Pacific Science Center
The Pacific Science Center (206/443-2001 or 866/414-1912, www.pacsci.org, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily mid-June through Labor Day, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat.–Sun. the rest of the year, $15 adults, $13.50 seniors, $12 ages 6–12, $10 kids 3–5, free under age 3) began as the U.S. Science Pavilion at the 1962 World’s Fair and is showing its age a bit gracelessly.
The dated architecture stands in marked contrast to the glitzy, high-tech Experience Music Project just a short walk away. Despite this, the Pacific Science Center is a wonderful place to take kids for a day of learning and fun. Distinctive white concrete arches rise over pools and fountains at this hugely popular family museum that attracts almost two million visitors annually.
The five buildings are filled with hands-on exhibits: virtual reality voyages, a planetarium, a menagerie of mechanized Mesozoic dinosaurs, a tropical butterfly house, a colony of naked mole rats, plus fun and educational exhibits of all types.
The fountains outside are filled with water toys that blast jets of water at all sorts of objects; there’s even a spinning two-ton granite ball. Look for the high-rail bike demonstrations most days.
Two big IMAX screens here create unforgettably dramatic first-run movies; one even shows high-tech 3-D IMAX films. Since the IMAX Dome closed down in 2005, this has been the only mega-screen option in town.
The Pacific Science Center also has a changing series of exhibits and special events, including a popular (and decidedly low-tech) Model Railroad Show on Thanksgiving weekend and the kids’-favorite Bubble Festival in mid-August.
Admission to the Pacific Science Center includes IMAX films. It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you don't want to wait in long lines for the featured attractions, try to come Sunday morning or Monday through Wednesday afternoons, when things tend to be quieter.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition