Art galleries don’t usually welcome children with open arms. Or ask you to touch the art.
But Mindport, in Bellingham, Wash., is a different sort of gallery. The wooden works inside are meant to be used by hands big and small. It’s an artistic explosion of science, music and movement. Rube Goldberg would love this gallery-museum-playspace.
The light-filled entry gallery offers multiple workstations with awesomely odd contraptions, including a pneumatic ping-pong device that spins balls using forced air; a pun-riddled miniature train route; and a case with a hundred compasses — all controlled by the magnet in your child’s hand.
The second gallery has subdued lighting and natural items to explore — shells, bones — along with a music corner featuring a few guitars and light-and-sound invention that’ll have the kids dancing.
The gallery isn’t just for kids, and parents are expected to keep a watchful eye to ensure a child’s gentle hands. But the creators-owners encourage, explain and enthuse over visitors of all ages. After a short time, Mindport’s mellow calm will seep into your soul, and perhaps inspire an invention or two at home.
Best for: Children of all ages; not a place to go with cranky kids right before dinner or at naptime.
Mindport is located at 210 West Holly, in Bellingham, Wash. Hours are Wednesday through Friday noon-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday noon-4 p.m. It’s closed every Monday and Tuesday. Admission is $2.