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Seattle for Kids: Pacific Science Center

Want to bring out your child’s inner Explorer, Scientist, Hypothesizer, and Adventurer all in one day?

If so, Pacific Science Center – full of great activities for kids – is the perfect place for you!

seattle for kids_psc1 courtesy of Pacific Science Center Facebook page

Located in Seattle Center (a short walk from the Space Needle), Pacific Science Center provides fun for kids and grown-ups alike – with the added bonus that your kids will leave having learned a little (or let’s be honest A LOT!)

There’s so much to do at this Seattle gem, that we’ve decided to break it down using the Scientific Method.

Step #1: Ask a Question…

seattle for kids_psc2 courtesy of

…like what’s playing at the IMAX Theater?  Catch a movie on Seattle’s biggest screen!  Measuring six stories high (60 feet) and 80 feet wide, and utilizing 12,000 watts of surround sound, IMAX Theater is an adventure for the senses!  Zoom through the human body, dive to the bottom of the ocean, and fly with the eagles – all without leaving your plush theater seat.  From exploration films, to mainstream flicks currently in theaters, IMAX is unforgettable. But make sure and check the schedule before your visit – times and movies available change frequently.  As an added plus, portions of your ticket price go to support science education for children throughout Washington state!

Step #2: Do Background Research – in the Tropical Butterfly House

seattle for kids_psc3 courtesy of Pacific Science Center Facebook page

Exotic beauty takes flight in the Tropical Butterfly House.  This 4,000 square foot greenhouse-style exhibit has a controlled, tropical climate that allows for butterflies to thrive.  Each week 500 butterflies are imported and released from sustainable rainforest farms in South and Central America, Africa, and Asia.  Your child will be able to identify butterflies using a species identifier card, and watch butterflies fly, sun bathe, and even feed on tropical flowers.

Step #3: Construct a Hypothesis with Dinosaurs: A Journey Through Time

seattle for kids_psc4 courtesy of Pacific Science Center Facebook page

History roars to life through seven giant robotic dinosaurs.  Children will be awed by the size of these beasts, who move and sound just like the real thing!  Kids can stand in the footprint of a giant duckbill, and use a remote to move the Pneumoferrosaurus (“Air and Iron Lizard”), plus check out real fossils.  Print out this handy-dandy Educator’s Guide beforehand – so you and your little scientists will be “in the know” as you travel through the exhibit.

Step #4: Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment at Professor Wellbody’s Academy of Health and Wellness

seattle for kids_psc5 courtesy of Parent Map

This permanent exhibit is a parent’s dream!  Not only is it hands-on and packed with entertaining gadgets, but it is based on educating people about health and well-being.  Your kids will learn about the importance of sleep in the magnificent sleep machine (what exhausted mama wouldn't love this?), experience the benefits of exercise and burn some energy in the Playdium, learn how to correctly wash their hands in the Wash Well, and analyze their nutritional needs in the Cafedium.  Plus the Pacific Science Center has set up an entire site about this exhibit, complete with a blog that contains tips on being the most healthy you!  Check it out here.

Step #5: Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion in the Planetarium

seattle for kids_psc6 courtesy of

Blast off in the Willard Smith Planetarium.  For just an extra $3 added onto your general admission, you can experience space from a totally new perspective.   Join the Preschool Trip to the Moon, a short presentation featuring a puppet show and a dance party (on the moon!).   Check out Sky Tonight where you’ll learn to recognize stars with a star map, and explore mysteries past and present with the Gravity and Black Holes spectacle.  Shows are based on age, so be sure to check out all of the details and times before heading to the museum here.

Step #6: Communicate Your Results

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There is no doubt- the Pacific Science Center is packed with fun for families.  When you finish, why not let others know?  These people did…

“Very impressed with this science museum. Better than the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The exhibits seem to be newer and there are lots of stations with hands-on activities… We ended up spending four hours. Our kids loved it and could have stayed longer.”

Timothy T., Yelp

“The only real IMAX in Seattle. The screen is simply amazing and you cannot experience a movie in IMAX anywhere else. Southcenter and Northgate are LIEMAX. The Pacific Science Center has the most impressive screen around and every "big" movie should be seen there if possible.”

- Johann Schneider, Google

“I think that the Pacific Science Center is definitely a place you should consider visiting when you go to Seattle. Not only is it a lot of fun for the kids, but it is very educational. The whole family will have fun there. Was it worth the time & money? I would say yes. It is very interesting, and many of the exhibits there are hands on. It offers a new approach on learning for kids of all ages, and adults too. I found myself wishing I had visited the Pacific Science Center sooner. I would say if you are in Seattle, the Pacific Science Center is a very fun thing to do.”

- Yahoo Contributer, Yahoo Travel



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