Nearly everyone knows by now that the Fun Forest at Seattle Center is scheduled to permanently close at the end of the busy summer season. This has been the plan from City Hall for more than two years, and is the reason the little patch of asphalt in the shadow of the Space Needle is now contentiously up for grabs. But that’s a story for another day.
My family and I are frequent Fun Forest visitors, especially this summer as the place winds down. We were there twice in the past week. My daughter and I recently discovered the joys of Skee Ball and the “teachable moment” about exchange rates inherent in “two smalls equals one medium; two mediums equals one large.” So I was a little shocked on Saturday, when, along with the ride tickets we’d just purchased, we were also handed a sheet of paper about the imminent closure.
The Fun Forest operators, it seems, are making a last-ditch effort to remain at Seattle Center. That’s no surprise, I guess, but why did they wait until less than five weeks to Labor Day? Why didn’t this start a year ago? Two years ago? “We would love to stay!,” the flyer says, and provides contact info for Mayor McGinn, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, and Seattle Center director Robert Nellams. “We hope to stay in the area we occupy now and offer a small oasis for families to play when they come to enjoy the many activities offered at the Seattle Center,” it continues.
I’m on the record in support of some kind of amusement park at Seattle Center. I think a few classic midway games along with a decent built-in carousel, roller coaster, and Ferris wheel could generate enough revenue to please a private operator as well as the city, and provide, as the flyer says, “a small oasis” for families and tourists. Meanwhile, we’re counting down the weeks we have left to figure out how many smalls equals one jumbo.
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