If you haven’t been to the museum at the Foss Waterway Seaport lately, I’ve got two big reasons for you to go.
First, you need to find your coats. The museum is in old warehouse space, and it’s on the waterfront, which means the main part is only a little warmer than outside.
I still don’t want you to wait until spring, though. Why not? First, because if you go now you can see the skeleton of the Arroyo whale. The body of the whale washed ashore a year ago last spring, and a team led by Russ Higley of Highline has been cleaning and assembling it-no small task. As you might imagine, the skeleton is behind protective fencing, but just seeing the whole thing stretched out is plenty amazing. My 8 year old is getting harder and harder to impress, but he gave it a big, “Whoah! Awesome!” You can sort of see it in the terrible picture I took below. My camera battery died right after we got here. Surprise, surprise.
The other new feature of note is part of the collection of the late Bill Sommers, who was an avid collector of anything related to the maritime Northwest. The exhibit features just part of his collection, but it’s very well done, with whistles and horns that kids can try out, a scavenger hunt, and a small, “Touch me,” section. Henry loved it.
The permanent exhibits in the museum are also interesting, though your kids will likely want to camp out in the Discovery Wharf area. It’s about half the size of the current Children’s Museum of Tacoma (maybe 3/4?) and features all kinds of hands-on exhibits for kids. The highlight is the Faith, a fishing boat that has been repurposed just for pint sized sailors.
I always suggest calling before you head to this one, as they do get occasional field trips that close down the Discovery Wharf. On our visit we were the only ones there, and the boys played and explored for a solid 90 minutes before anyone made a peep about leaving.
When you’re done, take a walk along the waterfront. Just keep your kiddos close to you; this would be a chilly time of year for a swim!
The museum doesn’t participate in any free programs, but the admission is quite reasonable-7.00 for adults and 4.00 for kids, or there is a family rate of 15.00. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. To get there, you head down Schuster parkway and then turn right to go down to the waterfront. It’s just past that Dock restaurant complex.