Did you know that there is a 5,000 year old peat bog in Renton? This is a great place to check out with the kids if you want a short outing with a little learning thrown in. Shadow Lake Bog is open to the public daily for self guided tours (see link to pdf below) or, if you call ahead, you might even be able to score a personal tour from a volunteer or staff member.
We were lucky enough to have a staff member, Isabelle, give us a tour. The trail consists of a half-mile boardwalk which winds through the forest and peat, ending with an observation platform that overlooks the bog. As we walked through the forest, Isabelle pointed out a prehistoric plant and many other plants growing in the area which were used many years ago by Native Americans. The kids especially enjoyed seeing (and smelling) the humongous skunk cabbage. About halfway through the trail, the environment changes from forest to the peat bog. The surface of the bog is covered in little hills called hummocks. The hills are caused by the 17 varieties of moss growing and decaying at different rates. The visible part of the peat is just the top layer of 65 feet of moss- the size of a six story building!
A wide variety of wildlife in the bog area features garter snakes, salamanders, birds and lots and lots of frogs, which live in a man made pond. Isabelle told us that around February, the frogs in the pond are so loud, you can’t hear much else!
Visiting the bog feels like going back in time, and is a serene, interesting trip. Check the website or Facebook for educational programs, hours and volunteer opportunities.
21656 184th Ave SE, Renton, WA 98058
Facebook is the best way to check upcoming events.