The MOHAI is back and way better than ever. Settled into the beautiful and renovated South Lake Union Park alongside the Center for Wooden Boats, the MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry) opened its’ doors this past Sunday. Formerly located in the University District, the MOHAI used to be hidden away and only visited by those in the know. Its’ exhibits were outdated and it wasn’t walking distance to any other activities. In SLU, the museum is on display where all can see it, and in a beautiful park with Native American outdoor displays and a large pond for miniature sailboats.
Today was family day. And since children 14 and under are always free, Ari and I only had to pay for ourselves. Since it was family day, the museum really made an effort to entertain the children and make life easier for families. There was a coat check set up, which was amazingly convenient considering it was freezing outside and we had no stroller to lay our coats on as we wandered the warm museum. And in the center of the Grand Atrium, Clifford and Curious George wandered around, taking pictures with excited children. Activity centers and arts & crafts projects were scattered throughout the museum. The stage in the Grand Atrium is at the front of the Wall of Icons, which is topped with the 12-foot-tall Rainier ‘R’ sign, and the museum had a variety of family-friendly performances throughout the day. Children of all ages gathered on the floor in front of the stage for the Louie Foxx one-man side show. Turning basic rules of physics into awesome tricks, Louie had my toddler holding her head in suspense and clapping for him when the tricks went well. He also kept the grown-ups laughing, which is a one-way ticket to getting hired for private events (yes, please!).
The museum itself is filled with a seemingly endless stream of exhibits, in chronological order, with lots of interactive stuff for kids. I loved the various post-it walls. One wall said, “What is your favorite movie about Seattle?” and people answered the question on a post-it and stuck it to the wall. My children loved “How would you redesign the city?” Jonah, my 8 year old, wrote “More subways.” Other children had written “Jetpacks” and “More Candy.” The whole process put a smile on my face. They got a kick out of the green screen in the movies and films exhibit, and it reminded me that some of my favorite movies took place here. From Say Anything to WarGames, we’re not just of Sleepless in Seattle fame.
My only complaint is that my children moved through it faster than I would have, so Ari and I are planning a date night for ourselves at the MOHAI. We love history, and we passed a lot of cool rooms that the kids weren’t interested in entering. I highly recommend the MOHAI for a family trip, for adults, for people looking for a daytime excursion (especially on Thursdays, when it’s free), and definitely for tourists looking for a truly Seattle-oriented experience.
860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 in South Lake Union Park
Open daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursdays 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
Senior (65 and older) / Student / Military $12
Youth, 14 and under (with adult) Free
First Thursday of every month Free