Friday, December 20th, 2013
Play by the Bay – Zuanich Park, Bellingham – All Year Long
Todd Elsworth

When I want to get out to play and see the splendor of Bellingham and all that surrounds it, I head to Zuanich Point Park. For your viewing pleasure, the Port of Bellingham put together a great Virtual Tour of Zuanich Point– check it out to get the 360-degree perspective. It is an amazing piece of public property that is very accessible and offers recreational opportunities for us all at any time of year.

There are so many different activities to do while you’re there. I think that it’s the best place in town to bring your kids- no matter what age. There’s a wide paved path that winds around the point, outlines the harbor and connects to the Hotel Bellwether and the surrounding property.

Below is a map to get a sense of its’ central location. Click on the map to find your way there. ZuanichPark

There’s all sorts of fun to be had- even skateboarding is allowed- as these young girls demonstrate on a late summer evening. The path is enjoyed by everybody and is wide enough to accommodate all types of users.¬† The common courtesy shown to one another as we cross paths goes a long way.

SkateboardZuanich

We like to bring the kids there to teach them how to ride bikes. There’s a small hill with a paved incline that the kids can ride up and down, getting used to battling gravity and learning how to use it to your advantage. This also leads to lessons in braking (and yes, an occasional fall). I have seen many a happy face riding around the paths at the park (mine included). We usually have a destination in mind when we head out.

RubyZuanich

That destination is usually the Marine Life Center for an immersion in the waters of Puget Sound- without getting too wet. “The Marine Life Center¬†is under the umbrella of the Northwest Discovery Project, a non-profit organization formed July 10, 1992. One of the organization’s main goals is marine awareness. At the Marine Life Center, over 70,000 visitors – mostly school children and parents – are introduced to our local marine flora and fauna in aquatic displays and a hands-on touch tank.”

They have octopuses. Yes, real live crawling creatures. If you have good timing you can watch them eat a crab for lunch!

We mainly love the touch pool. Here’s my crew getting their hands wet with one of the best volunteers the Center has- Hannah. The Center is by donation (so bring a couple bucks to put in the box).

TouchPool

Then, we head back to Zuanich Point and if we still have the energy- take on the playground. The setting is amazing. While the kids play on the structure you can enjoy views of Mt. Baker, the Twin Sisters, Western Washington University, The Chuckanuts, Fairhaven, Olympic Mountains, Lummi Island and the San Juans in the distance. Seriously, what else do you need?

ZuanichPlayground

If you’re not feeling maritime enough by walking around the marina and having your nostrils filled with sea air, check out the play structure itself. The kids love it- especially those who have seen the Titanic “I’m Flying” scene.

ZuanichPlaygroundclose

After a long day of play, this is one of the best spots to watch the sun dip down behind the backdrop of Lummi Peninsula with Orcas Island and the edge of the earth beyond. Benches and picnic tables provide the perfect perch to take it all in and reflect on a day well played.

ZuanichSunset

Even through a cloud filled sky, the Olympic Mountains are visible on the distant horizon. As the sun sets in the distance, take a walk by the Fisherman’s Memorial and pay respect to those who lost their lives out there. The sign on the memorial reads: Safe Return.

ZuanichSafeReturn

Each season has something unique happening at the park. Stop in and check it out for yourself- maybe we’ll even cross paths.

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About the Author:

As the co-Executive Director of Recreation Northwest and the founder of the Bellingham Traverse, Todd promotes outdoor recreation and brings people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. He enjoys biking, hiking, paddling, skiing and will try anything twice. Get connected at RecreationNorthwest.org.

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