Seattle’s Burke Museum

With Seattle being the U.S. epicenter of a rising pandemic, now is the perfect time for me to write about touristy things to do there, right? I just finally got around to purging about eight months worth of photos from my phone and found oodles of stuff that I’ve been meaning to write about here. Rather fortuitous timing, actually, because my phone completely died two days after I downloaded the 1000+ photos on it. New phones are on the way for both Zach and I, and in the meantime I’m just quarantined here at home. With four children. Alone. With no ability to call for backup. Or a doctor. We’re fine. Everything is fine. FIIIIIINNNNEEE. (*guzzles wine and chocolate to cope*).

So hop in the time machine with me and buckle up as we zip back to…Thanksgiving 2019.

We took a trip to visit Zach’s sisters and their husbands in Seattle for two days, followed by the rest of the holiday week in Puyallup with my parents. We decided this was the perfect opportunity to tour the newly rebuilt Burke Museum in Seattle with my parents. The Burke is a natural history museum, that for decades has had much of it’s inventory stored away behind the scenes because they simply didn’t have the space to display it. With their new three-story facility, there is a lot to see and explore, with tons of hands-on opportunities for all ages.

Right off the bat, Zoey was sucked into a hands-on display where she could practice weaving threads of ribbon in imitation of the way Native Americans would weave baskets and garments. I think she would have been happy to just stay right there for at least an hour.

Weaving ribbons

There were a lot of things geared toward the 5-12 age range right next to this display. Lots of hands-on ways to understand what life was like for Native people a hundred years ago or more. It was all really interesting for us adults too, but I love the way they make it interactive and understandable for younger generations as well. The Burke staff have really done and excellent job curating their exhibits to appeal to all ages.

Throughout the museum, there was scavenger hunt for stuffed “Dubs” (the UW Huskies mascot). The kids had a lot of fun hunting for him.

Dubs is pretty cute!

I loved being able to share this experience with my parents. The kids were so happy to see Grandma and Grandpa, and my dad is like a kid in a candy store anytime you let him near a museum. It was a fun way to kick off our week together. Family-centered, interactive and educational.

One of the favorite places for all my kids was the “toddler” area on the upper floor. There were kid-sized tables and chairs, areas to pretend to smoke meat and cook vegetables over a fire, row a canoe, and play in a pretend tidepool, among many other things. The kids were happy to have an area to just play, explore and not be rushed through.

Dinah stacking blocks
Cooking up some salmon and veggies
You can’t go anywhere educational in Seattle without learning about tidepools. It’s a requirement.

Alden, of course, was thrilled by the room with all the dinosaur fossils.

Overstimulated by also very happy.

The new Burke has a little something for everyone, and I definitely recommend it as a family outing. I especially love the way they pay a lot of respect to the cultures being presented. I also like the way that museum-goers can walk past walls of floor-to-ceiling windows behind which the actual UW scientists are doing their work. Science should always be done in the open, in my opinion. It inspires future aspirations of scientific careers, as well as making every step of the process visible to the public to learn about.

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