Located on Bainbridge Island off the coast of the state of Washington, the Kids’ Discovery Museum, commonly known as KiDiMu, is an interactive children’s science and art museum offering a variety of hands-on exhibits and public educational programming.

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History

The Kids’ Discovery Museum was the vision of a community group of Bainbridge Island citizens, who formed a nonprofit organization for the development of an interactive educational facility dedicated to housing science and art exhibits for children and families. The museum was opened in April of 2005, showcasing a rainforest-themed inaugural exhibit. Additional exhibits were installed following the museum’s move to a new permanent facility, which was officially opened to the public in June of 2010. The new facility was recognized in 2011 by the United States Green Building Council for its environmentally-friendly design and operational practices, meeting LEED Silver standards for its core and shell and its commercial interiors.

Permanent Exhibits and Attractions

Today, the Kids’ Discovery Museum, commonly referred to as KiDiMu, is a part of Bainbridge Island’s Island Gateway cultural center, which also houses the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, a public garden facility, and a number of private businesses and restaurants. The museum is a member organization of the Association of Children’s Museums and the Northwest Association of Youth Museums. More than 35,000 annual visitors attend the museum, which offers a variety of interactive exhibits geared toward presenting family-friendly STEM and arts learning experiences for the youth of Bainbridge Island and beyond.

A variety of hands-on exhibits and permanent installations are offered at the museum, emphasizing sensory exploration aspects and encouraging interactive play for family members of all ages. The museum’s Pirate Tree House serves as its centerpiece exhibit, stretching two stories high and offering dress-up, imaginative roleplay, and active play activities. The treehouse’s top floor is a designated “no parents’ land,” offering birds’-eye views of museum exhibits and a giant slide. An Our Town exhibit recreates a small town main street, offering a variety of storefront exhibits, such as a Dollar and Sense Financial Center, a Grocery Store, and a Medical Center with interactive play activities to emphasize career principles and social interactions. A recreated Waterfront Park area features a climb-aboard KiDiMu Ferry, while a real scale-model Electric Car emphasizes sustainable energy principles. A Construction Zone exhibit also allows children to explore engineering and construction concepts through interactive play.

At the museum’s Science and Literacy Hall, STEM principles are introduced through fun, hands-on activities and exhibits, including a Big Blue Blocks playspace, which was chosen by the blocks’ Imagination playground manufacturing company as the best exhibit of its kind as part of a playspace design contest.Motion Madness and Fun With Physics exhibits emphasize concepts such as gravity, velocity, acceleration, and friction through free play with golf balls, while a Discovery Videomicroscope exhibit offers opportunities for children to explore the microscopic aspects of natural and scientific concepts. A Light Wall allows children to create colorful designs with giant pegs, while a Magnet Wall introduces magnetic principles in a creative play environment.

Reading literacy is the focus of the museum’s Imagination Station, which offers a puppet theater, soapbox derby race car, and train table, along with a variety of books and puzzles for independent family play. The museum’s Art Studio lets children of all artistic skill levels explore their inner creativity, with rotating weekly art activities themed around a particular medium or activity theme. A year-round climbing wall, solar-powered water table, and easel painting area are offered as part of the museum’s Outdoor Play Area, while a Totally TOT exhibit offers safe play experiences for the museum’s youngest visitors structured around Waldorf School educational principles. A museum gift store also offers a wide variety of educational toys, books, and souvenirs.

Ongoing Programs and Education

A wide variety of educational programming is offered by the museum, including live daily demonstrations and hands-on activities. Curriculum-incorporated field trips are available for elementary school groups, and a summer camp program developed around Washington State Early Learning and Development Guidelines offers small-group activities led by instructors. Weekly special events include Messy Monday watercolor workshops, Tuesday Tunes song and dance groups, and Sensory Sunday programs for children on the autism spectrum. A monthly First Thursday event also allows families to attend the museum free of charge. Annual public special events include an Easter egg hunt, a Halloween costume swap, and a gingerbread house construction station and display. The museum may also be rented for private special events such as birthday parties, community functions, and business events.

301 Ravine Lane, Bainbridge Island, WA, Phone: 206-855-4650

More: Things to Do on Bainbridge Island