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Explore & Color Lake Union's History by Bike!

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Lake Union, Seattle, WA, USA 3 HOURS

Overview

Global Family Travels invites you, in partner with Colorful Cities and the Center for Wooden Boats, to explore the history, communities and parks around Seattle's Lake Union.    A fun outing for kids and adults alike, we explore  Lake Union through the lens of Colorful Seattle Explore and Color and by Lime Bikes (or bring your own electric bike!).  We are also offering options to volunteer with Green Seattle Partnership,  to help maintain the City’s forested parklands Lake Union, as well as a Scavenger Hunt for families with younger kids.  (Please note, this outing is available for children 11 and older who are experienced bike riders) 

Our adventure starts at Seattle's Gas Works Park, where you you will meet your tour guide and begin finding some interesting treasures as you learn history along the way!    As part of this adventure, you have the option to enjoy a boat ride around Lake Union, and see the famous houseboats, boatyards, recreational boats and a beautiful view of the Space Needle. 

Click on the LEARN, SERVE & IMMERSE elements of this experience to see all the details and choose the date you are interested in participating!  If the dates listed don't work for you, please email us at info@globalfamilytravels.com or use this contact form to inquire about a custom date for your group.

This tour is one of our Seattle Community Tours & Team Building Experiences.  Learn more about Global Family Travels here.

COVID-19 Statement: This outdoor tour is operated with COVID-19 health and safety protocols in mind,  and as of November, 2020 we can only accommodate 12 people maximum, and no more than 4 separate groups to maintain social distancing requirements. For details, please refer to tour and Tasks tab for more information. 

 

COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS

With the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the health and safety of Global Family Travels’ travelers, community partners, colleagues and guides are of paramount importance to us. Our COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS document, found under the TASKS section, outlines our commitment to mitigate and manage the risks associated with COVID-19 when you travel with us.  Please also refer to the tasks which has specific details for your activity and destination. 

Thank you for helping to keep yourself and fellow travelers and guides safe!

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Global Family Travels

  

Global Family Travels’ vision is to unite humanity and inspire travelers to take responsibility for the challenges and opportunities facing our increasingly interconnected planet.  Our mission is to Learn, Serve and Immerse, using travel as a means to build cultural bridges and to foster global citizens. Using tourism to help solve community challenges, we organize sustainable travel opportunities in partnership with local and global non-profit organizations and support many United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

This tour is one of our Seattle Community Tours & Team Building Experiences. Through partnerships with many Seattle-area non-profit organizations that address community and environmental challenges, our one-day educational adventures in Seattle are designed to create meaningful connections that support Destination Stewardship, including the preservation of diverse and native cultures, conservation, education, and economic growth of Greater Seattle.  

Learn more about Global Family Travels here!

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Colorful Seattle - A Guide to Explore & Color

Location : Seattle, WA, USA

The artistic streets of Seattle are fun for all ages! Explorers young and older can reflect on what they see by coloring pages from your own personal copy of Colorful Seattle - Explore and Color, travel guide and coloring book which features famous landmarks and hidden gems of this vibrant, Pacific Northwest city.  Each of the book's 30 illustrations include an index with descriptions about the given destination. From statues to historical sites to animals, this book offers lots to see! 

As part of the cost of this Lake Union experience, you will receive a copy of Colorful Seattle,  which we use as as a guide to explore some of fun places around Lake Union and its surrounding communities. You can continue to use the book to discover other interesting places around the city or give it as a gift to friends and loved ones!

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About Colorful Cities

Colorful Cities creates and publishes travel guides and coloring books for vibrant cities around the world in the "Explore & Color" book series.  

Colorful Cities' educational & creative books inspire exploration of cities beyond the famous landmarks - whether out in the world or coloring from home. A navigable city map, location descriptions and whimsical illustrations make itinerary planning a snap. With printing on one side (to reduce nasty marker bleed) and perforation at the top, black and white illustrations easily become colorful artwork. 

Virtuoso Travel says it best, "Part travel guide, part coloring book = total fun!" 

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Center for Wooden Boats

The  Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) was founded in 1976, and is a living museum where maritime history comes alive through direct experience and small craft heritage is enjoyed and preserved. off and offers lake access to anyone and everyone.  Using traditional hand-carving tools and techniques to restore and build wooden boats, the CWB uses similar tools that the Duwamish Tribe used. 

