it, a Junior Ranger badge as a suvenior of their visit.
During the summer, rangers conduct additional activities, including a walking tour of Pioneer Square and gold panning demonstrations.
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