Kids Trek at Northwest Trek – Nature Themed Playground Kids Will Love!

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Kids Trek at Northwest Trek - a review of this new nature themed playground

Kids Trek at Northwest Trek

Northwest Trek is a favorite destination among locals and tourists alike, especially with its close proximity to Mt Rainier National Park, Paradise Entrance. It’s about 45 minutes distance from Northwest Trek in Eatonville to the park entrance. But, from the amazing views of the mountain as you get close to Northwest Trek, you realize it’s so much closer as the crow flies. Even within Northwest Trek, you get beautiful glimpses of Mt Rainier peaking out above the hills. We have loved Northwest Trek for years & had a membership the last few years as it is a family favorite to visit to see all the wildlife up close & personal. The featured activity at Northwest Trek is the Tram Ride, which is a 50 minute long ride through the free roaming area to see native Northwest animals in their natural habitat. You get an up close view of bison, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, moose, & more! Plus, you’ll find more Northwest native animals on a walking tour around the park, such as grizzly & black bears, mountain lions, beavers, owls & many other animals.

They even have zip lining at NW Trek, if you are really looking to make a day of adventure out of it!

Kids Trek Playground Review:

Climbing Area at Kids Trek

Well, now Northwest Trek has gotten even better than it already is with the addition of the long-awaited Kids Trek playground for kids. Kids Trek is a $1.9 million, half acre playground that has been in the works for many years. It is a nature-based playground & adventure area for kids ages toddler to tweens.  There is no additional cost for Kids Trek – admission to the playground is included with your Northwest Trek paid admission.

We had the opportunity to check out Kids Trek with a couple friends so we could share with you a little about it,  in case you’re wondering what it’s all about & whether you should make a trip out there soon!  If you are debating it – let me tell you, this is a must-visit destination if you have kids!! I can honestly say that this is definitely the best playground I’ve found in the South Sound for kids (& maybe in Washington). It is huge – it covers half an acre, making it one of the largest playgrounds in Washington.  It is full of so many different activities that all ages will enjoy – from kids who love quiet activities of building forts & playing in the sand to those who love adventure & climbing ropes, swinging down poles & more. We were there for a short visit yesterday, but my girls honestly could have spent an hour or two there. They can’t wait to go back & are already talking about the areas they want to spend more time in.

Kids Trek 20 Foot Tall Tree Trunk

What I love is that Kids Trek is a very unique playground, very different from most playgrounds you will visit as they really tried to stay true to the nature of Northwest Trek park.   The design of the playground is to  teach kids all about nature and foster imaginative play, while having fun as they explore the different areas of the playground. All of the materials are very realistic-looking and they incorporated many native plants (even ones that were transplanted with the construction of the park & replanted), downed trees from the Free Roaming area of the park to create benches and tree stumps to jump on, large rocks from around the park & more. Along the paths, they have leaf imprints & animals tracks for kids to try to identify which animal the tracks belong to – so many little touches like that to foster learning & curiosity about nature as the kids play & explore.  This is truly an environmentally friendly play space that kids will love and learn more about wildlife & nature thru play.  It is also ADA-accessible so that children of all abilities can enjoy this playground.

What’s included in the Kids Trek Playground::

Here are just a few of the kids’ favorite places in the Kids Trek area. As a mom, I appreciate the fact that even though it’s a large play space, there is just one entrance into the Kids Trek – so there is only one way in & out. Most large playgrounds are not set up this way but I think this is a very important safety feature.

Kids Trek Toddler Area

Toddler Zone – There is a special area that toddlers & preschoolers will love (as you can see big kids love it too). It is an area with two log cabins & benches inside as well as balance beam and the popular tree stumps to jump on (which were a popular spot for kids to play before Kids Trek arrived). Not only does this area have wood chips, but underneath the wood chips there is an extra layer of padding to provide some cushion for the little ones if they fall.

Kids Trek Sand Area

This  sand play area with shovels & buckets will keep the little ones busy building and they can use the “weeping” rock for wet sand for better sand sculpting. This picture only shows a portion of the sand area – it is huge so plenty of room for lots of kids to enjoy this area!

Root Wad Cave & Tree Tunnel

Root Wad Cave & Hollowed Out Tree Tunnel  in “Construction Zone” – There is an actual root wad that they have reinforced with building supplies to make it long-lasting as well as a hollowed out tree for climbing through. But what makes it so unique is that it is a “building” area where kids can gather long sticks from a wood bin and create special caves, forts, etc. I’d say this is definitely going to be an area that older kids will love and want to spend a lot of time in (reminds me of building forts at the beach with driftwood), but you’ll want to keep an eye on little ones who could come in contact with these busy builders & the long sticks as they are moving them from place to place.

