Kubota Garden

Kubota Garden, 55th Avenue South, Seattle, WA, USA

happyly approved

A Place to Find Magic and Beauty (Even on Cold, Wet Days)!

A magical garden where your kids can exercise their imaginations and explore!


Kubota Garden is a 20 acre Seattle park and historic landmark mixing Japanese garden design with native PNW plants. It’s full of windy, twisty little trails that lead you through beautiful foliage to special places and charming scenery. Even on a muddy, grey, January day, it is a beautiful place to meander through. There is a mixture of elevation, a number of interesting and fun bridges, streams, ponds with koi fish and ducks, waterfalls, and rock outcroppings. Our four-year-old especially loved finding bridges to cross and pretending the sculptures he found had wish-granting powers.  


There is no entrance fee to Kubota Garden, but they accept donations. The small parking lot is also free and if it’s full, which it often is because this is a popular spot, there is free street parking along 55th Ave S and Renton Ave. S. Leashed dogs are allowed! Parts of the Garden are stroller and wheelchair friendly, but other parts—especially those magic little places kids want to explore—are not, so be prepared to ditch the stroller and come back to it if you bring one. If it’s been rainy, the paths can also be muddy, so wear your rainboots and dress the kids for puddle splashing. During COVID there are porta potties available (when we have been they have been stocked with hand sanitizer). It can be crowded so be prepared to pass people on the paths and wear your masks!


  • Water, water everywhere! It’s beautiful but if you have a fearless toddler, don’t let them get too far ahead of you because around many blind turns is water they can walk right into it (like mine did!) or bridges they can step off of into water.


  • Kubota Garden and UW put together a Family Exploration Kit available for $7 and appropriate for kids ages 4-11 and their cargiver(s). Each kit serves up to 4 kids and includes a story, treasure maps, self-guided walk, a game, and more. Link to purchase can be found on the Kubota Garden Foundation’s website: https://kubotagarden.org/index.html


  • The picnic tables are gone because of COVID, but there are plenty of benches throughout the park if you want to bring a snack to enjoy.
Jessica Ziparo
Seattle, WA
Jessica Ziparo is from Westhampton Beach, NY. She earned her BA from James Madison University in Virginia, where she majored in history. From there, she went to Harvard Law School, earning her JD. After working as an environmental attorney for three years, Jessica returned to the east coast to earn her PhD in history from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. She has taught history at Salem State University, expository writing at Harvard, and English literature at Pritzker College Prep, a charter high school in Chicago. She is the author of, This Grand Experiment: When Women Entered the Federal Workforce in Civil War-Era Washington, D.C. (2017). Jessica loves to travel and explore. She has lived in Australia twice, journeyed solo to Kenya and Tanzania to go on a safari, spent six weeks on her own trekking around Thailand, and has backpacked around Europe with friends three times. She found bungee jumping scarier than skydiving and now regrets running with the bulls. Nowadays, Jessica lives in Seattle with her husband, Labrador Lincoln, and two sons Zane (almost 5) and Niall (almost 2). During COVID times, Jessica has expanded her exploring throughout the city and beyond to keep the kids outside, active, and safe. She is excited to become a happyly ambassador and have greater purpose for roaming the PNW.
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