The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had At A Museum

WARNING: PICTURE HEAVY POST COMING!!!!!

I only had one day to spend sightseeing in Seattle. I did the obligatory trip to the Pike Place Market and saw them throwing fish and then I had the rest of the afternoon available. I was going to go on a ferry but it was cold, raining and windy (even for Seattle standards). Looking for other things to do, I asked our wonderful group of readers for suggestions before the trip. Here’s one of the replies.

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Now the name sounded interesting but I didn’t know if I’d have the time to visit. When I saw that the weather would be bad, I read more about the museum right before my trip. I almost fainted as it looked like I found Geek Nirvana.

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
325 5th Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98109

The museum is a little bit outside of downtown Seattle, right near the Space Needle. I took a $5 UBER ride to get there and when I arrived I thought the building looked familiar. As it turns out, this building was founded in 2000 as the Experience Music Project (I remember watching when that museum opened on MTV, back when they showed music videos and music news).

The Museum of Pop Culture name was adopted in 2016 as the museum’s theme shifted from just music to cover all mediums of pop culture for mega fans everywhere, and I loved every second of it.

Let me say that there was no doubt I was going to visit when I checked the website and I saw that I was able to catch the last weekend of a limited time exhibit, “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited”

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This exhibit, which was an additional $8 over the normal admission price, was worth every penny. They didn’t waste any time giving people what they came there to see. Here’s the first thing you saw when entering.

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I mean, that’s not fair. How can you top having Kermit at the entrance. It wasn’t hard as Jim Henson’s influence on pop culture spanned several decades. From Sesame Street:

 

 

to The Muppet Show;

 

 

Fraggle Rock;

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and feature films Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal

 

 

I was emotionally exhausted and that was only the first exhibit. I headed onto another area, Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds (which has been extended until May 28, 2018)

They covered the whole Trek Universe from TOS;

 

 

to TNG;

 

 

DS9:

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Voyager;

 

 

And even things from Enterprise and all generations of the Star Trek movies like the new Khan costume (minus Benedict Cumberbatch)

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They even had a booth where you could record your best James T. Kirk “KKHHHHAAAANNNNN” scream.

If you were wondering how all of Trek fits together, they had a timeline for you.

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This is where I need to mention that these exhibits weren’t just rooms filled with memories of my past, as if that wouldn’t be enough. These were museum quality displays giving explanation into context and importance to items they were presenting. There was a story line to follow and it was really interesting just to walk around and read the history behind the things I loved.

If this wasn’t enough Pop Culture overload, when Michael Jackson’s Thriller played on the mega big screen about 100 people stood there and watched the whole thing.

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I was only done with less than half of the museum. My brain almost exploded.

From now on, just pictures.

They had an area called Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction.

 

 

There was also an area devoted to Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic

 

 

and one devoted to horror movies called Scared to Death. Not my forte but I braved it and survived to tell the tale.

 

 

This was not all of the exhibits. There’s tons of things I didn’t take pictures of. I already felt like “that tourist” who took pictures of EVERYTHING. There were video exhibits everywhere. You could spend hours (or a whole day if that’s your thing, and it could easily be my thing) and not see everything. I mean come on, this was their loading bay door.

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The museum is constantly rotating in new exhibits. This is the next one coming soon, just in time for Infinity War for all you Marvel fans.

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I’m so thankful that one of our readers turned me on to this. I probably would have missed it otherwise and kicked myself in the rear for the rest of my life.

I did manage to get one selfie when I was there. How could I help not getting a picture with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker.

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By now, you’ll know if you will give your right arm to visit here or if you’re just, meh. I’m telling you, this was one of the best times I’ve EVER had at a museum.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top (if you’re on your computer) or the bottom (if you’re on your phone/tablet) of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just once or twice a day). Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group, where we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel  articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

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A Trip To The Neon Museum Is A Must See In Las Vegas

When we knew we were going to visit Las Vegas last fall, we asked our readers about places we should visit and Mary Lee C. mentioned that we should visit The Neon Museum. Located just a short distance from the classic Las Vegas hotels on Fremont Street, the museum, founded in 1996, is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. Besides that, they have a big bunch iconic neon Las Vegas signs on their lot and Mary Lee knew that was right in our tacky tourist sweet spot.

