My oldest is a transportation-enthusiast. We like to indulge him by adding in public transportation when the opportunity arises. So, when we heard there was going to be a lot of traffic at Seattle Center the same day we had an event to go to, we decided we NEEDED to ride the Seattle Monorail from Westlake Center to Seattle Center.

As I’m writing this, I can’t stop saying “monorail” like they did in that episode of the Simpson’s where they do a riff of the Music Man. It cracks me up because that episode made monorails seem like an old-timey thing, when in fact they are supposed to seem more futuristic. In fact, our monorail was launched as part of the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle as a transportation system for the future.

We let our son pay for our tickets using cash. Photo credit: Darren Cheung
We let our son pay for our tickets using cash. Photo credit: Darren Cheung
Anyway, we parked at Pacific Place (parking is only $6 on Sundays) and walked over to Westlake Center. There was lots of signage to catch the monorail, plus there was the MONORAIL right there. I love it when things are hard to miss. We took the elevator up to the platform. Since kids 4 and under ride free, I handed my son $10 and let him buy roundtrip tickets for my husband and me. The Monorail only accepts cash (so no ORCA cards, Debit/Credit, or Sound Transit cards.) He was excited for that responsibility!
His first ride on the Seattle Monorail was easy! Photo credit: Darren Cheung
His first ride on the Seattle Monorail was easy! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

And then we waited for the monorail to arrive. I think we waited 3-4 minutes and my son posed for about 50 photos as he anxiously waited the arrival of the monorail. And then in happened. The monorail raced into Westlake Station and we patiently waited for the passengers to disembark and for the crew to check the monorail. Then, the doors opened and we were able to select our seat.

The ride is very, very short. It’s a total of 2 minutes. It was enough time for my son to get settled, look out the window, ask if he could have a snack for the ride, and spot the Space Needle. I thought everything looked fairly clean and no one lingered on the monorail.

Monorail Man is more than 7 feet tall and can be found at Seattle Center Monorail Station. Photo credit: Seattle Monorail
Monorail Man is more than 7 feet tall and can be found at Seattle Center Monorail Station. Photo credit: Seattle Monorail

When we got to Seattle Center, we stopped to look at the Monorail Man (AKA Trainus Prime.) It was a fun little exhibit! My son especially enjoyed his traffic light legs that lit up! He is made from used parts that are no longer suitable for their current monorail system configuration. Monorail Man was built with about $15.00 in scrap metal, which makes it especially impressive!

They also had a vending machine that sold Seattle Monorail merchandise, which I thought was cool. And they had a souvenir smashed penny machine, which is always a hit with kids! Plus there is a lot of fun stuff to look at from the Seattle Center platform.

We arrived at Seattle Center in just 2 minutes! Photo credit: Darren Cheung
We arrived at Seattle Center in just 2 minutes! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

6 Reasons Your Kid Should Ride on Seattle’s Monorail

  1. Kids 4 and under ride free. Adults are $2.25 each way.
  2. You can teach your kids about money. They only accept cash, so your child can pay for your ticket and start learning how money works.
  3. There’s only 1 stop, so you won’t get lost. The Monorail travels directly between Westlake Center Mall (5th Avenue and Pine Street) and Seattle Center (adjacent to the Space Needle and MoPOP).
  4. The ride is short. It’s only 2 minutes from platform to platform, so even if you don’t enjoy public transportation, you won’t be on it too long.
  5. It’s stroller-friendly. At Westlake Center, you can access the platform from the elevator located on 5th Ave (between Olive and Pine). At Seattle Center, there are ramps that allow for easy access. There are yellow gates at Seattle Center platform that pull out to allow wheelchairs easy entrance into the trains.
  6. There are fun things on both ends. Seattle Center has the Pacific Science Center, Seattle Children’s Theatre, MoPop, plus the countless festivals and events held on the grounds on any given day. Westlake Center has tons of Downtown shopping, plus it’s an easy walk to Pike Place Market.

6 Reasons Your Child Should Ride the Seattle Monorail

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