Frustrated that their three youngsters spent their indoor playtime glued to video games and TV, Doug and Kasey Lupton founded Play Kitsap as an active, educational alternative. Their 8,000-square-foot facility entices kids aged 10 and younger with 14 activities, including a 21-foot-tall inflatable slide, a bouncy castle, a sports zone, and moon sand for sculpting. Elsewhere, a toddler area accommodates younger guests with age-appropriate activities, and art and Kindermusik classes stimulate children with engaging sessions of drawing or singing. All the while, parents can watch their youngsters play, surf the net with free WiFi, or savor a snack and drink at the café. Play Kitsap also offers five party packages, including an all-night soiree where up to 20 kids can stay up eating pizza and practicing their slam dunks from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Children and their families are welcome to learn together through exploration of interactive exhibits. Kids are sure to begin their adventure in the Pirate Tree House atop an authentic tree trunk, a multilevel play space showcasing the museum's leading philosophy: Imagine, Discover and Grow.
In this spirit, rather than lecturing youngsters and their families, KiDiMu, sparks their imaginations with hands-on exhibits covering science, culture and art. In Science Hall, an interactive physics exhibit illustrates the concepts of velocity and acceleration through experiments first devised by Galileo and Newton to prove the Earth revolves around a fig. Visitors to Our Town’s community can attempt cash withdrawals at a faux ATM or tour a waterfront park, and kids of all ages craft self-guided art projects in the studio known as Sean's Space.
An annual membership grants floral devotees unlimited visits with up to three guests, discounts for seasonal concerts held on the grounds, invitations to exclusive lectures and events, and rock-cultivation lessons in the Japanese Garden.
EMP Museum is a tribute to cultural icons as well as a breeding ground for the next generation of musicians and societal shapers. Here, attendees don’t just stand before exhibits that explore Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, but throw down their own musical chops in interactive exhibits such as Sound Lab, where they riff on an electric guitar, bang on drums, and tweak acoustics behind a mixing console. On Stage also gets guests to grip instruments, but under the hot lights of the stage, where they can pretend to entertain legions of fans or accompany their nephew’s birthday party.
The museum also curates rotating exhibits that celebrate modern cultural achievements. These have showcased the impact of Nirvana’s career alongside historic artifacts as diverse as Hendrix’s Stratocaster from Woodstock and Neo’s black futuristic coat from Matrix Reloaded. As home to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, the museum also spotlights luminaries such as Ray Bradbury and Steven Spielberg, who have shaped a generation’s imagination while warning people about the perils of suppressing ingenuity, ideas, and viewpoints.
All of the educational programming and special events unfold inside the architectural jewel that is the EMP Museum. Designed by Frank O. Gehry, the building’s 3,000 stainless-steel panels shimmer and seemingly swing through the air. This fluidity, which can alter its appearance depending on the time of day and light conditions, is about “reminding audiences that music and culture is constantly evolving,” as the museum’s website states.
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.
Seattle’s Cinerama in Belltown combines a classic old-school cinema experience with state-of-the-art digital projection. One of only three theaters in the world that still show Cinerama-sized films, this local location also presents a slate of 3D films and other first-run features. Owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Cinerama keeps prices reasonable, while offering a slew of upscale touches, like chocolate popcorn and local munchies from Full Tilt Ice Cream and Cupcake Royale. The 70-foot screen provides a spectacular visual and audio experience, with older touches like comfortable rocking seats, a starry ceiling and a huge velvet curtain that dramatically opens before each screening. The retro lobby even includes an exhibit of original costumes from TV and movie hits like Batman and Captain Kangaroo.