The idea of “Summer Vacation” seems so dreamy before it starts, and then it can feel like an endless stream of days filled with children going bonkers in the house. That means it’s time to get out the door and head to five of Overlake employees favorite summertime activities in the Bellevue area.

All of the places and activities listed below and tried and true favorites and will help to keep the whole family sane (and away from screens!) during the summer months.

1. KidsQuest Children’s Museum

There is always something for everyone at KidsQuest, so it’s a year-round favorite. However, summertime means the museum’s Wild NW Weekends program, which is particularly interesting. Each weekend has a specific theme, which means your kids can take revel in the different “special visitors,” activities and arts/crafts that are on display and taking place in and around the museum.

Admission prices are reasonable, and the museum also offers special pricing through their Blue Star Museum and Museums for All programs.

2. Crossroads Water Spray Playground

Ideal for warmer days, the Crossroads Water Spray Playground is a way for kids to get wet, climb on their favorite sea-themed and rock sculptures and enjoy a picnic on the lawn. Planning a birthday party, BBQ, or family get-together? There are two, covered picnic areas available by reservation, which means no mess (or crowd) in the house. If they aren’t previously reserved, picnic shelters are open on a first-come-first-served basis – perfect for mid-week playdates, Moms Clubs and playgroups.

3. A Guided Canoe Trip at Mercer Slough

While some of us have made this the “thing ya’ do” with summertime guests, we couldn’t believe how many of our Bellevue native staff had never gone on a guided canoe trip at Mercer Slough Nature Park. The canoe trips take places (8:30 a.m. to noon-ish) on Saturdays, from May through September. Additional Sunday trips are offered during the peak months of July and August. Tours are available to those 5-years old on up and are a beautiful, hands-on (paddles-in) way to learn about the 320-acre, Mercer Slough wetlands – and to see stunning wildlife.

4. Meydenbauer Bay Park

This newly renovated park has been left off our previous Summertime Family Fun lists the past year or two because it was in the midst of a major renovation. Now, Meydenbauer’s facelift is (more or less) complete, and it’s impressive. Some of its many attractive features include a beach, a pedestrian pier, outdoor education areas, and a hillside woodland. REI also offers canoe and kayak rentals – and the park is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m daily.

Phase 1 of the project is complete, and future phases include Bellevue’s Grand Connection vision, which includes a pedestrian corridor that is planned to extend east through downtown Bellevue and eventually across Interstate 405 to the Eastside Rail Corridor. We’re all looking forward to when that phase is complete!

5. Funtastic Playtorium

It’s great to play outside, but sometimes indoor venues feel best – particularly if you’re in the later-stages of pregnancy and don’t feel like being up and on your feet as much. The same is true if older family members are visiting and their stamina isn’t up to children’s activity snuff.

In that case, take the family to the Funtastic Playtorium, which is every bit as great as its name implies. They have indoor playgrounds from children ages 1 – 10 years. It’s a great place to host a party or play date. If you sign-up for their special deals and offers you’ll receive discounts and coupons from time to time, which can come in handy on those three-day weekends during the school year.

The team here at Overlake OB/GYN wishes your family a sunshine- and joy-filled summer break.