Although these past few days in the Northwest have been gloriously sunny and the flowers are already starting to bloom, there’s a chance there may be a few more winter-y days before it is officially springtime. Even if it does happen to be cold, gray and drizzly out (or all of the above) there are a variety of fun and interesting locations to explore around the Northwest. In fact, one of the best ways to beat those rainy day blues by heading to a nearby museum and learning something new!
Robert Bateman Centre
If you love animals and nature, make sure to check out the Robert Bateman Centre, which features over 100 works of art created by this famous wildlife artist. In case this wasn’t enough of a reason to visit, the museum is offering free admission on Wednesday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in March as part of their Winter Wednesday program.
Royal British Museum
Discover the history of Victoria and British Columbia at the Royal British Museum by exploring the First People’s, Modern History and Natural History galleries. The most recent traveling exhibit, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014, runs until April and showcases award-winning images of nature taken by some of the world’s most respected photographers.
Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
View the marine life of the Salish Sea at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. The Centre houses over 3,500 animals, such as fish, eels, octopuses, jelly fish, anemones, crabs and more! Besides getting to see these creatures up close and personal, you will also learn what you can do at home to protect local waters so these wonderful animals are here for generations to come.
Pay a visit to Victoria’s Parliament Buildings to learn about British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly and view the beautiful architecture and stained glass windows of the buildings. There are daily guided tour or you can explore on our own. With Parliament in session for much of March, April and May you may even have the chance to sit in on a meeting.
Experience Music Project (EMP)
Indulge in everything music, the history, the culture and play around with the instruments themselves in this eye-catching museum. In addition to music, the Experience Music Project often features special pop culture showcases such as the We are 12 featuring Seahawks memorabilia or the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic that includes costumes and props from movies and shows like The Princess Bride, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.
Boeing Future of Flight Tour and Museum of Flight
Explore where many of the planes you travel on are assembled, manufactured and flight tested on the Boeing Future of Flight Tour in Everett. You can then travel down to the Museum of Flight in South Seattle to see the finished product, as the Museum has more than 150 air and spacecraft related artifacts.
Chihuly Garden of Glass and Museum of Glass
Visit what seems like a different world entirely at to the Chihuly Garden of Glass, which is filled with local artist Dale Chihuly’s beautiful glass sculptures. You can also head down to Tacoma to see more of Chihuly’s work, exhibitions and collections by other artists and watch live glassmaking in the Hot Shop.
Seattle Pinball Museum
Pinball wizards rejoice! The Seattle Pinball Museum features over 30 different pinball machines that were created as early as 1930 and as recently as 2010. Of course, the best part is that for a flat fee you can play on all of them for as long as you want!
One of the city’s much loved attractions for visitors of all ages, the Seattle Aquarium has a variety of Puget Sound animals on display, such as tide pool life, octopuses, sharks, fish and marine mammals and shore birds. You will also get a chance to experience sea life you might not normally see from the tropical Pacific.
A trip to Vancouver is not complete without a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium, which is the largest in Canada and one of the five largest in North America. In addition to viewing impressive displays of jelly fish, local and exotic fish, and even reptiles and amphibians, you can check out live shows featuring beluga whales, dolphins and sea lions.
Vancouver Maritime Museum
Designed to educate people about the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic, the main exhibit in the Vancouver Maritime Museum is the St. Roch a historic arctic exploration vessel. However, the Museum also houses extensive galleries of model ships and maritime art. Outdoors, visitors can look on as craftsman build model boats.
Find out everything you ever wanted to know related technology and science at Science World. The Museum’s many galleries offer hands on exhibits to educate you about the power of the human body, allow you to create experiments of your own, explore the wonders of nature, discover how to help establish a more sustainable future for all of us and more.
Vancouver Police Museum
Ever wonder what it is like to be a part of the police department? If so, make sure to pay a visit to the Vancouver Police Museum to see the city’s old police office, coroner’s courtroom, morgue and autopsy facilities, discover the history of Vancouver Police Department and learn about the science of policing.
HR Macmillan Space Centre
Explore space without even leaving the ground at the H.R. Macmillan Space Centre. Educate yourself all about the universe, our planets and space exploration and enjoy shows in the planetarium star theatre.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
Ranked as one of the top science centers in the United States, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has five exhibit halls, eight hands-on science labs, the USS Blueback submarine, Kendall Planetarium and the Empirical Theater, providing people of all ages plenty of opportunities to learn.
Founded in 1971, Powell’s City of Books is one of the largest independent new and used bookstores in the world. The store covers about 68,000 square feet and has an inventory of over four million new, used, rare and out of print books. Rated by CNN as “one of the ten coolest bookstores in the world,” Powell’s is a must for anyone who reads.
Immerse yourself in the world of hats at the Portland Hat Museum, which has over 1,000 hats that have been carefully chosen in styles of past eras. As such, visitors will get a lesson in history as well as in fashion. Make sure to contact the museum before you visit to arrange a private tour or you will not be able to get in.
Portland Art Museum
The oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Art Museum is well known for allocating most of its space to permanent exhibitions. As much, the Museum has an extensive collection of European and American art as well as galleries of English silver and graphic arts.
Peek into the past at Pittock Mansion. Home to Portland pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock from 1914 to 1919, this mansion overlooking the city has an eclectic design and a rich history, making a must see for Northwest history buffs.