This is the second part in a series of posts that I will be publishing in the coming months about my secret “socially distanced outings” that I have been taking our kids on recently (click here to read my first post in this series). Yes, we continue to visit places like Carkeek Park and some unique places for bike/scooter riding (more on these later) but with the reopening of local playgrounds and parks, the husband and I have begun to grow a bit uncomfortable with the number of people milling around places like Discovery Park, Seward Park, etc. As many of us have learned, it is very hard to stay six feet away from others on trails, beaches and open areas.

Nearly every routine our family had has been thrown off by the COVID-19 pandemic. One silver lining is that we have been challenged to get off our beaten path to find new activities to do and places to go when we are getting “cabin” fever. A few months back I shared my favorite summertime outing that was great for social distancing.

Today, I want to share a fantastic outing in South Seattle: the Kubota Garden.

We went to the Kubota Garden on a cool, gray day recently. I hadn’t been there for nearly 18 years, and it was always a place I had meant to take the kids, and today was the day. We loaded everyone up and headed out for a new adventure – everyone was excited but confused about what kind of “garden” we were going to!

When you are getting close to the Kubota Garden and driving through a residential area, you may be wondering where exactly the 20 acre oasis may be hiding! When we went, the parking lot was closed, but it may be reopened now.

If closed or the lot is full, there is room to park along the street on 55th Avenue South next to the park entrance.

kubota garden

Even the landscaping around the parking lot is exquisite. My kids couldn’t wait to pass through the main gate!

kubota garden

There are fantastic rocks for climbing and trees to hide in. My kids were definitely able to get some energy out running around along the trails and exploring. The park boasts nine ponds, two red bridges, and 140 maple tree varieties (we went in the summer, but are planning another trip soon to check out the fall colors).

kubota garden foundation

My kids were fascinated by the Koi ponds and the colorful fish inside. (As I was looking at all of the pictures I took after our trip, I realized it is a fantastic location for a color scavenger hunt – an activity for our next trip there!) The colors are a good respite from even the grayest day, so I’m keeping the Kubota Garden on my short list for rainy day outings as well.

kubota japanese garden

The red bridges are delightful and add to the overall charm of the park. There is something about bridges that my children find intriguing, and I can’t tell you how many trips they took back and forth over the various bridges located in the park.

kubota garden cost

The park is a great place for spotting animals. The ponds were full of ducks and turtles, and we saw several varieties of birds and an occasional squirrel as well.

kubota garden price

If you go:

There is no cost to visit but consider a donation to the Kubota Garden Foundation!

You can easily spend several hours at the Kubota Garden, so make sure to bring snacks.

Due to COVID-19, the picnic tables have been temporarily removed but having picnics in the park is still allowed.

There is a restriction on group size of five people maximum, and social distancing practices are required. When we visited, we only saw a few other people which made it very easy to stay distanced.

Currently the park has several port-a-potties available for use, and there is a restroom construction project underway that should be completed in the spring of 2021.

There are some hard-packed gravel pathways that are stroller/wagon friendly.

Check out this self-guided tour map to plan your route:

You can see a virtual tour and get a sneak peek at the gorgeous fall colors by clicking here.

I know there are a lot of people who are nervous about what the fall and winter weather will mean for socially distanced visits with friends and loved ones, keeping the kids active and busy, and let’s face it, just plain staying sane! My strategy this year is to invest in great outdoor gear for my family so that we can embrace the change in weather and continue getting outdoors in the cold and rain. I read an article recently about the Norwegian concept of “friluftsliv”, a term that translates to “open air living” that I found inspiring.

The Kubota garden is a fantastic place for getting outdoors no matter the season. We will be splashing around in the puddles there soon!


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