 During our visit to CWB, you will tour the Dick Wagner museum and learn firsthand about some of the maritime history, as well as what this land meant to the Duwamish.   As part of this tour, you have the option to enjoy a boat ride around Lake Union, and see the famous houseboats, boatyards, recreational boats and a beautiful view of the Space Needle. 

If you chose to opt out of the boat ride, there are lots of other things you can do at the CWB! They have a multitude of activities open to the public, and you can choose to rent a sailboat, boat, rowboat, canoe or double kayak instead of the boat ride around the lake! 

For more information about the Center for Wooden Boats, you can check out their website

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Optional

Green Seattle Partnership

Price : Free Volunteer Experience
Location : Seattle, WA, USA

Green Seattle Partnership focuses on restoring and maintain Seattle’s forested parklands through volunteering. In collaboration with the City of Seattle, Forterra, community groups and non-profits, businesses, and schools, GSP offers an easy way to volunteer and give back to the environment.  

GSP is a part of Forterra, a non-profit organization that focuses on enhancing, supporting and stewarding the regions communities and ecosystems. Forterra is spread all throughout Washington, and Green Seattle Partnership is based in Seattle. GSP was started in 2004 as a response to the declining forested parks in the city. With the help of volunteers, they have been able to restore our parklands, but there is still a long way to go! 

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About Ben Morgan, Your Tour Guide

I have spent the majority of my life in the Greater Seattle Area. I find it fascinating how much the city has changed in my lifetime and I am equally fascinated how the city has changed so drastically in its lifetime. I have lived in Seattle for the last five years and have been guiding since 2019, starting with a historical walk of Blake Island State Park. I am currently a Master’s in Sustainable Tourism student at Arizona State to further my education in the field. When I have free time, I am playing soccer, hiking, and exploring Seattle.

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About Jonathan Tune, Your Tour Guide

Jonathan Tune is an above average illustrator and a below average sailor living and working among the docks of Seattle. The stops on this tour are some of his favorite spots to sketch in Seattle, so look forward to it! More information is available on his website at www.jonathantune.com.

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About Lime Bikes

We are excited to be partner with LimeBike, who will provide the bikes for this tour for adults and kids 11 and older. (We will help you rent bikes for kids under 12).  Bikes will be delivered to Gasworks park and you will need to have the LimeBike app in order to use the bikes.  We will send you instructions on this before a week before the tour.  

LimeBike started with the vision of making urban areas healthier and more livable, and they have been a huge success! These bikes are open to the public and anyone can use them. When first arriving to Gas Works Park, there will be a LimeBike waiting for you, and once finished, you can just leave it on the street! 

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Optional

Lake Union Color & Explore Scavenger Hunt Map

Price : Free

This enlarged section of the Colorful Seattle Map shows some of the exciting places around Lake Union, while enjoying a scavenger hunt!  These include: 

If you have more time after our adventure to explore more of the area, we highly suggest these options: 

Fun for the whole family while learning about the history of Lake Union and the Duwamish Tribe. 

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Overview of Tour

These times may vary depending on which activities are chosen, such as whether you decide to volunteer with Green Seattle Partnership and do the Boat ride afterwards, as well as the ages of the bikers in your group! 

9:30 am:  You will meet your guide at Gas Works Park at the North end of Lake Union.  You can park your car in the lot,  or on the street across from the Park.  We will explore, talk about the history of the park, and look for answers to a few of the scavenger hunt items.  Note: if you volunteer with Green Seattle Partnership, we will most meet at 9 am and do community service for first hour, then start the tour.  

10 am: Bike to Fremont and park bikes (your guide will have a lock for the Lime Bikes). We then walk over to the Troll and over to “Waiting for the Interurban” sculpture and find more answers to our scavenger hunt!  We depart for a short bike 2.4-mile bike ride to the Center for Wooden Boats the south end of Lake Union.  

11:15 am: Arrival time by bike at the Center for Wooden Boats, where we will leave our Lime Bikes: See the hand-carved canoes, tools used for boat carving, workspace, and museum! 

After our tour around the CWB,  you have a variety of options to choose from, including:

  • Continue learning about Lake Union's history and see the house boats and other lake sights by enjoy an optional boat ride on one the Center for Wooden Boat's chartered boats  around Lake Union  (see options and added cost of this)
  • Rent one of the CWB boats , kayaks or take a sailing lesson!  
  • Grab a bite to eat or head back to Gas Works Park, where we started

Here are some local restaurants we recommend:

North end of the Lake, near where you parked: 

South end of the Lake:

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LEARN

At Global Family Travels, we believe the most powerful way to learn is through hands-on community-based travel experiences. We let the destination and its people be your teachers, and supplement experiences with reading lists, informal discussions, and a pre-trip orientation to better equip participants with the practical information needed to understand the culture, history, and community challenges of our host destination.   