Net Tunnel at Kids Trek

Cargo Net Tunnels & Climbing Areas – There are so many great places to climb & crawl through in the Kids Trek. Here’s an example of one of the cargo net tunnels up on the upper climbing area that kids can use to get from one place to another either by crawling or climbing through.

Water Play Area at Kids Trek

Water Play Area – This is going to be a popular spot in the warmer weather of late spring/summer & early fall. Kids can get right into the stream and little waterfall for some fun water play and climbing over the rocks. There’s also a water pump so they can pump out more water to enjoy too.  You might want to bring a change of clothes for little ones as I anticipate they will have fun splashing in this water area.

Covered Picnic Area at Kids Trek

Covered Picnic Area – We love to bring a lunch to Northwest Trek to eat in the sunshine or under the covered area, so I’m glad to see that they have built in a covered picnic area in the Kids Trek area as well. This will be a nice area for parents to hang out while kids play or take a break with lunch or a snack. The only time this will not be available is if there is a birthday party using the covered picnic area.

Features of Kids Trek Playground::

  • Hollowed-out tree trunk climber: A 20-foot-high simulated tree trunk with nets inside for kids to climb on
  • Series of scrambling nets: Three wide rope nets on which kids can crawl and climb up, down and side to side
  • Tunnel slide: A slide through a dark tunnel with a surprise 30-degree bend
  • Jiggly bridge: A little swaying bridge to walk over, high above the main floor of the playground
    Eagles nest: A large, round series of taut ropes that form an area in which kids practice their balancing skills
  • Log cabins: Kid-sized log cabins in a special Toddler Zone
  • Root wad cave: A private space to sit and think or talk with a friend under piles of huge tree roots
  • Animal tracking: Kids can follow animal tracks embedded in cement to learn more about predator and prey
  • Sand and shovels: A toddler “construction area,” complete with a weeping rock so young builders can have wet sand for sculpting
  • Bubbling stream: A signature feature that burbles over rocks into a cascading waterfall, disappears in the beaver lodge and then reappears at a spot where two whimsical otter statues play
  • Beaver lodge: Visitors will swear real beavers built this structure of branches and twigs, complete with a realistic beaver statue standing watch. It’s the perfect picture stop – and a great space to learn more about nature’s amazing construction engineers

Wild Days of Play Program::

Kids Trek at Northwest Trek

With the addition of Kids Trek now at Northwest Trek, they also are starting a new program called Wild Days of Play. This is a once a month hour long program that will be free for kids with paid admission/membership to NW Trek and taking place within Kids Trek. The Wild Days of Play program is designed for kids ages 5 – 12. Each hour long session will include a take-home craft and an activity children can use to continue learning as they explore Northwest Trek the rest of the day.

When: This will take place on the first Saturday of each month at 11am in the Kids Trek area

Schedule: Check out the full schedule of topics for Wild Days of Play. Topics include Wild Play, Wild Living, Wild Eating & more.

Birthday Party Rentals:

If you’re looking for a unique place to hold a birthday party, Kids Trek would be a place that kids would have a blast exploring the playground, plus they will have access to the whole park & tram ride, too. Birthday party packages include a 90 minute rental of the covered picnic area in Kids Trek. The Kids Trek is still open to everyone, but you can use that whole covered area for food, presents, & more. Plus, you’ll get admission for 15 people to Northwest Trek & a tram tour, too. The price is $299.95 for the 15 people (kids & adults) & they do offer add-ons such as Animal Encounters, Nature Exploration carts & more.

Be Sure to check out our Park Reviews Page here, if your looking for more park adventures for your kids this summer. You might also like 10 Unique Parks in Washington, if you want to see a list of some of the stand outs!

Let us know what you think if you head to Northwest Trek & try out Kids Trek! We’d love to hear your thoughts & impressions of the new Kids Trek!!

Disclosure: We were provided tickets to Northwest Trek for myself and my girls to check out Kids Trek for review purposes. All opinions are 100% mine. See our disclosure policy for more details.



  1. I used to go here all the time as a kid in school. Even though I live 45 mins away, it’s been a good 20 years since I’ve been. I’d love to see all the changes since my last visit!

  2. I am looking forward to seeing the joy on my 4 year old’s face when she discovers the weeping rock and gets to play with wet sand! I imagine she will need to be hosed down after playing there!

  3. I am a nw thrift fan already on fb. I used to have tons of these kinds on my fb but I only have 3 n you are my one I live the most to follow. Thank you for all your hard work

  4. Really looking forward for my kids to try all of the play area. Both of them would really excited and happy to try all the different type of play especially the tree trunk climber, tunnel slide, jiggly bridge, bubbling stream and the beaver log. They will be ecstatic!! We are also looking forward to see the wild life as it will be out first time to visit the park!

