Museums in Somerset

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What happens when you say "Bloody Mary" three times? The masterminds behind Shadows Haunted Attraction won't say, but they invite all intrepid guests to find out for themselves. Once the group theatrical experience begins, none of the house's 15–20 visitors can leave, even if candles ominously flicker or ghostly faces begin materializing in mirrors. Afterward, guest can brave more scares inside the eponymous Shadows, a maze where startling, mildly gory frights lurk around every turn. Designed by Sinister Pointe Haunted Attractions, both haunts teem with volunteer actors trained in more effective scare tactics than threatening to tattle. Neither Shadows attraction is recommended for children 12 and under.

339 Tukwila Parkway
Tukwila,
WA
US

As visitors wander among The Museum of Flight's more than 150 historic aircraft and spacecraft, they can chart humanity's flight path from the earliest balloons to the latest space shuttles—and marvel at how aviation has changed everything from warfare to transportation to rescue operations. Celebrity planes include a supersonic SR-71 Blackbird, built for a Cold War mission and capable of zipping from Los Angeles to New York in just 58 minutes, and a former Air Force One Boeing 707 that served as a flying oval office for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. After visiting a retired supersonic Concorde—one of only 20 ever built by the British—guests move from the airpark and the great gallery of planes to the museum’s other exhibits. Here, thousands of artifacts—uniforms, engines, and even a carved white elephant that astronaut Michael Collins carried into space on the Apollo 11 mission—enlighten as they lead groups to a kids' flight zone and a collection of to-scale plane models. Visitors can also walk through the Red Barn, the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Company.

The museum's numerous interactive exhibits give users a more visceral sense of what it was like to fly the machines that surround them. The X-Pilot simulator lets visitors practice flying a classic WWII fighter or a modern jet rather than the saddled pigeons they’re used to. Space: Exploring the New Frontier extends your reach to galactic horizons as you play Mission Control to a landing space shuttle or explore a replica of the International Space Station's Destiny Research Laboratory. Here, inventions such as the Apollo 17 lunar module ascent-stage mockup wow aspiring astronauts alongside a contemporary technological duplicate of Sputnik 1, likely made by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

9404 E Marginal Way S
Seattle,
WA
US

The museum was started in 2005 in Shoreline when the lab relocated from the University of Washington. The lab has moved to Georgetown and the volunteers doing the work want to share it with the world. News of the LIFESUIT Robotic Exoskeleton has saved lives already by giving hope to millions of paralyzed people.

6266 13th Ave
Seattle,
WA
US

Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, known around town by its MOHAI acronym, recently relocated to a waterfront location in South Lake Union, and is now housed in the former Naval Reserve Armory building. It’s a smart change for the popular historical and educational spot, considering its new proximity to some of Seattle’s biggest businesses: outdoor retailer REI and Amazon.com. The museum’s permanent collection traces the city’s history, with nods to the city’s 1962 World’s Fair, the surprising 1999 WTO riots, and the birth and growth of aerospace giant Boeing. Temporary exhibits address topics as diverse as Seattle-specific artists, the history of gay culture citywide or the many engineering feats that have helped a region filled with bodies of water and steep slopes stay connected. The newly-opened Bezos Center for Innovation explores Seattle’s history of entrepreneurship and engages guests in interactive activities to elicit their inner CEO.

2700 24th Ave E
Seattle,
WA
US

Now a subsidiary of the Wing Luke Asian Museum, Chinatown Discovery Tours offers almost a dozen 90-minute tours of Seattle’s Chinatown each week. The pleasant outdoor strolls trace the arrival of the Chinese in the 19th century, their struggles and enduring culture. There’s no shortage of tidbits to pick up, thanks to Seattle’s expansive mix of Asian cultures, and some tours even include stop-offs at great and tasty Chinese restaurants. Others might include a visit to Hing Hay Park, with its terraced stairs and red brick square, or a walk through Uwajimaya, a pan-Asian food emporium and gift shop. On Saturdays, literary visitors can take the Bitter and Sweet tour, which pays respects to landmarks featured in the New York Times bestseller Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. That means stops at Canton Alley and the Panama Hotel, among other illuminating Seattle spots.

719 S King St
Seattle,
WA
US

Tucked inside an art deco building within Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park, the economically-sized Seattle Asian Art Museum showcases cultural artifacts from China, Japan, Korea and India. From silk screens to sculpture, scrolls to woodwork, the museum nods at history at every turn. It also includes a children’s room that lets little ones learn by doing and creating. Outside, Noguchi’s “Black Sun” sculpture lines a decorative pool within Volunteer Park, making for a wonderful photo vantage point that includes Seattle’s Space Needle in the background. Through the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas, the museum even offers a Saturday lecture series on visual and literary arts topics. Bargain-hunters take note: The museum is free to all visitors the first Thursday of each month.

1400 E Prospect St
Seattle,
WA
US