This community-based experience around Lake Union provides participants with the opportunity to learn about the history of Lake Union while having fun and contributing to improving the parks around the lake.  Learning themes unique to our Lake Union Scavenger Hunt  includes:

  • The history of Seattle’s Lake Union and its people, from the Duwamish Tribe to early settlers, and modern day happenings. 
  • How Labor and Industry shaped Lake Union, including how the demand for natural resources, namely timber and coal, brought changes to the shores of this important lake. 
  • Boating History: From native American canoes to elaborate yachts, thousands of boats have come to life on Lake Union over the centuries.  Today the lake is home to several ship repair yards and one of the world’s leading centers for traditional boat building, which you will learn about first-hand at the Center for Wooden Boats.  
  • Gasworks Park History: This park’s gritty industrial past mirrors the history of Lake Union and how one man fought the odds to turn it into one of the most unusual parks in the world. 
  • If you choose to volunteer, learn from Green Seattle Partnership about the challenges our city’s forested parklands face, or what monumental effort is going on to restore them
  • Lake Union’s House Boats: Where European settlers used lived when working on the shore to quaint houses where Seattleites reside, these house boats have huge historical significance to the lake.
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SERVE

Volunteering with Green Seattle Partnership at one of the parks around the lake is a great way to give back to your community, get outside, and improve the health of a local park around this beautiful lake! 

Siebel Sailors - The Center for Wooden Boats is home to the Seattle Chapter Siebel Sailors Youth Program, which  helps complete CWB's sailing programs by focusing on getting youth between the ages of 11 and 14 on the water and at the helm. The Siebel Sailors Program goal is to increase opportunity by promoting diversity in sailing.

CWB Youth Programs: There is also a multitude of youth programs offered by the CWB which you can get involved in! The CWB offers programs such as toy boat building and field trips, boatbuilding and sailing, development and service learning, woodworking 101, intro to racing, the science of sailing and much more! To help out, you can look into volunteering here.

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IMMERSE

Immerse on Seattle’s colorful Lake Union as you spend a day discovering the history of the lake and in its surrounding communities. Like a true Seattleite, you will enjoy recreational activities, such as biking and boating, while supporting the environment and local businesses. 

Photo credit: Sam Westover, Sanderling Photography 

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Stop 1: About Gas Works Park

On the shores of Lake Union opposite downtown Seattle, Gas Works Park was built on the location of a former coal gasification plant. The 19-acre site was acquired by the City for parkland in 1965. Opened to the public ten years later, the park, with its Great Earth Mound summit (constructed from on-site excavated material), was designed for passive uses such as strolling or flying a kite, and community gatherings at various scales. The site offers unrivaled panoramic views of the lake and downtown skyline. 
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Stop 2: Fremont Troll

Fremont has long been known for its iconic Troll. This silver-eyed concrete sculpture clutches a Volkswagen Beetle while huddled beneath the Aurora Avenue Bridge. Locals and tourists alike flock to the Fremont Troll for photo-ops and festive occasions Learn more about the history of the troll here.  
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Stop 3: Waiting for the Interurban

Waiting for the Interurban is a sculpture in the Fremont neighborhood, and represents customers waiting on the interurban that connects Seattle with all of its neighborhoods and transportation. Often time found creatively decorated, it is a fun sculpture to check out and add your own artists elements to it! 

Note, this is Location # 10 in Colorful Seattle, and our scavenger hunt winners will be asked to color an Interurban image from Colorful Seattle which we will hang on the sculpture in their honor!

 

Known for bringing people together and a staple in the neighborhood, here is a chance to show some of your artistic skill, so feel free to color this page from Colorful Seattle and we will decorate the sculpture with them!