  5. I love this idea as this will be perfect for when my grandkids,who are way different in ages, to have a blast. I am excited to see what has all been done

  6. I’m just looking forward to sharing NW TREK with my littles. I haven’t been since I was a kid. So much fun.

  7. I am also looking forward to watching my thrill-seeking 2 year old try the tunnel slide. She gets this amazing smile that is a combination of happiness and surprise when she makes it to the bottom of a new slide.

  8. I’m looking forward to the water play area as well as everything else there. It all looks like so much fun!

  9. I’m so excited to take my two girls to see the animals, I know we will love the tram ride. We have never gone to Northwest Trek.

  10. I love that there are views of Mt Rainier, the chance to see the animals and places to play, but I am most excited because it I’d such a great fit for a family adventure Saturday!

  11. We are looking forward to the rope climbing! My kids are monkeys and love to climb!

    Shared on Facebook!

  12. We’ve never been, but have always wanted to go. With tge new playground…we will def have to check this out!!!

  13. I’m excited for the toddler area and the construction zone. What a great way to encourage creativity.

  14. Looking forward to checking out the new play ground! Looks like fun stuff for both my 7 year old and my toddler!

  15. My nephew has Dueshaines (MS), I am excited for him to be able to experience it all. The playground sounds amazing, very interactive, adventurous and educational. I know both of my neohews would love to be a part of this. As for me-lived here most of my life and have never been. Sad. ????

  16. We’ve never been- my son would love seeing the animals and getting to play in the toddler zone!

  17. I’ve never been to NW Trek so I am looking forward to the tram ride through the free roaming area. Reading about it reminds me of going to the Wild Animal Park with my Mom when I was a kid and lived in San Diego. My kids would love the water play area and climbing around on the cargo nets. The Wild Days of Play sounds amazing! My kids love crafts.

  18. We have never been here, my kids are 4yr old girl (5 in 2 wks) and a 2 yr boy.. we woukd love to stay and play for a weekend and explore nw trek and surrounding areas.. ty

  19. I love that it is accessible. So many people and children are differentlyAbled. NW trek thinking of everyone is what I love!

  20. I am looking forward to seeing all of it and bringing my kids along! I haven’t been since I was a teen .

  21. We have yet to visit. I am excited to visit the animals and imagine it a little like a safari :) My children will love it all especially time to free roam the new Kid Trek Playground.

  22. My daughter would love all of the climbing and balancing activities. This would be our first trip and I can’t wait to come visit.

  23. I love how natural it looks. My family are all big hikers and this would be great for getting them ready for those outdoor excursions.

  24. I am a subscriber by email.
    I am looking forward to going to Northwest trek and seeing the animals and letting my grandchildren play in the kids trek area. It looks like so much fun.
    I shared this through word of mouth and by facebook.

  25. I would love to take my family here they have never been and the new Park looks so fun !! my 8 year old is all about trees and my youngest would love all the climbing can’t wait to take them

  26. We’re super excited about discovering all the fun things our new region has to offer as we move from Southern California. Anything that involves climbing is a favorite with my 9 year old, so the tree trunk and scrambling nets would definitely win high marks from him. And I bet we wouldn’t be able to get my 3 year old to leave the water play area. (I’m more excited about the animals, but it takes all kinds, right?)

  27. My husband and I are NW natives and neither of us has ever been. We are looking forward to it all! I’m excited to see the animals but I know my kiddos will love the playground.

  28. Never been, but always wanted to go. Most looking forward to the adventure of a first time visit!

  29. Always love a fun new and exciting opportunity to take the kiddos on an adventure in the sunshine!
    Shared on Facebook.

  30. I’m looking forward to a playground that will enhance my kid’s love for the outdoors! Shared and subscribed!

  31. Looking forward to doing something special for our toddler who is now a big sister. She loves critters and outdoors so this would be perfect

  32. I’ve never been to NW Trek before, but I’ve heard great things about it. I’d love to win these tickets so my family can experience everything!

  33. I shared on Twitter using the button at the end of the story (and the text it automatically populates into the Twitter box is too long!).

  34. Wow, this looks super fun! We haven’t been since we moved. The kids would love this. Great information!

  35. My little ones would love the toddler/preschool area and I love that there’s extra padding under the sand!

  36. I am subscribed to your email, and have been for a while. Would love to be considered. I live on Puyallup and haven’t taken my 3 kiddos there yet????We would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE….to win some tickets!! Will share!!

  37. We are looking forward to the team ride through the free roaming area and trying to get a glance of the moose.

  38. I look forward to the new play area! We’ve never been and I think my two boys would live to go! Free tickets would be a great reason to go!

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