There was very nearly a "federalwaymama" - not that I want to move there, mind you, but I thought I'd never find my way back out, determined as we were to find Steel Lake Park despite its strange absence from the city's ubiquitous wayfinding signs, and streets that seemed to go on forever and then become something else just when it seemed like we were almost there. Washed up on yet another freeway island neighborhood, I cried uncle and decided to drive the kids home to Titlow beach instead.
However, before the Steel Lake Park debacle we did manage to have a little fun in Federal Way. First stop: lunch. We fought our way around giant SUV-sized signs and landed in a small strip mall off the corner of 348th and Pacific Highway. (99) I was about to just take the kids to Subway when we noticed "Lindy Lou's Coffee and Deli" - a cute little neighborhood-like (if there were, like, a neighborhood) coffee shop with lots of comfy chairs and a great lunch menu.
I ordered the kids a huge sandwich to split ($5.50! So that was 2.75 each) and a "no-carbolicious" for me, and threw in a latte and a couple of chocolate milks on account of their super cheap pricing.
Construction in the parking lot is keeping customers away from this little place, and it's a shame. One of the owners served us our giant lunches while her adorable three month old slept in a carseat on the couch. Overhead, she hung fish mobiles to go with the "under the sea" theme of the week, matching the aquarium dvd on the big flat screen tv and soothing music coming from the speakers. Every week they have a new theme, with accompanying lunch specials. (This week fish tacos)
The quiet was just what I needed after a frazzled trip up Highway 99. I really enjoyed my giant "no-carbolicious" lettuce wrapped swiss cheese and turkey (which came with chips and a little package of candy - great for the gluten-challenged but actual low carb dieters might skip the sides.) The kids pulled apart the many layers of their "Space Needle" sandwich, and eventually managed to be loud enough to wake up the baby.
We grabbed a huge slice of chocolate cake to go, and made our way to Weyerhaeuser, in search of the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection and more peace and quiet. It's odd that such a peaceful place exists just off I-5, but their campus really is very beautiful.
So perfect, in fact, that there's a "no-picknicking" policy, so under no circumstances should you do this.
After our illicit cake, we walked around the Bonsai collection. My eldest loves all things plants and was really interested in how a tree could grow for one hundred years and still be no taller than her waist.
The Bonsai Collection would be a nice walk on a rainy day, there are complimentary umbrellas available in a stand on the way in and the path is paved with fine gravel to keep out the mud. Free guided tours take place every Sunday at noon. There's also a Rhododendrun species garden, but it requires paid admission.
We had a nice time, but I'd come back next time without my five year old who wasn't terribly interested. The collection is open every day but Thursday through September, from 10 am to 4pm, and 11 am to 4 pm, October through Februaray, closed Thursdays and Fridays.
I'd still like to try Steel Lake park some time. If anyone has simple directions from Highway 99, let me know.
Lindy Lou's Coffee and Deli
34815 Pacific Highway S.
Federal Way, WA 98003
Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection
33663 Weyerhaeuser Way S.
Federal Way, WA 98003