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Stop 4: Center for Wooden Boats

Our last stop 

Our last stop of our adventure, but one that is filled with the most history,  is a visit to the Center for Wooden Boats (CWB), where you will experience maritime heritage like never before. From CWB's living fleet in the water, to the dynamic gallery and boat shop happenings, this is sure to be a highlight of our adventure! Details of this visit is as follows:

  • After parking your Lime Bike or locking up your personal bike in the parking lots in front of Center for Wooden Boats, we will begin our visit at CWB's new Wagner Education Center and learn firsthand about some of Seattle's maritime history, and admire the historic small craft of the Pacific Northwest on display here.
  • We then proceed to the docks of CWB, where you will see CWB's beautiful fleet of boats, which includes classic wooden sail and row boats, and visit the boat shop, where you will see the work on both old and new boats which are being added to CWB's collection. 
  • At the end of your tour with us, you have the option to enjoy a boat ride around Lake Union, and see the famous houseboats, boatyards, recreational boats and enjoy the beautiful view of the Space Needle. (Space is limited to 6 people per boat - Be sure to select this in your check out!)  
  • If you chose to opt out of the boat ride, there are lots of other things you can do at the CWB! They have a multitude of activities open to the public, and you can choose to rent a sailboat, boat, rowboat, canoe or double kayak instead of the boat ride around the lake! Visit CWB's boat rental page for more information about boat rentals.
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Optional

Boat Ride Around Lake Union

Price : $250 for each boat which accommodates 6 people!

Cruise in classic elegance in one of historical vessel of your choice on this optional boat ride at the end of your adventure.

Bring your own food and beverage and enjoy the rest of your day on the water! During this hour and a half cruise our captains will provide you with a tour of historic Lake Union featuring a gorgeous view of the Seattle skyline, Gasworks Park, Lake Union Drydock Company, and the iconic floating homes. 

As part of taking out tour, we are happy to offer you the membership rate for the Center for Wooden Boats Charter Cruises. 

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Colorful Seattle Map

Location : Seattle, WA, USA

In addition to the Lake Union sites, Colorful Seattle has many other amazing places and hidden gems to find within the city! Included in the cost, Colorful Seattle can be your guide around all of Seattle! If you would like to continue exploring Seattle after the tour, we recommend visiting some of these places: 

  • The Woodland Park Zoo 
  • MoPop (Museum of Pop Culture) 
  • University District Farmers Market 
  • Hing Hay Park 
  • Kubota Garden 

Fun for the whole family while learning about the diverse city of Seattle! 

 

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Optional

About Dora - A Historic Boat Tour on Lake Union

Price : $300 for group of 6 / or $55 per person

Join us on one of the Center for Wooden Boats most beloved vessels, electric powered fantail launch Dora.   You can rent directly from the Center for Wooden Boats, but we are happy to offer you a small  discount for the boat rental. 

This 26’ vessel features a raised canopy to provide protection from the elements, but 360 degree unobstructed views. Dora’s spacious layout can comfortably accommodate six passengers for a lovely afternoon or evening picnic on the lake. Dora was built as a collaborative community project, built by the students at the Wood Technology Center at Seattle Central Community College. Wood and other materials were donated by various CWB community members. She was designed by Oregon Naval Architect Pat Spurlock after late 19th century pleasure launches.

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About House Boats on Lake Union

Houseboats became popular in the early 1900s during the Gold Rush, for families who wanted relaxing getaways. Today, the houseboats of Lake Union are among Seattle’s most desirable homes and treasured landmarks.   Learn more the history Houseboats here: History of Seattle Floating Homes
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Optional

About MS WOLF - A Historic Boat Tour on Lake Union

Price : $300 for group of 6 / or $50 per person

Join us on our historic fishing vessel the MS Wolf, on of the Center for Wooden Boats Charter Cruises. As part of taking out tour, we are happy to offer you a small discount for the boat rental. 

This 28’ work boat features a spacious forward layout can comfortably accommodate six passengers for a lovely afternoon or evening picnic on the lake. You and your party will be safely socially distant apart from the captain.

ABOUT THE BOAT

The MS Wolf was built in 1932 by the Blix Brothers on Puget Island, Washington. She is one of the last surviving Columbia River Bowpickers which were salmon gillnetting vessels.  The vessel is 28’ long with a 3.5’ draft and 8’ beam. She’s built of Alaskan Yellow Cedar over bent Oak frames with Mahogany transom and stem. She sports a Perkins 4 cylinder 108, 80 horsepower diesel engine with a hull speed of 8 knots.

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Scavenger Hunt

Using hints that your tour guide will give you, see if you can answer our 10 scavenger hunt questions at each of the stops on this Lake Union History & Scavenger Hunt!

 

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Location
Lake Union, Seattle, WA, USA
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