U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree makes special appearance in Lake Union Park on Nov. 7

For more than 50 years, a tree has graced the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season. The Chugach National Forest, in partnership with nonprofit Choose Outdoors, will bring this special tree from Alaska to Washington, D.C. for the 2015 season, involving more than 10 communities along the way, including an appearance at Seattle’s Lake Union Park near the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. – noon.

The tree will be cut on Oct. 27 near Seward, Alaska and prepared for the 4,000-mile expedition. With great fanfare, the tree will leave the Chugach National Forest followed by a caravan of caretakers for the journey to the U.S. Capitol. Fifteen community celebrations are being planned throughout the tour, culminating with the official tree lighting in early December.

Kenworth Trucks and Lynden Transport are two area-based sponsors supporting the 2015 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree initiative. A special decaled Kenworth T680 will transport this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree across the country driven by celebrated Lynden driver, John Schank. A 1924 Kenworth truck built at the company’s first assembly plant in Seattle is on special loan from PACCAR is on display at MOHAI.

Nov. 7 festivities will include the 2015 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree on display, the debut of the Kenworth T680 and Christmas-themed truck wrap, Lynden Transport’s Old. No 27 rolling exhibition, representatives from the U.S. Forest Service and Choose Outdoors, Smokey Bear and Sasha Salmon, and special performance by Alaska band, Blackwater Railroad. Activities are open to the public and free for all. Attendees are encouraged to visit MOHAI following the event.

For more information on the tree tour and to track the tree cross-country, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com. MOHAI is located at Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Ave N.

Imagination Foundation presents ‘2015 Cardboard Challenge’ at Bell Street Park

Kids participate in a ‘Cardboard Challenge’

When you’re little, a refrigerator box isn’t just packing material; it’s a castle, cave or new car. From noon-9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, the Imagination Foundation is sponsoring the 2015 Cardboard Challenge featuring the movie “Boxtrolls” at Bell Street Park. Children are invited to create cardboard creations and take part in other activities from noon-6 p.m. The outdoor movie starts at 6:30 p.m.

Seattle’s Cardboard Challenge is about encouraging the people of all ages to come together and foster creativity in children. Children are encouraged to build things from their imagination, to be doers, to explore interests and passions, to learn how to be resourceful and persevere and to see every day recyclable objects in new ways. 

“My hope is that this event inspires children and their parents to continue exploring interests and ideas throughout the year through child-led creative play,” event organizer Page Olson said.

In the case of inclement weather all activities will take place in the Belltown Community Center next to the park.

For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/GlobalCardboardChallengeSeattle.

Your Fall Bucket List

Cheers with us
Raise a glass to conservation and animals! Join Woodland Park Zoo for the fifth annual Brew and the Zoo beer-tasting event on Thursday, Oct. 1. Sample imports, domestics, microbrews and ciders from more than 40 different breweries. The event includes tastings, live animal encounters, music and access to some award-winning exhibits. Tickets range from $30-70. For more information, go here. (This event is for the 21+ crowd only.)

Maple Viewing at the Seattle Japanese Garden

Marvel with us
In October the Seattle Japanese Garden is ablaze with fall color. Visit on Sunday, Oct. 11, during the official Maple Viewing Festival, or take a tour any time this fall to feast your eyes on reds, oranges and golds. The Maple Viewing Festival includes traditional musical performances and other activities and runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Send us your best fall-esque photos on Twitter and we’ll throw you a retweet. For more information, including garden hours and location, go here.

Cook with us
When the rain sets in and it starts getting dark at 5 p.m., sometimes you want nothing more than to go home and dive into some comfort food. The thing is, if you want to fill your belly, you have to know how to cook first. Belltown Community Center is hosting a series of cooking classes from now until Dec. 16. All classes are one-time, hands on workshops and are designed for all cooking levels. The classes each feature a different type of food or cuisine. Became an expert on cheesecake and swirls or learn how to make your own stuffed pasta. You know what they say, rain ain’t no thing when you’ve got a bowl full of ravioli. Well, we say it. Find your perfect class here.

Dance with us
Have you ever started instinctively doing side-to-side zombie arms when Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” comes on the radio? It happens to the best of us. Every year groups of people dubbed the “Thrillers” perform the famous choreography on the same day, at the same time across the world. This charitable event is called “Thrill the World.” This year, Seattle is scheduled to join in the fun at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, at Occidental Park. Head out to the park and watch it all unfold. For more information, or to participate, go here.

