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The Great Indoors: a Guide to “Fire Fog” Season

Summer blazes make for poor air quality. Here are some ideas for enjoying the great out- and indoors while the summer fire season is upon us.

Summer in Seattle NorthCountry has historically been a fleeting few weeks of glorious sunshine and suddenly-bare shoulders getting burnt.

More recently, it seems the sun has decided to spend a bit more time lounging around in cloudless skies. That means more warm days to get out and enjoy our plentiful lakes and beaches and mountain hikes.

Unfortunately, it also means drier forest conditions and bigger, badder fire seasons — and along with the fire comes the accompanying clouds of smoke.

Here’s the good news. Staying inside does not necessarily mean staying in your hotel room. PNW winters can be long and wet, so we’re no strangers to finding fun out of the elements. If you’re staying in Seattle NorthCountry for a weekend or longer, there is still plenty to explore and experience before you leave town.

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1. Family fun to wear out the kids

Younger kids will adore Imagine Children’s Museum (1502 Wall St, Everett, WA 98201), one of the best of its kind. And with plenty of STEM activities worked into the fun, you could almost call it summer school.

TRAXX indoor race course (4329 Chennault Beach Rd, Mukilteo, WA 98275) will earn bragging rights for days when the kids, now officially licensed race-car drivers, go back to school in the fall.

Arena Sports (13500 Bothell Everett Hwy, Mill Creek, WA 98012) has basically everything from bowling to ziplines, for both kids and adults to have a blast.

Speaking of bowling, there are some great alleys across Seattle NorthCountry. Many of them even participate with the national “Kids Bowl Free” program, like Glacier Lanes (9630 Evergreen Way, Everett, WA 98204). Get a pitcher of beer and put up the gutter rails for a couple hours of old-fashioned fun. Don’t forget quarters for the arcade.

The Skate Deck (9700 19th Ave SE, Everett, WA 98208) is another summer favorite for throwback fun. Rent a pair of skates and hokey-pokey with the best for under $10 a head.

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2. Learning excursions

Whether your interests trend toward art or aircraft, there are museums and galleries to tempt you throughout Seattle NorthCountry.

Obscure-history buffs may be tempted to create a tour of the hyper-local history museums found in many of the smaller cities east of I-5, including the Granite Falls Historical Museum (109 E Union St, Granite Falls, WA 98252).

Aerospace addicts are often drawn to Everett for the many, wonderful museums dedicated to the past and future of air travel. Admire vintage aircraft at the Historic Flight Museum(10719 Bernie Webber Dr, Mukilteo, WA 98275) or head to the Future of Flight (8415 Paine Field Blvd, Mukilteo, WA 98275) for a glimpse of where air travel is going. Call ahead to book a Boeing Factory Tour and explore the largest building in the world by volume.

3. Fire Safety

If rains drive away the smoke for a day or two and the air is breathable, you’ll want to take advantage with an expedition into the mountains to experience the spectacular views and alpine lakes we’re famous for. Just remember that fire is a real and present danger throughout the warm, dry months. Respect the posted signs; they’ll let you know if fire danger is too high to risk even for a controlled campfire. When campfires are allowed, only use approved fuel, never burn trash or debris, and ensure that a campfire is completely out before you leave it unattended.

Leave no trace, and leave a wilderness that future generations can enjoy.

Krista Quinby

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