Updated March 2017
Have you been to the Harbor History Museum yet? Seriously, what are you waiting for? I mention the museum’s special events in my weekly lists, but it’s a great outing any day of the week with tons of interactive exhibits that invite your kids to touch and explore. You’ll want to make a point of going before the end of May so you can catch the current special exhibit, An Excellent Little Bay.
The museum is in downtown Gig Harbor. You’ll have to wind through the harbor to get to it (go 25). There is plenty of free parking right above. Hooray! After you get your tickets, go up and to the right, and you’ll end up exploring both galleries. As you might expect, exhibits tell about the history of the harbor, including the contributions of Native Americans, the first European settlers, and plenty about fishing, which was the area’s chief commerce for many generations. What I love, love, love, about this place is that there are bright, yellow symbols indicating when exhibits are meant to be touched, and we found one on almost every second exhibit. On our last visit, Henry got to row a boat through a virtual tour, examine eggs, man a fishing boat, and pull in a skein of stuffed salmon.
The special exhibit, An Excellent Little Bay, tells about the first explorers to visit Gig Harbor as well as tons about early exploration, in general. Even if you’ve only visited the Harbor a couple of times in your life, it’s an excellent exhibit with plenty of appeal for all. Here kid friendly exhibits are marked with bright sails, and again, there are tons of them. Henry enjoyed hoisting symbol flags, trying on costumes from the steamer trunk, and fishing plastic bugs out of barrels of rice and beans (it was tough stuff, living at sea for years). Outside of the museum is an area where you can check out boats and get in the museum’s sailboat. To the left, is one of the area’s original one room schoolhouses. Don’t forget to check it out! It’s been lovingly furnished, and your kids will enjoy finding out about how boys and girls learned in the old days.
Even if you have to pay the bridge toll, the admission is a very reasonable 7.00 for adults, 6.00 for students/military/seniors and 5.00 for kids 6-17. Kids under 5 are Free, and group discounts are available. I think most kids 4 and up would Love it, and you and your older kids won’t be bored, either. It’s open Tuesday and Sunday from 10-5.
Have you dropped anchor at the museum yet? Weigh in with your thoughts and tips! For more seaworthy fun, check out my post on the Working Waterfront Museum at the Foss Waterway Seaport. It’s also a very fun and affordable destination.