â€œThe dinosaurs! The dinosaurs!â€
Thatâ€™s what my 4-year-old son demands, when I ask where he wants to go at the Pacific Science Center.
And itâ€™s true â€“ dinos are the big draw at this six-acre science playground, only a Monorail-ride away from downtown Seattle.
In the “Dinosaurs: A Journey Through Time” exhibit, robotic meat-eaters claw at a carcass, while a T. Rex towers over visitors. Screeches and cries fill the room, which can (at first) alarm very young kids. So encourage them to listen carefully â€“ youâ€™ll hear the soft whirring and clicks of these mechanical dinos. In one corner, you can even drive a dino skeleton: rotating the eyes, moving the body. By the time the kids leave, they’ll be fascinated, not frightened.
In the Insect Village, a wisecracking, robotic fly in a lab coat welcomes visitors, turning his human-size body as he speaks. Kids are repelled and fascinated by this guy â€“ reflecting our uneasy relationship with bugs â€“ and Iâ€™m always thankful that heâ€™s inside a cage. Man, I hate flies.
Keep going, and youâ€™ll pass a giant robotic scorpion and a praying mantis that looms over grandparents, parents and kids.
In glass terrariums, spiders, cockroaches and caterpillars creepy-crawl around their homes. At times, science center staff will take out cockroaches for a get-to-know-you session (better here than at home, right?).
The Tropical Butterfly house offers a steamy way to beat damp Seattle days. Stuff your coat in a cubby, then go inside and enjoy the warmth. Dozens of butterflies float through the air and sip on fruit. Stand still for a moment — the flutter of tiny wings creates breezes against your cheeks and hair. The fragrant flowersâ€™ smell hangs heavy in the sticky air. It’s like Hawaii without the flight and checked-baggage fees.
The Pacific Science Centerâ€™s touch tanks encourage toddlers to stroke a sea anemone, and the gated-off toddler-preschool area offers lots of climbing toys, music-making and water play, plus an area for breastfeeding moms. It’s a nice stop for family travelers.
Older kids enjoy the feats of physical strength, acuity and endurance in the Body Works Exhibit.
Donâ€™t gloat if you beat them. Be nice. Itâ€™s only a matter of time until they decide our nursing homes.
More Info: Throughout spring break, the Pacific Science Center is open until 5 p.m. on weekdays, 6 p.m. on weekends.
f you’re planning to travel to Seattle with your family, you may be able to take advantage of the ASTC passport program and gain entry for free.
Would you like a chance to win four free tickets to the Pacific Science Center? Tweet this link today (April 6, 2010) with the hashtag #GoPacSciÂ for a drawing at 5 p.m. If you’re not on Twitter, leave a comment below to enter.
5:04 PM UPDATE: Our winner is…Amy! Congratulations, Amy. Hope you have a nice time at the Pacific Science Center.