Celebrate Urban Nature

Help celebrate spring by exploring and experiencing Celebrate Urban Nature at the Magnuson Community Center.  This annual spring event, co-sponsored by the Magnuson Community Center and by Earthcorps, features family-friendly presentations, interactive booths and displays, art and nature activities, Nature Explorers Lab, and more:  a fun-filled day, with admission $10 per family.

Date & Time: Saturday,April 12th from 10 AM to 1:30 PM

Location: Magnuson Community Center gym and auditorium

7110 62nd Ave NE, Seattle WA 98115
Fee: $10 per family/$3 per person


  • 10:30 am Caspar Babypants sings nature songs in the Auditorium
  • 11:30 am Reptile Show with Isaac Petersen, son of the reptileman
  • 12:30 pm Raptor Presentation by Sarvey Wildlife Care Center
  • 10:30am-1:30pm in the gym: The “Nature Explorers Science Lab” will be chock-full off hands-on adventures including wildlife tracks, pond water from the Magnuson Wetlands, birds and their nests, Magnuson’s fabulous dragonflies,  how ants build their homes, where ladybugs go in the winter, and more!

Along with:

  • Animal Encounter’s Spring Petting Farm of Bunnies and Chicks, and their Exotic Live Bug Zoo,
  • Don Ehlen’s Insect Safari
  • PCC Natural Markets Kid Picks Mobile
  • Just Frogs & Friends Amphibian Center
  • Interactive booths from EarthCorps, NOAA, Seattle Audubon, Bats Northwest, MESA, Magnuson P-Patch & Children’s Garden, Washington Native Plant Society, & more.
  • Test your “nature knowledge” and win prizes at our vast array of nature carnival games!
  • Go on a “nature scavenger hunt” and play “wheelbarrow guess” for prizes in Magnuson Community Center’s Bird-friendly Landscape and Resource Conservation Landscape!

The Future of Parks

There will be a public hearing on Monday, April 7 at 6 PM in the City Council Chambers, 600 4th Avenue, on the subject of parks funding.

The parks funding proposal now before the Select Committee on Parks Funding was developed by a fifteen-member citizens committee.  Their recommendations were supported by Mayor Murray and with only a few minor changes he sent it to the City Council for their consideration. The Council now needs to decide the final package and pass an Ordinance placing it on the August 2014 ballot for a public vote. Here is a link to the full recommendation.

The purpose of the funding proposal is to provide $54 million in annual funding to address a $270 million major parks maintenance backlog; keep community centers open longer to provide more programs for kids and seniors; improve ballfields and playgrounds; fix crumbling infrastructure at the Zoo and Aquarium.

Only the muddy footprint of a demolished building is not parked-on at the corner of NE 86th Street in the Wedgwood business district. Across the street is the Jasper Apartment Building.

In the past, the Parks Department has been reliant upon levies to make up for huge cuts in their budgets.  At issue is whether the proposed creation of a Metropolitan Parks District with taxing authority, is or is not a better solution.

Those who are familiar with the long-running saga of the now-vacant corner of NE 86th Street in Wedgwood, will recall that the site has been acquired by the Seattle Parks Department BUT there is no money for development.  All sites are on hold while the issues of funding for development and future maintenance of parks is decided via the proposal to be on the ballot in August 2014.

You can send an email to City Council Members to let them know if you do or do not favor the proposal to create a Metropolitan Parks District.  Here are their email addresses:


Spring Programs at the Parks Department

Brochures are available now for Spring 2014 programs at Seattle Parks Department Community Centers.  Browse the listings of classes and activities for children and adults, exercise programs, swimming lessons and much more.  There is a brochure for summer camps, as well and registration began on February 4.

Registration for Spring programs at the community centers begins on Tuesday, March 11th.

BINGO for BOOKS at Meadowbrook Community Center

Meadowbrook Community Center
Saturday, March 15, 3-5PM
Suggested Donation: $5

Come play family-friendly BINGO for an afternoon and raise money for schools in Uganda! Prizes include: gift cards, toys, candy, stuffed animals, books, and more. The event is being organized by Ellie Scruggs, a Nathan Hale student as a senior project, and all donations will support the non-profit organization, Teach the Children: an organization dedicated to promoting literacy in Uganda.

If you have any questions, email » Ellie.

Summer Camp Info Fair at Magnuson Park

Are you searching for a summer camp for your child but you’re not sure where to start?  Come to the summer camp fair at Magnuson Park!  From 5 to 8 PM on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, Seattle Parks and Recreation will host a camp fair located in the Matthews Beach Room of The Brig at Magnuson Park (6344 NE 74th Street).   Bring the entire family and discover the broad range of activities planned for this summer.  You’ll find camps for preschoolers to teens with themes ranging from team sports, theatre, science/engineering, reading, nature, outdoor skills, fishing and environmental restoration.  You’ll have opportunities to talk with camp directors and ask questions about the summer programs.  Many camps fill up quickly, so this is an opportunity to get a head start.

