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This year, Sola and I decided to try to visit as many different children’s museums around the Puget Sound as possible. So last week, we headed off to Bainbridge Island to visit the Kids Discovery Museum (KidiMu).
The most fun part about going to any of the islands around Seattle for kids is always the ferry ride to and from the island. Navigating the ferry system can be a bit intimidating if you are new to the area or are just visiting though. For one thing, there is no central ferry terminal. Depending on which island you want to go to, you need to go to a different place to catch the ferry. Fortunately, I had just purchased a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime at Walmart for just $79.92 (Rollback from $99.92) with Walmart Family Mobile PLUS, which offers unlimited talk, text, data for just $49.88 (and also happens to include a free movie on VUDU, which my hubby and I will enjoy watching on our Xbox 360 for a date night later in the month), so I was able to look up the ferry schedule and terminal location to figure out where I needed to go. The ferry to Bainbridge terminal is located at Pier 52, 801 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98104. I found the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime’s GPS system to be very helpful in finding the terminal, which is located behind buildings and fences.
In an ideal world, you would arrive at the terminal about 15 minutes before the ferry is to leave and you would purchase your tickets, get in line, and immediately board the ferry. In the real world, no matter how hard you try to time your arrival just perfectly, you will probably just miss the ferry and have to wait for the next ferry. Since you won’t know for sure when the ferry will leave, you do need to stay somewhat near your car, but the Seattle terminal does have bathrooms and places to eat. Still, it is best to come prepared with things to do. so Sola was more than happy to watch shows and play apps on the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime while we were waiting in line for the ferry in our car.
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/28aqc or your local Walmart for current pricing.
The ride to Bainbridge is 35 minutes, but since you probably will board the ferry about 10 minutes before departure, you will get to enjoy 45 minutes on the ferry. Once we’re on board, we head over to the galley. The food on WA State ferries is not the best, but there is something about eating on a boat that makes it Sola’s favorite place to eat. We then always like to head up top and enjoy the fresh air and views. This trip, the wind was insane! I honestly thought my camera was going to be ripped from my body, but Sola thought it was awesomely fun to be in so much wind. She would run under the shelter for a few minutes to catch her breath and immediately run back outside to enjoy being blown around.
The Kids Discovery Museum is actually within walking distance of the Bainbridge ferry, but we had brought our car because I knew that wasn’t going to be our only stop. Once again, we used the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime’s GPS system to find the museum. There are lots of cute shops, lovely restaurants, historical sites, art, and gorgeous views all within walking distance of the Bainbridge ferry also, so it is very easy to spend an entire day on the island without ever needing a car.
As far as children’s museums go, both Seattle and Everett’s children museums are larger than Bainbridge Island’s Kids Discovery Museum, but KidiMu has some unique features that you won’t find at either Seattle or Everett. KidiMu consist of two floors. The first floor is comprised of three sections, the Pirate Treehouse, Totally TOT, and Our Town. Pirate Treehouse is what you see first when you enter KidiMu. Kids can climb a rope ladder on one side of the treehouse and slide down the curly slide on the other. I liked this treehouse better than the one at Olympia’s Hands On Children’s Museum, because it was smaller and not so scary as Olympia’s treehouse.
The second exhibit that is on the first floor is Totally TOT, which is for children aged 0 – 36 months. These areas are always nice for families with only little ones, as parents don’t have to worry about the older kids tripping over crawling babies or body-slamming newly-walking toddlers. Also, it is nice to be able to sit in the area and breastfeed comfortably. The last exhibit on the first floor is Our Town. Our Town is made up with a variety of exhibits that let children use their imaginations. There is a pretend store, bank, construction zone, ferry, car, and more.
In general, at age seven, Sola was a bit old for the exhibits downstairs, but the upstairs was lots of fun for her. The first room we went to upstairs was the Art Studio. The art supplies that were out were just basic collage materials, but it was very nice to be able to be in a quieter room where Sola could get away from things, as she was starting to be a bit overwhelmed by all the kids running around (she is very easily overwhelmed by external stimuli). Interestingly, she made a much more elaborate collage with the museum’s materials than she ever makes at home!
After Sola had collected herself in the Art Studio, we went to explore the Science and Literacy Hall. It would be hard to say what Sola’s favorite part of the Science and Literacy Hall was. First, she enjoyed making a design on the large Light Wall. Then, she spent quite a bit of time experimenting with the golf balls in the Motion Madness, Fun with Physics installation. She would have loved to spend much longer exploring the videomicroscope, as she has recently become fascinated with microscopes, but the museum was getting ready to close. So she quickly ran over to the magnet wall and enjoyed designing a few contraptions.
On the way out, we briefly stopped by the outdoor play area, which offers a nice area for kids to burn off some energy outside by running around and/or climbing the rock wall.
The museum closes at 4 pm, so we still had time to enjoy the Bainbridge Island beach for awhile, before heading home on the ferry. All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend a mild winter day in Seattle.
To add a perfect ending to our perfect day, when we came back to our car on the ferry on our return trip to Seattle, we came out to this stunning view of the Seattle waterfront lit up at night.Which children’s museum is your family’s favorite? What is special about it? Please let us know in the comments as Sola and I might try to do a bit of a road trip and visit children’s museums in other states and we’d like to have personal recommendations to help us choose which ones to visit. By the way, if you’re looking to get a great phone for a great price with a great data package, be sure to check out Walmart Family Mobile PLUS. Their phones can be found in their electronics department.