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Hiram M. Chittenden Locks / Ballard Locks - 34 Reviews - 3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA - Aquariums, Zoos & Botanical Gardens Reviews - Phone (206) 783-7059
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Hiram M. Chittenden Locks / Ballard Locks

3015 NW 54th St
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 783-7059
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Hiram M. Chittenden Locks / Ballard Locks - Seattle, WA
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks / Ballard Locks - Seattle, WA


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Awesome every time


I have never managed to enjoy the Ballard Locks, except when kayaking once through them. Pros: food nearby, salmon spawning Cons: crowded, bad parking

Great views 5/14/2015

It's really nice to go here and see how the locks work more

great place 5/1/2015

Awesome every time more

Excellent! 6/5/2013

Excellent experience, fun, and educational! more

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great for kids 3/18/2013

good place for kids.. very educative more

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I never get tired of this place 1/30/2012

So nice to see it in action... more

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great place for a day with the family 12/5/2011

lot of stuff to learn here more

Good for sunny day 11/9/2011

fun to watch the boats go through the locks, it usually takes about 5 minute per boat. Spending 30 minutes here is plenty of time. If you've never seen locks it's worth a visit. more

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Good for Toddlers 11/9/2011

There's a park here for kids to play, keep an eye on them by the locks but kids love watching the boats and ships go through the locks. Cross over to the other side to view the Salmon in the fish ladder. more

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Visit during salmon season 10/25/2011

Good place for kids. Parking can be hard on sunny summer days. more

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Fun, free outing 9/24/2006

Need a fun, free activity for the kids on a sunny day? I highly recommend the Ballard Locks! My kids love to watch the boats going through the locks and the water rising and falling to accomodate them. I think it's pretty neat too. Be sure to explore the park on one side and the salmon ladder on the other. (Now is a great time to see the salmon running.) There is an observation window under the water, so you can watch the salmon leaping upsteam from below - pretty cool! more

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Ballard Locks: Perfect sunny day outing for kids 4/24/2006

My wife and I headed into the weekend with every intention of weeding our overgrown garden, scrubbing the front porch and tackling 17 other long-overdue house projects. But after a long gray winter, our best intentions were no match for the perfect 70-degree days. Instead, we packed a picnic and took our son on his firts-ever visit to the Ballard Locks. As other reviewers have noted, the Locks offer something for everyone: fascinating engineering (the locks themselves), natural wonders (the fish ladder), public open space (beautiful uncrowded parks on both sides), and (best of all) terrific people-watching. And if you run out of steam on the locks themselves, you're less than a mile from Ballard's lively commercial core, and the beaches and views of Golden Gardens lie just a few miles in the other direction. Best of all, the Burke-Gilman trail offers easy and safe cycling access to the whole shebang from anywhere in North Seattle. Next time you're wondering what to do on a sunny weekend, jump on your bike or pile the kids into the car and head west toward Ballard and the locks -- you can't go wrong. more

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Cool to see the salmon running 4/9/2006

The locks are really cool. It's fascinating to watch boats go in and out of them. They are really active so it's likely you'll see boats going through. They have a windowed area so you can watch the salmon going through the fish ladder to get over the dam. When it's nice out, the locks can be quite a draw so be prepared for crowds. more

Water, Fish, View 12/8/2005

This is a huge place! Tons of water and salmon when it's the season. there are two sides in which you can view the boats as they pass by. I was there a few weeks ago and they actually emptied the place as they were cleaning out the barnacles that accumulated over time. It's up and running again and is a great place for pictures with the family. more

Very interesting! 10/8/2005

The Ballard Locks is best visited on sunny summer days when not a cloud dares to sully the spotless blue sky that seems to last forever. The Ballard Locks has two parts--one side (the side with the fish ladder) is on the Magnolia Side. The side with the park is on the Ballard Side, and both sides are connected by the locks, which you can walk across via foot bridges. The locks themselves are very interesting and it's amazing how they can fit such large ships (like the Alaskan Crab ships) into such tiny spaces. Stand and watch as the boats rise or lower with the water level. The fish ladders are also interesting and allows people to see many types of salmon throughout their growth cycle. free admission and parking on both sides. more

One of my favourite places in Seattle 9/30/2005

Every time I visit my daughter & son-in-law in Seattle, I beg them to take me to the Ballard Locks. It's just a wonderful way to spend a beautiful day in Seattle. There are two sides, one side has a huge park in it, and the other side has the fish ladder. They're connected via a little walk way that you walk across (the actual locks) and during the summertime when there's alot of boat traffic, you can see the rangers lining the boats up in the locks and the water raises (or lowers) so that they can get from one side to the other. And not just small recreational boats either. HUGE Alaskan Crab boats can fit in those little lock things as well. I love the fish ladder but always go during the wrong time of year and can never see the HUGE salmon, just the little babies. more

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Great way to spend a sunny day with the kids 9/9/2005

THe Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (also known as the Ballard Locks) is situated half in Ballard, half in Magnolia, and is connected via the locks which have walkways connecting the two sides. The fish ladder is on the Magnolia side, and the large parkgrounds are on the Ballard side. Go when the fish are running which is generally between June and September. You'll see salmon so big they just make your mouth water (that is, if you're a fan of Salmon, which I am not). If you're lucky, you can see some otters or sea lions outside of the locks grabbing their share of tasty swimming salmon. You'll also see the salmon outside the locks as they try to get in and out. This is a very large and beautiful park and the best part is THE ENTIRE THING IS FREE!!! How many great things like this are free of charge? Not many, that's for sure! If you go during the summer, parking can be tight on the Ballard Side. Cross the ballard bridge, go into Magnolia, follow some windy roads and park on the Magnolia side. Traffic is much lighter and the parking is actually closer to the action than on the Ballard Side. Bring your camera, pack a lunch, and spend one of the few sunny SEattle days out in the open watching fish do things that they've been doing for millions of years more

Fish, Grass, & boats - what could be better 8/26/2005

I love going to the locks. I could spend hours watching the fish jump up the fish ladder, the boats go through the locks, and walking around the beautifully maintained lawns. It's not just the kind of place you go when you have visitors in town and are taking them to tourist spots - it's a place to hang out, take a picnic, get out of the busy pace of life and just watch as the boats and fish pass through. more

Boats, Fish and Park - What More do You Need 8/20/2005

The Ballard Locks is a public space that has many things to offer. As a park, it is a well kept green space with lush lawns and interesting plantings. Bring a picnic and let your kids burn off some energy rolling or running down the terraced grass that slopes down to the level of the locks. The fish ladder can also be an interesting side trip, especially when the largest fish are making their way back upstream in late summer and early fall. The most important attraction at the Ballard Locks, of course, are the locks themselves - engineering marvels that transport an endless parade of boats to and from the inner lakes to the sound. You'll see some large boats, some small boats, some boats that have difficulty negotiating the procedures in the locks and it all adds up to ever-changing entertainment. more

An interesting experience and a beautiful park 8/19/2005

Wow, I was totally surprised last year when we visited the locks with the neighbor kids. I expected to see the fish ladders, which were awesome, but I was blown away by the surrounding park. There were beautifully landscaped gardens all around the locks and the walk there and back was great. The trip is better on a sunny day, but is fun no matter what. Take an afternoon there, just make sure the salmon are making their runs. more
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  • Kids will love watching the boats (and salmon) pass through the locks here on sunny afternoons. Theres a museum too, but we found it to...

  • 1/7/2013 Provided by KidScore

Additional information

  • Neighborhoods:

    Ballard, Adams