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Tickets On Sale Now For Museum of Ice Cream

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 10.04.14 PM.pngThe Museum of Ice cream is a pop up that has been taking Instagram by storm since mid-2016 (so far about 100,000 posts have included the hashtag #MuseumOfIceCream). An interactive (hello, 5 sense INCLUDING taste!) exhibit that celebrates all that is cold, sweet and creamy, it’s opened in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco (oftentimes with frequent extensions of how long it stays open – as of this writing, Los Angeles will stay open into this month and San Francisco will now remain open until February 2018) and the newest installation is opening next week!

Continue reading “Tickets On Sale Now For Museum of Ice Cream”

This Museum Has Burgers, Comfort Foods and Nostalgia, All Rolled Into One Place!

If you’re a fan of fast food, hamburgers, and/or comfort food, boy, do we have a museum for you! And just so you know, we’re talking about the only museum in the United States dedicated to burgers and comfort food!
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Visiting The National September 11 Memorial & Museum

I grew up living in Northern New Jersey and  could see the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the Manhattan skyline from the windows of my high school.  I’d been to the World Trade Center several times as a child to take in the sights from the observation deck.

During my first trip back to New York after the attack on 9/11, I remember driving on the New Jersey Turnpike and looking toward Manhattan. This was a drive I’d been on countless times before. This time there was something missing; there was a huge, empty space.

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Me and my mom on the observation deck of the Twin Towers (c. late 1970s)

September 11th means something different to everyone. We’ve talked about visiting the museum and memorial on previous trips but Sharon just didn’t want to go – she’s not ready. While I was traveling with my father on my most recent trip to New York, we had a free day and both decided that we wanted to go.

I’m not going write a review or give you thoughts about my visit. My feelings are very personal and I think everyone has the right to experience the location without being told how to feel. What I will do is give you some tips and hints that I discovered during our visit that hopefully will help you plan your time there.

Things To Know

The location is split up into two separate areas. There is the 9/11 Memorial which is the outside area – it includes the park, waterfall and reflecting pools. This area does’t need any ticket or admittance fee. The 9/11 Memorial Museum is the area located underground and holds the exhibits and displays. You can buy tickets online if you know your plans in advance. I’d suggest this, as it will keep you from having to queue outside before entering. There are discounted tickets for seniors and veterans. Active duty and Retired U.S. Military are admitted for no charge. We arrived about 20 minutes before our ticketed time but had no issues in entering right away.

How To Get There

Getting to the location is very easy using the subway. Since we were staying near Columbus Circle it was easy to catch a train and exit at the Chambers St. stop. I’d recommend using an app such as Google Maps  to tell you which train to take. This helps because it lists the train line and destination (that’s how you know you are getting on the correct train). It also shows the stops along the way and even when the train is due to arrive. The one caveat is that, unfortunately, the New York subway doesn’t run as efficiently as in other cities like the London Underground or Tokyo subway. In New York, it’s always a guessing game as to when the next train will be coming.

After getting off the train at Chambers St., there’s signage for which way to exit the platform for the 9/11 Memorial but the signs sort of stop when the time comes to figure out which set of stairs to take. We just picked one and it was easy enough to find our bearings once we got to street level. One of the first things we saw was the Freedom Tower. It was a short walk from there to the entrance to the museum.

You can also take an taxi/Uber/Lyft to get to the Memorial from your hotel. However, traffic in Lower Manhattan is usually horrible and there is a lot of construction in the area so it’s probably not your best choice.

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Freedom Tower

Self-Guided And Guided Tour Options

The museum does offer a self-guided audio tour. The least expensive version is a free app that you can download to your phone or tablet from Apple or Android. The whole tour downloads so you don’t need to have reception in the museum to use it.  I had forgotten about this before arriving but was able to download it right at the tour desk on the upper level. The person at the tour desk watched to make sure it downloaded correctly. I didn’t bring headphones but they were able to sell me a cheap pair. My dad has the new iPhone with no headphone jack and had left his bluetooth headphones at home. He had to rent the tour on a iPod-like device and leave his drivers license as a deposit.