Kubota Garden

Tour with us
Kobuta Garden is another specialty park that boasts beautiful colors in the fall. Best of all? Kubota Garden Foundation docents offer free tours of the park every month! Go to garden on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. to take in the season and learn about the garden’s unique landscaping. For more information, go here.

Discovery Park

Explore with us
Explore Discovery Park after dark. From 8:30-10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, a Discovery Park beach naturalist will lead a flashlight beach walk to examine tidepools and other marine life. Bring your family and friends for a unique city experience. Wear shoes that can get wet, dress in layers and bring your own flashlight if you have one. Cost is $5 per person. Register online here.

Fall festival

Fall with us
What are you doing for Halloween? What are you doing to celebrate fall colors and traditions? Not sure yet? Don’t worry. We made plans for you – like, 30 of them. All throughout October, our community centers, parks and pools are hosting haunted events, spooky swims and family friendly fall festivals. Dress up in costume, carve a pumpkin, bob for apples and get scared silly. All events are free or low-cost. Find an event in your neighborhood here.

Salmon in Piper’s Creek

Learn with us
Being able to watch a salmon run is an incredible benefit of living in the Pacific Northwest. November and early December is the time to experience Pacific salmon in an urban stream. Coho and chum salmon run in Piper’s Creek in during this time. Drop-in stations with trained guides are set up from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7 – Dec. 6, to facilitate observations of the salmon and to give out tips on how to help perpetuate these runs. No need to sign up. Just come to the lower meadow at Carkeek Park and look for the salmon stewards in the blue vests.

Run with us
Earn that bird! Thanksgiving is usually reserved for food, football, family and counting blessings. This year, we’ve got one more item to add to the agenda. Head over to Magnuson Park on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, Nov. 26, for the Turkey Trot, a 5 or 10k fun run. Feel free to bring any extra food items and they will be donated them to food lifeline. To register, or for more information, go here.


Celebrate fall with Seattle Parks and Recreation

We’re doing the mash. The monster mash that is. Join in the fun? We have dozens of Halloween- and fall-themed events scattered throughout the city in October. Find a fun event in your neighborhood.

For specific event details, please call the associated community center or pool directly.


Scarecrow Mini Fest
What: Fall carnival, tractor rides, kids activities, scarecrow making
Location: Magnuson Park
Ages: All
Time: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Sept. 26
Cost: $15 to build a scarecrow

Harvest Festival
What: Fall festival with bouncy house and pony rides
Location: Meadowbrook Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 6-8 p.m., Oct. 2
Cost: $5 pony rides

Haunted Bounce House (in conjunction with Spook the Pool at Meadowbrook Pool)
What: Haunted bounce house
Location: Meadowbrook Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Oct. 23
Cost: $2

Freaky Fall Festival
What: Come in costume for tricks and treats
Location: Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 6-8 p.m., Oct. 23
Cost: $3/$12 per family of 5+


Fall Festival
What: Apple press, scarecrow building, games
Location: Ballard Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 11 a.m., Oct. 10
Cost: $5

Halloween Carnival
What: Carnival games, pumpkin decorating, cake walk, costumes
Location: Loyal Heights Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 6-9 p.m., Oct. 23
Cost: Game tickets $.50, unlimited bracelet $12

Big Pumpkin Bash
What: Carnival games, face painting, cake walk
Location: Bitter Lake Community Center Annex (13040 Greenwood Ave N)
Ages: All
Time: 6-8 p.m., Oct. 24
Cost: $.25 per carnival game ticket; cans of food suggested donation

Lil Spooky
What: Games, costumes and pumpkin decorating
Location: Magnolia Community Center
Ages: 4 and under
Time: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Oct. 29
Cost: $4

Pumpkin Carving Contest
What: Pumpkin carving contest
Location: Green Lake Community Center
Ages: 6-11
Time: 6-7 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: Free


Fall Carnival
What: Trick or treating and other activities
Location: Montlake Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: Free

Fall Carnival
What: Halloween games, face painting, snacks
Location: Yesler Community Center
Ages: 3-11
Time: 5:30-7 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: $1 per child

Campus Creepy Crawl (in conjunction with Spooky Swim at Medgar Evers Pool)
What: Haunted tunnel, games, prizes, pizza, costumes
Location: Garfield Community Center
Ages: 12 and under
Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m., Oct 30
Cost: $3/family


