Exploring Seattle: North Transfer Station
A garbage center in the middle of the city was the last place I had in mind to go looking for fun, but as I pulled into the small parking lot on the south side of the station and saw several other moms loading and unloading their small children in and out of SUV's and minivans, I knew I had stumbled on something good.
The name first came up in a local parents group on Facebook. Another mom commended the place and encouraged others to go. I've always loved learning all I can about processes so I quickly added it to my list! But summer time rolled around so there it sat for several months until we returned. In that little lull between summer vacations and back to school, I moved it to the top of my 'must do' list and met up with another mom friend to explore the space together.
Driving around the perimeter of the 5 acre compound, I first noticed the art installations that clearly seemed to be made from recycled materials (metals and such). I was also impressed with the modern state of the place but also recall not too many years ago when I was new to Seattle that this lot was just a hole in the ground, construction was just getting underway. And it is very new; the station was completed in 2016.
Just outside the entrance to the building is a bright orange colored maze of rebar (recycled of course); an art installation by local artist Jean Shin and a magnet for little climbers. We indulged our littles here for some time while I got to catch up with my friend in the sunshine before heading inside. Up the stairs (or around the corner you'll find an elevator for stroller access) is a moderately sized room with large windows overlooking the Tipping Floor. It's here that you'll see the action first hand. Closest to our viewpoint, city garbage trucks pull in and dump all their contents onto the tipping floor. One of several loaders then come around and push the piles of garbage into a chute against the back wall. The garbage is then compacted beneath the ground before it is transported to trains and taken by rail to a landfill in Oregon.
Inside the education room are several interactive play structures, including a 5' x 10' miniature scale of the station with toy cars to drive through, a model compactor, and sorting bins. Additionally, photos and exhibits answer questions and provide so much education about the facility and Seattle's garbage disposal process. I loved it (and so did the kids)!
The North Transfer station
is located in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle:
1350 N 34th Street
Open from 8am to 5:30pm, 7 days a week.
Visit their website for full details
And please be sure to tell me in the comments below of any other fun places you've been to in or around Seattle! We're always on the hunt for new places to explore.