Museums

Explore a Museum!

Adapted from http://redtri.com/seattle/top-ten-free-or-cheap-things-to-do-with-kids-under-five-in-seattle/ and http://redtri.com/seattle/free-or-cheap-museum-days/

You can get free museum passes through the Seattle Public Library

Northwest African American Museum (Central District)

Free every first Thursday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 5 & under are always free. The exhibits and programs at this awesome museum feature the visual arts, music, crafts, literature and history of African Americans in the Northwest. Together with the community, the museum presents and preserves the connections between the Pacific Northwest and people of African descent and investigates and celebrates Black experiences in America through exhibitions, programs and events. Be sure to keep an eye on their events calendar for special events and programs throughout the year for families.

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (International District)

Free every first Thursday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. 5 & under are always free. At this fantastic museum, explore Pacific American history, art, and culture. Be sure to check out KidPlace, the Museum’s dedicated gallery to kids and families. And keep an eye on their events calendar for Family Fun Days where teaching artists lead a day of fun and art for the whole family. Psst! Most of the kids’ exhibits feature interactive elements such as videos, sounds and games, sure to please your whole brood.

KidsQuest Children’s Museum (Bellevue) 

Free during the weekdays for the one and under crowd.

MOHAI (South Lake Union)

Museum of Science and Industry (MOHAI) is free on the first Thursday of the month from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and kids under 14 are always free.

Every first Thursday, MOHAI has a theme, be it related to one of their current exhibits or to an independent, Northwest-related theme. Activities, events, demonstrations and more will all revolve around the theme and are always family-friendly. Or grab an Exploration Pack (designed for ages 3-7) filled with activities, puzzles, books and more or an Innovation Pack (designed for ages 7-10) filled with gear to help kids use creative thinking as they explore the museum. Both are free with adult museum admission, so this means they’re totally free for kids! Check out all of MOHAI’s family friendly events here.

The Center for Wooden Boats

Kids love wandering the docks, getting up close and personal with tugboats, canoes and sailboats (not to mention the seaplanes taking off nearby). Catch a free Sunday Public Sail (we recommend getting there early to claim your spot in line!) or the bi-monthly free Tugboat Storytime aboard the historic tugboat Arthur Foss (11 a.m.-noon). On the first Thursday of the month, take advantage of free Toy Boat Building from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. and free tours aboard the Virginia V and Tugboat Arthur Foss from noon-5 p.m.

Klondike Gold Rush Museum (Downtown Seattle)

Always free for everyone. Open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

If you have a family of history buffs, you don’t want to miss this little nugget (see what we did there?) of a museum located in Pioneer Square and close to the International District and its plethora of restaurants. Not too crowded, with Park Rangers ready to answer your questions—this is a fun little museum run by the National Parks (who knew?) right in our backyard.

Museum of Flight (Boeing Field)

Free every first Thursday from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.  4 & under are always free.

Check out the Museum’s Space: Exploring the New Frontier exhibit where you can land the Apollo lunar module or walk through a full-sized replica of the International Space Station’s Destiny Research Lab and see new interactive features and new artifacts including the Saturn V F-1 engines brought up from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean by Bezos Expeditions. The Museum of Flight Tower at Boeing Field is always a hit with little airplane pilots and hearing the King County International Airport air traffic controllers in real-time is pretty darn awesome, too.

Frye Art Museum (First Hill)

Always free for everyone (includes free parking). Open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Check out the Museum’s Small Frye: Storytelling + Art, which bring local actors and musicians to present fun and inspiring performances for the littlest art lovers. Other activities include counting, recognizing sizes, shapes, colors and patterns as well as enacting animal activities and identifying weather The program is designed for kids ages 3-5 and their caregivers and occurs on the first Friday of the month from 10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Note: Seating is limited and attendance at storytelling is required for art activity; reservations are recommended. Admission is free.

Seattle Children’s Museum (Seattle Center)

11 months & under always free. Passport 2 Play program gives qualifying families free or reduced admission.

Located in the shadow of the Space Needle, the Seattle Children’s Museum boasts over 22,000 square feet of play space, designed for kids ages 10 months to 10 years, and is where you can find plenty of hands-on exhibits to explore as well as daily educational programs, story times and art activities that are free with the cost of admission. Check out the Museum’s daily calendar—it’s jam-packed with fun programs that are always new and changing!

Seattle Art Museum (Downtown)

Free every first Thursday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (special exhibits are half price). 12 & under are always free.

On select Saturdays, SAM hosts Family Fun events which include art, special performances, kid-friendly exhibit tours and more. Always open family-friendly areas include the Knudsen Family Room (think blocks, dress up and drums), the ACE Project (interactive exhibits along the Art Ladder, which is the grand staircase where Sammy the Camel lives) and a chance to get the wiggles out or create a masterpiece in the Chase Open Studio. During the winter months, Kids’ Saturdays in the Park gives little artists the opportunity to explore the Olympic Sculpture Park, get creative with drop-in art activities and have fun learning with community partners—all for free! Check out more family fun here.

Olympic Sculpture Park (Downtown Waterfront)

Always free for everyone on the Seattle Waterfront. The park is open 30 minutes prior to sunrise ’til 30 minutes after sunset.

Living Computers Museum + Labs (Sodo)

Free every first Thursday from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. 5 & under are always free. Exhibits at this hands-on museum include working vintage Teletype, Commodore and Apple computers and little gamers can play games like Pong or Pac-Man on an original Atari system. If your kids love to build, they can also create to their heart’s content in the Museum’s Maker Space. Let’s get programming!

Here are other free museum days to put on your calendar.

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