Located in Everett, Washington, the Imagine Children’s Museum is a nonprofit children’s museum offering a variety of hands-on interactive STEM, natural history, and arts-focused exhibits and public programming for young children and families. The Imagine Children’s Museum was the vision of an Everett, Washington citizens’ group, who wished to create a children’s museum facility to provide interactive educational exhibits and programming for area youth and families.
The Children’s Museum of Snohomish County nonprofit organization was founded in 1991, with a museum facility opening to the public two years later at a former storefront space in the nearby city of Marysville. In 1995, the museum relocated to a temporary space in downtown Everett while the county government proposed plans for a new permanent facility at Mill Creek’s McCollum County Park. While plans for the park facility fell through in subsequent years, a large donation by the Schack family of Everett allowed the museum to redevelop the a Everett Mutual Bank branch facility into a 20,000-square-foot museum, constructed at a cost of $4.75 million. The new museum officially opened to the public in October of 2004, rebranded as the Imagine Children’s Museum, and attracted more than 146,000 visitors within its first year of operations at the new location, a quadrupling of its previous annual visitorship. An outdoor rooftop playground was added to the facility in 2005.
Permanent Exhibits and Attractions
Today, the Imagine Children’s Museum is owned and operated as a nonprofit museum facility, serving more than 233,000 annual visitors and outreach programming participants. As a public museum facility and community educational resource, the museum strives to promote the power of learning to area children and families in a safe, interactive environment. In 2017, the museum achieved American Alliance of Museums accreditation, the highest recognition awarded to American public museums, and became one of less than 20 children’s museums throughout the nation to receive the distinction. The museum is also a partner organization of the Association of Children’s Museums, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, the Northwest Association of Youth Museums, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
A variety of STEM-focused exhibits are offered at the museum, including a Thinker Linkers wood-block construction studio, which encourages cognitive and social development through creative free engineering play and mathematical concept exploration. The Maestros magnetic playspace also uses Magformers magnetic shapes to encourage STEM-minded creativity. A Glow Zone focuses on sensory and light principles, while an Air-Mazing Laboratory teaches about air movement principles through an interactive tube playground setup. At the Imagine WaterWorks exhibit, children can explore the forces of gravity, lift, and flow dynamics through a number of water-based activities, while at the Imagine Air+Ball Tower, mock flight simulation within a tube maze allows children to launch their own miniature toy aircrafts and balls.
Interaction with the natural world is emphasized through the museum’s 9,149-square-foot Tall Timbers Rooftop Adventure playground, which offers dinosaur dig, timber climbing, and open-air musical instrument experiences. A Wildlife Clinic allows children to learn about animal biology concepts through free play with furry puppets and veterinary equipment, while a Rise and Shine Farm recreates a farm setting, allowing children to climb aboard a 1952 McCormick-Farmall Cub tractor and reenact daily farm life activities. A handcrafted Treehouse, carved out of the remains of a 100-year-old historic home on Ebey Island, offers bird’s-eye views of the museum’s main exhibit areas, while a SeaShore exhibit offers safe nature-themed play experiences for young visitors three and under.
At the museum’s Art Studio, children and families are encouraged to use natural and everyday materials in completing art projects, with an art facilitator on hand to provide positive encouragement. An Imagine Theatre allows children to take to the stage or try their hand at technical and administrative theatrical roles, while a Recollections Room provides multisensory dancing adventures against a colorful big-screen backdrop. The Piccolo Cafe playspace lets children take charge of their own make-believe restaurant, complete with a host station, a wood-fired oven, and a stocked kitchen. A replica model Cascade Trail electric train, the Monte Cristo Railroad, also offers imaginative play experiences, while the PJ’s Place reading nook is stocked with age-appropriate books and comfortable family seating.
Ongoing Programs and Education
A wide variety of school and community educational programming is offered by the museum, including curriculum-incorporated field trip experiences for elementary and secondary school students, a mobile Museum-On-the-Go, and afterschool and scouting workshop programming. Birthday party packages are also offered for young visitors wishing to celebrate their birthdays at the museum, and toddler storytime groups are held periodically over the course of four-week sessions. Other regular community educational programming include a Spring Into STEM program, a Little Science Lab for preschoolers, an I-Engineers workshop, and a Science Sleuths weekly class series. Sensory-friendly programming is also provided for children on the autism spectrum. Public special event programming includes free admission nights every third Friday and community outreach programming providing make-a-wish programming for children and families in need.
1502 Wall St, Everett, WA 98201, Phone: 425-258-1006