Klondike Gold Rush | Seattle

We love the national historical sites almost as much as we love national monuments and national parks. So on a recent trip to Seattle, we made a trip to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, which is right is right downtown. We found this site to be fun and very educational.

There are two different Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Sites: one in Seattle and one in Alaska. This post is about the Klondike Gold Rush Seattle unit.

This museum is not far from downtown Seattle.


Did you know that Seattle was a gold rush town? It totally makes sense, but we had no idea that the city sprang up in the 1890’s after gold was discovered in Alaska along the Yukon River. Suddenly, settlers were coming from all over the world, using Seattle as a “jumping off point” for the Klondike Gold Rush. We learned these facts, along with a lot of other interesting history at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Seattle.

This site is housed in a larger building on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Jackson Street. When you enter, there is a ranger there to help you, though the admission is free. Make sure to ask about the Junior Ranger program when you enter because there are a lot of questions to answer. We watched a short movie about the Klondike, which we recommend. We learned a ton about the Seattle area. Then we walked through the exhibits completing the boys’ Junior Ranger booklets.

The Junior Ranger programs are the best.
It is such a great way to get the kids involved in the museum.


The museum is two levels and has plenty of interactive stuff to do. There is a scale that tells you your value in gold. There is a spinner that gives you odds on if you’d be successful as a prospector in the Yukon. The museum has a lot of information, which worked well for our older kids as they read most of the sign as we went through the exhibits. For younger children, we were so grateful for the more interactive parts of the museum to keep them entertained while we read the signs and summarized some facts for them.

There were a ton of interactive areas in the museum. Screens and hands-on stuff.
This wheel was very popular Everyone wanted to strike it rich.
And everyone wanted to know how much they weighed in gold.
I wouldn’t have survived the gold rush, but I loved learning about these klondikers.

There is also a small gift shop so that you can purchase a patch or something fun for the kids. We always try to do this at the free national sites, as it helps to fund them and keep them running. Check their website for current hours. If you are in Seattle, make sure to stop and enjoy the Klondike Gold Rush Seattle Unit! For other ideas in Seattle, check out our Family-Friendly activities in Seattle post.

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