We decided that we just couldn’t get enough of Summer. Our friend, Summer, that is. Which is why we ended up back in Seattle for a second weekend of adventures in the city. After a week of frolicking through the Olympic National Forest, we made our way back onto the ferry and across Puget Sound for round two.
We decided that we had gone far too long without going to a museum so we opted for the most oddly shaped one that Washington could muster. That ended up being the Museum of Popular Culture, which is maybe a block from the Space Needle. We had driven past it a few times during our first trip to Seattle, leaving our curiosity peaked as we admired the very unique architecture from a distance. The building is an experience in itself. It is entirely made of massive, colorful structures that look like fabric blowing in the breeze.
Fees for the museum were a little steep at $20 for parking and $35 per ticket but it was definitely worth it, the museum kept us busy for hours. But, if you were looking to enjoy the weirdness of Seattle without the high price, I would recommend visiting the playground at the front of the building. It is affectionately named Artists at Play and you probably couldn’t think of a more appropriate name if you tried. Imagine, if you will, industrial looking metal structures that vaguely resemble slides and jungle gyms. It was like the post apocalyptic version of your typical playground (Seattle, what’s with you and the Mad Max looking parks?). There were even musical additions to some parts of the play set. Swings had chiming bells above them, giant metal pipes used billiard balls that you would pull to create musical tones, and different cranking mechanisms caused mallets to beat on different sized bells. It was a curious kid’s paradise created by artists to facilitate musical exploration.
We eventually made it inside the building, after an hour of reverting back to children and playing on the playground. The museum itself is divided into 11 different exhibits, 7 of which we actually explored. Upon entering, you are immediately sucked in by a mass of string instruments artfully suspended from floor to ceiling in a tornado like shape. It was something to behold. We found our way into the first exhibit, the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, which included all kinds of “artifacts” from the genres most impactful film creations and creators. The likes of which included Luke Skywalker’s severed hand and the Right Hand of Doom from Hellboy. Needless to say, we were geeking out pretty hard there.
The Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds exhibit was next. I must say, MOPOP is God when it comes to exhibit design. The Star Trek portion was just what you would expect, a futuristic viewing area that resembled the control room of the Starship Enterprise. And did I mention the stairs? The stairway had the beginning sequence speech “Space: The Final Frontier” printed on it. I don’t know much about Star Trek but I know that was really cool to see. Other than that, we got to see costumes from the movies and TV series, super spacey weapons, and a box full of Tribbles.
It was then that we came across the most incredible, perfect, amazing, and magical spot in the entire museum; the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic Exhibit. I am almost certain I startled some passers by with my excited screeching. Can you blame me though? There was a dragon in there. A dragon. I was also surrounded by costumes from some of my favorite franchises; Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. They had Sting, Bilbo’s sword, Sirius Black’s cloak, even costumes from the original Wizard of Oz movie. On top of that, there was a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien explaining Hobbits to some professor. It also had a giant metal tree in the middle of the room that had a cute little cottage looking room inside the trunk filled with images of dragons and witches and all sorts of magical happenings.
The next spot was another Science Fiction exhibit that was a lot like the Fantasy one in the sense that it was decorated really cool and it was filled with amazing stuff. Of course, because of the genre, the room looked like we had boarded another spacecraft with it’s industrial and futuristic type displays and the interactive portions that resembled a flight deck. Aside from that, it was filled with some pretty awesome Sci-Fi artifacts ranging from models of the Millennium Falcon to props and costumes from Doctor Who. I was personally excited to see a life sized Dalek and Cyberman that were actual costumes used on the show.
Onward from there was the Can’t Look Away: the Lure of Horror Film Exhibit. The horror film enthusiast in me was squealing with excitement. The entrance into the room set the mood with some dark and ominous branches lining the hallway. The room itself was lit with red lightbulbs and separated into small rooms lined with more jagged black branches. The exhibit was smaller than the other ones and had a lot less to look at and enjoy, unfortunately. There were a few film artifacts and some pretty interesting displays that involved the origins of horror movie monsters and special commentaries on classics, such as the Bride of Frankenstein and The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. I think the most impressive and exciting thing though were the pages from Bram Stoker’s original Dracula manuscript. Goth cliches be damned, I was freaking out over them. They had his hand written edits on them! Bram Stoker, the father of aristocratic vampire novels, touched those pages!
Okay, I’m done nerding out now.
The final experience that we had was everything Indie Games and Eli was a kid in a candy store. This exhibit was definitely decorated the coolest. Honestly, the decor in MOPOP is a museum attraction all in itself. I felt like we were walking into video game with all of the colorful pixels floating around the room. Little spots were designated throughout for you to test your video gaming skills with some unique and stylistically impressive games. We goofed around and competed with each other in a couple games. Eli made sure to take full advantage of this opportunity since he has been suffering these past few months without any PC or console games to play, poor boy.
It was there that we ended our final Seattle adventure and made our way back to Summer’s house where we spent the night cooking dinner and watching movies. We spent one last day in Seattle before we moved on to Snoqualmie to visit an old family friend and, of course, see the giant waterfall in the area. We have quickly made our way through Washington and are almost into the unknown territories of Idaho and Montana but we are excited for what we will find there and as always, everything is fine.