Located in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle has a very unique culture and environment that families can explore at one of the city’s various museums. Everything from native cultures from the Pacific rim to endangered frogs will entertain families for hours. Families can also get innovative by visiting the Seattle Children’s Museum or Pacific Science Center — both of which offer interactive exhibits that turn a child’s (or parent’s) fantasy into a reality. Whatever sparks your family’s interest, Seattle is bound to have it at one of these five family friendly attractions — perfect for exploring on one of those rainy Seattle afternoons.
Situated on Pier 59 along the Seattle waterfront, the Seattle Aquarium attracts visitors with its six major exhibits, several of which focus heavily on the local marine environment. In fact, biologists conduct research on giant Pacific octopus, sixgill sharks and northern sea otters to help improve the health of the native animals. The 120,000-gallon Window on Washington Waters exhibit gives visitors a first-hand glimpse at more than 800 fish and invertebrates indigenous to the Pacific Northwest’s local waters. Similarly, the Underwater Dome features a 360-degree view of the thousands of fish that call Puget Sound home.
Seattle Children’s Museum is a 22,000-square-foot play place that sparks almost any adventure that a child’s imagination can conjure up. For instance, children can hop aboard the school bus, where they can drive to wherever they want in their imaginations and even refill the bus with gas from the pumping station. Kids can put on hard hats and a tool belt at the Construction Zone, where kids can put together structures big enough to crawl through. The Global Village is perhaps the most adventurous exhibit as families take three mini-trips across Ghana, the Philippines and Japan.
The innovative exhibits at the Pacific Science Center go well beyond any excitement that Bill Nye The Science Guy once brought to kids of the ‘90s. Take the newly opened Sonic Bloom exhibit for example, which greets guests outside the science center. The solar-powered art installation consists of five, 33-feet-tall flowers that collect sun during the day and light up at night, explaining solar power in a dynamic and colorful way. Once inside, the Tinker Tank features several hands-on activities that experiment with aerodynamics. Wind tables (or vertical wind tunnels), gravity walls, cardboard amusement parks, Keva blocks and electric circuits are just a few of the parts that make up the experimental exhibit.
The 125-year-plus-year-old Burke Museum celebrates Washington’s natural history and culture. For instance, the Pacific Voices exhibit represents more than 17 different cultures native to the Pacific Rims. The exhibit introduces visitors to the arts, ceremonies and personal stories of the native people, and addresses how these cultures have changed in the modern world. Families can also check out the archaeology exhibit, which features more than 1 million objects from around the world, with an emphasis on the Pacific Rim. The exhibit showcases everything from statues to arrowheads for the whole family to explore.
For families that love animals, the Woodland Park Zoo exhibits almost 1,100 animals that represent almost 300 different animal species — 44 of which are endangered. As such, the zoo participates in Species Survival Plan conservation breeding for 72 animal species. Plus, the zoo places an importance on conservation education, teaching visitors to the zoo about how they can help benefit the animals and their habitats. Visitors can even check out first-hand some of these endangered species, such as the Oregon spotted frog, which is being reared at the zoo to later be released back into the wild.