Toddler Halloween Fest
What: Costume contest, cookie decorating, pumpkin painting
Location: Rainier Community Center
Ages: Toddler
Time: 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Free

Fright Fest
What: Costume carnival and games
Location: International District/Chinatown Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 6-8 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: $1/child

Halloween Carnival
What: Carnival and open house
Location: Jefferson Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 6-7:30 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: Game tickets 5 for $1; haunted house tickets $2

Halloween Dance
What: Costume party
Location: Van Asselt Community Center
Ages: 12-19
Time: 6-9 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: free

Boo Bash at the Beach
What: trick or treating, music, games, crafts
Location: Meet at Rainier Beach Safeway (9262 Rainier Ave. S)
Ages: All
Time: 5-8 p.m., Oct. 31
Cost: Free


Halloween Carnival
What: Carnival
Location: Alki Community Center
Ages: 1-11
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Oct. 23
Cost: $.25 per game; $7 unlimited bracelet

Fall Festival
What: carnival, bouncy house
Location: High Point Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 6-7:45 p.m., Oct. 23
Cost: Free

Halloween Carnival
What: Haunted house (ages 8+), games, face painting, treats, prizes
Location: South Park Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 5-7 p.m., Oct. 23
Cost: $2 suggested donation for haunted house

Haunted House
What: Teen-created haunted house
Location: High Point Community Center
Ages: All
Time: 6-7:45 p.m., Oct. 23-24
Cost: $2 suggested donation – all proceeds support teen programming

Toddler Pumpkin Palooza
What: Toddler dress up station, bubbles, face painting, carnival games
Location: High Point Community Center
Ages: 1-5
Time:10 a.m.-noon, Oct. 29
Cost: $5

Glow in the Dark Party
What: glow-in-the-dark costumes, glow-in-the-dark games
Location: Delridge Community Center
Ages: 12 and under
Time: 6-7:30 p.m., Oct. 29
Cost: Free

Halloween Carnival
What: Carnival
Location: Hiawatha Community Center
Ages: 12 and under
Time: 6-8 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: $.25 per game ticket


Queen Anne Spook In and Spook Out
What: Themed public swim
Location: Queen Anne Pool
Ages: All
Time: 6:30-8 p.m., Oct. 23
Cost: Free

Madison Pumpkin Swim
What: Games, prizes, pumpkins
Location: Madison Pool
Ages: All
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Oct. 28
Cost: $2

Spook the Pool (in conjunction with Haunted Bounce at Meadowbrook Community Center)
What: Carnival games and prizes
Location: Meadowbrook Pool
Ages: All
Time: 7:30-8:30 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: Kids $3.75; adults $5.25

Spooky Swamp Swim (in conjunction with Campus Creepy Crawl at Garfield Community Center)
What: Themed public swim
Location: Medgar Evers Pool
Ages: All
Time: 6:30-8 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: Free

Pumpkin Swim Friday
What: Swim in a pool full of pumpkins, games, snacks, prizes
Location: Evans Pool
Ages: All
Time: 7-8 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: Free

Halloween Swim
What: Swim in a pool full of pumpkins, games, snacks, prizes
Location: Rainier Beach Pool
Ages: All
Time: 7-8 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: Free

Pumpkin Swim
What: Swim in a pool full of pumpkins, games, snacks, prizes
Location: Southwest Pool
Ages: All
Time: 7-8 p.m., Oct. 30
Cost: Free

Pumpkin Swim
What: Swim in a pool full of pumpkins, games, snacks, prizes
Location: Ballard Pool
Ages: All
Time: 7:30-8:30 p.m., Nov. 3
Cost: Free



Seniors admitted free to Seattle Japanese Garden on Respect for Elders Day

Seattle Japanese Garden will offer free admission to seniors on Sept. 14, 2015.

The Seattle Japanese Garden will celebrate Respect for Elders Day on Monday, Sept.14, 2015. In honor of this Japanese holiday, seniors age 65 and older will receive free admission to the garden from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Complementary guided tours will be available starting at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. on that day. All visitors are welcome to stop by the Tateuchi Community Room to enjoy complementary iced tea, as well as an art exhibit of beautiful line drawings depicting scenes from the Japanese Garden by artist Vincent Samudovsky.

The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E. For driving directions and detailed information about the garden, please visit www.seattlejapanesegarden.org.