The tour is narrated by Robert DeNiro and is very well done. It gives some information and leads you from area to area. It doesn’t lead you to specific items (except for a few iconic displays) but instead lets you look around and explore on your own. There are also several guided tours of both the memorial and the museum. They take 45-60 minutes and cost $15-$20. I’m not one for being led around in a large group so we didn’t sign up for one. You can purchase this with your ticket ahead of time or they were taking sign ups the day we were there. Even on an day that wasn’t crowded, the tours did seem to be selling out for the afternoon time slots, so book in advance if that is your type of thing.

Entering And Touring The Museum

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Entrance Building to the Museum

You have to go through airport-style security to enter the museum, including taking off your shoes and belt. They also don’t allow large bags or backpacks in the museum so leave them at your hotel. The information desk, tour desk, restrooms and coat check are one level down from the entrance level; this is where the tour starts. It was a bit confusing on where to start the audio tour. There is one display on the top floor that’s talked about and then you need to walk all the way down to the exhibit levels for the next stop. We kept looking for the next area, so we wound up initially walking past most of these displays. In retrospect, you can listen to the opening, take your time walking down and reading, and then restart when you get down to the main level. I know that sounds a little confusing but it makes more sense when you’re there.

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The audio tour takes you from area to area and give some background. We followed the tour to the entrance to the Historical Exhibition. This is located in the original footprint of the North Tower. This, by far, is the most intense area of the museum. The audio tour says that if you have time, to enter the exhibit and yes, if I only had a limited amount of time, I would go to this display first. It’s the most important part of the museum to see, IMHO. There were way too many displays to see in the time we had.

They rightfully prohibit photography and usage of cell phones in this and several other areas of the museum. Unlike other places, most people were respectful of the rules but the staff also would remind those who were not.

Per the website:

Photography, videography, and audio recording is prohibited in the following Memorial Museum areas:
• Security screening area (ground floor entrance inside the Museum Pavilion)
• September 11, 2001 (the historical exhibition), except whereas otherwise posted
• In Memoriam (the memorial exhibition)
• Auditorium (second floor inside the Museum Pavilion)
• Rebirth at Ground Zero (film presentation)
• South Tower Gallery (interstitial space).

Cellular phones must be silenced, and not used for placing calls, while visitors are in the Memorial Museum’s Exhibition Spaces. Phone calls can be made from the Concourse Lobby level and from the Museum Pavilion’s auditorium level (2nd floor). If visitors are using a Smartphone with an audio component to provide information, they must use personal headphones, or keep the device silent, while in the Exhibition Spaces.

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The Last Column – The final piece of steel to be removed from the WTC site. It is covered with names, pictures and messages. It was transported from the site by an honor guard.

We finished making our way around following the tour in about 2-1/2 hours. There was still more to see but it is a very intense experience and that was enough time for us. Some of the displays are very emotional and the museum suggests using discretion if bringing younger children (their age suggestion is 10 years).

There’s a gift shop that sells all types of items related to your visit. They did provide my dad a discount for being a veteran.

From there, we headed outside to the Memorial. We had an early time to enter the museum so we didn’t really walk around the outside when we got there.

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9/11 Memorial Reflecting Pool and Waterfall.

The 9/11 Memorial is more the thing that will come to mind when you think of the site. The iconic reflecting pools and waterfall were the first things to reopen and are the location of the remembrance ceremonies on 9/11. The size and scope of them is impossible to capture just standing there. We silently walked around for a while and then decided to call it a day.

I was thinking about when I was flying to NYC back in 2002, I saw that empty space in the Manhattan skyline. That space was made very real when seeing the Memorial. It was right in front of me. A deep hole. However, when I left I didn’t feel a sense of loss or emptiness. There was a remembrance of what happened but also a sense of renewal. That in the face of the worst, we can be the people that we hope we are. I’m very glad my dad and I were able to visit.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top (if you’re on your computer) or the bottom (if you’re on your phone/tablet) of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just two or three times a day). Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group, where we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel  articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!