This year the confirmed camps are:  Magnuson Nature Programs, YMCA Summer Camps, Outdoors for All, Magnuson Community Center, Seattle Audubon Nature Camp, Skyhawks, Sail Sand Point and Cascade Bicycle Club.

Development Open House at Magnuson Park

Everyone is invited to a Development Open House on Tuesday, January 21 from 5 to 7 PM at the Officer’s Club, Building 30, in Magnuson Park, hosted by the Magnuson Park Advisory Committee.  Get an overview of Magnuson Park’s Historic District and all the new developments.  You will be able to meet tenants of the park buildings and see drawings, plans and information on projects.

Some of the buildings under renovation are:

Building 18: The old firehouse is about to undergo structural stabilization so that a public or private partner can use the building.

Building 406 (The Brig): Learn about some improvements being made for better accessibility.

Building 11: This building now holds Seattle Waldorf High School with a capacity of 100 students.  The students at this environmentally-oriented school will use all of Magnuson Park as a campus of exploration and learning.  Also in Building 11, Cascade Bicycle Club will have a new Cycling Center; at the Open House on Tuesday you can see plans and vision for the space.

It’s Official! Wedgwood Has a New Park!

Yesterday, the 3-year saga of Wedgwood’s newest park reached a significant milestone.  By a vote of 9-0, the Seattle City Council approved Council Bill 117982 to authorize the transfer of jurisdiction of the former Morningside Substation from the Seattle City Light to the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department.  As Councilmember Bagshaw, chair of the Parks and Neighborhoods Committee states in her description of the council bill, the land would be under parks ownership although would remain vacant until development funds are available.

MANY THANKS to Chip Nevins and Don Harris at the Parks Department for working so hard and so long on this transaction.  Thanks also to Mayor McGinn and Councilmember Sally Bagshaw for moving this legislation forward and for being an advocate for Wedgwood parks.

The former Morningside Substation is located at the NW corner of 35th Ave NE and NE 86th Street.   You can relive the magic of yesterday’s council vote in the video below.

Music at Magnuson: Christmas Ship Festival

In December Argosy Cruises brings Christmas Ships around Seattle’s beaches to serenade those on shore.  On Friday evening, December 20, enjoy refreshments and listen to live music by the Emerald City Jazz Ensemble at the Magnuson Boat Launch, NE 65th Street entrance.

The festivities on the beach at Magnuson begin at 8 PM.  The ship will arrive at 8:50 PM with a twenty-minute concert by Dickens Carolers on board, using a sound system to project to the audience at Magnuson.  Everyone is invited to come out for this festive evening sponsored by the Magnuson and Laurelhurst Community Center Advisory Councils and the Seattle Parks Dept.

Rep. Gerry Pollet: Magnuson Park Radioactive Contamination Update

Rep. Gerry Pollet, Wedgwood’s 46th District representative in the state legislature, has continued to monitor the radioactive contamination cleanup at Magnuson Park and has published this update. As previously reported here, the radioactive contamination at Magnuson was the result of activities at the site when it was the Sand Point Naval Air Station.  The cleanup issues at Magnuson are a complicated interaction between the Navy, which is responsible for cleanup, and the standards of the State Department of Ecology.

The City of Seattle has approved a lease for two organizations to use Building 11 at Magnuson, a building which is undergoing renovation and for which there are unanswered questions as to safety due to soil contamination.  Rep. Pollet and representatives of Heart of America Northwest have met with Seattle Waldorf School and Cascade Bicycle Club about these issues and their use of Building 11.

Demolition Day

The little building at 8605 35th Ave NE was demolished on November 26. Seen in the background is the Jasper Apartment building.

The little building at 8605 35th Ave NE was demolished just before 8 AM on Tuesday, November 26.  This long-running story is explained in greater detail here.  The corner lot is owned by Seattle City Light.  It is to be purchased by Seattle Parks Department using previous levy funds.  However, there are many more steps to be accomplished before the site actually becomes a park.

The owner of the little building had a ground lease from City Light and since 1968 she had rented out the building to different businesses, including a real estate office, a counseling center and most recently to CC & Co. Hair Salon.  The owner of the building is not the same as the owner of the hair salon business.

The building owner was required to move the building if she wanted to keep it, but there were no takers for it.  Seattle City Light oversaw today’s demolition and a representative told me that the site will remain as-is, with asphalt and a tree at the corner.  On the back half of the site, work has already been completed to dig out contaminated soil.  No contamination was found on the front section, so no more clean-up work is necessary and that is why the asphalt will remain in place.

The Wedgwood Community Council continues to monitor the process and advocate for the site to become a neighborhood “pocket park.”  But we know that another Parks levy, tentatively to be on the ballot in 2014, will be necessary for funding for more sites like 8605 to be developed into a park.

Interior of 8605 35th Ave NE just before demolition.