In Seattle’s Pacific Northwest location, the approach of summer generally means many outdoor activities for families. However, indoor activities are often the best bet for family fun when the summer rain is pouring down. One enjoyable option is exploring the EMP Museum. Conveniently situated right in the Seattle Center (at the base of the easy to find Space Needle), EMP houses a large collection of popular music related memorabilia and pop culture displays, including many hands on exhibits. The museum is simple to get to from your hotel and is great for an outing ranging from just a couple of hours to an entire day, depending on your kids’ ages and interest threshold.
Music Sweet Music
EMP was originally known as the Explore Music Project and rock music is still a major focus at the museum. Check out the dazzling cyclone shaped 35 foot sculpture composed of more than 700 guitars, keyboards, drums and other musical apparatus, which plays its own electronic music. The musical career of rock legend Jimi Hendrix, a Seattle native, is memorialized with collections of instruments, hand written lyrics, fragments from his famous guitar smashing episodes and other artifacts, in an exhibition running until November 2015. While this may fascinate the over 40 crowd, children will be more likely to appreciate the interactive exhibits like the sound lab, where they can play with a myriad of instruments, sound effects and hi-hop style turntables. Recordings of their musical masterpieces may be purchased as unique souvenirs.
Fantasy and Horror
Science fiction is a genre in fiction and films that is enormously popular with all ages. View sci-fi symbols such as flying saucers, ray guns and light sabers and ponder questions along the lines of “What if I had superpowers?” with EMP’s Icons of Science Fiction exhibit. Or lose track of reality as you pet the gigantic animatronic dragon (note to parents – she may roar but she doesn’t bite!) Alternatively, amble through the audio caves and crawl spaces of Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic. The horror gallery, rated PG13, features famous horror movies, an interactive shadow monster installation and a scream booth. Not for the faint hearted.
Visiting the Museum
The EMP Museum may be reached by car, bus or monorail. You’ll have no trouble spotting the contours of this unusually shaped building. Discount tickets may be reserved online or bought as part of the Seattle CityPass package. Light meals and snacks are available on site at the POP Kitchen and Bar, which provides a children’s menu. The EMP Store and EMP Specialty Store are an experience in themselves, with their offerings of books, toys, games, T-shirts, posters, CDs and other items related to the pop culture exhibitions; you can even order on the Internet.
Seattle is a popular destination in the summer and has so much to see and do that you’ll appreciate staying in a comfortable hotel with easy access to everything. The nicer and lower priced Seattle area hotels tend to fill up fast, though, so it’s a good idea to reserve in advance.
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