Located in Olympia, Washington, the Hands On Children’s Museum aims to stimulate the creativity, curiosity, and education of children through interactive exhibitions and programs. Visitors are sure to find a wide variety of world-class educational and entertainment opportunities for children of all ages.


The Hands On Children’s Museum was founded in 1987 and was established with one goal in mind: To be a “museum without walls”. This idea has made the museum quite popular with visitors of all ages. The museum has even been consistently voted “The Best Fun Place for Kids” for more than 10 years in a row, as well as “The Best Family Entertainment” and the best place for Family Fun by Destination magazine.

The museum started in a small facility located in Washington States Capital Campus until it outgrew its location and expanded in 1998. In a mere 3 years-time, the museum had a reputation for hosting more visitors than any children’s museum in the entire Northwestern United States.

Throughout the decade that followed, the museum expanded multiple times and eventually received a $9 million grant which was used to build its new campus along the downtown waterfront.

The museum focuses on educating visitors under the age of 10 about healthy lifestyles, the environment, construction, art, and design. Educators, parents, and children alike can all agree that they museum is truly an experience worth having.


Adult Swim 2018 Series: This series features a variety of educational and fun themed events for adults! In February, the museum is hosting the Love Bytes event where visitors can enjoy cocktails, learn about the science of chocolate, discover what makes relationships bloom in the digital world, and a wide variety of other love themed activities. There are a variety of these themed events year-round including one in April revolving around craft beer and one in November that is all about magic.

Boo Bash: This event is hosted each year in the fall and features a fabulous costume party! Visitors will not only enjoy delicious treats and fun activities, they will also get the chance to learn all about “monsters” as they hunt for bigfoot or aliens!

Imagine That! Luncheon: This event is meant as a fundraiser to aid low-income families in the Washington area. All proceeds go towards providing free admission to the museum for the children from less fortunate families. This year’s event is hosted on March 15, 2018, visit the website for more information about how to attend and contribute.

Dental Health Month: This event is hosted each February and aims to promote healthy dental hygiene through educational and entertaining interactive activities.

Summer Splash! + Gala: This event is the signature event of the museum and features 3 months of exciting, unique summer fun for the whole family. While the children are on summer holidays, they are invited to attend all activities hosted throughout the summer. There is typically a gala held at the end of summer as well.


First Friday Night: This program is hosted on the first Friday night of the month and features a different interactive learning experience. The upcoming dates and themes are: February 2, 2018, Dental Health Month; March 2, 2018, Nutrition Month; April 6, 2018, Robots.

MakeSpsace: This program features arts and crafts for young visitors to let their creative side flow. There are different crafts each week which coincide with educational programs. Access to this creative space is free with museum admission.

Sensory-Friendly Events: This program aims to provide special needs children with activities and programs that are sensitive to their needs, including quiet and calming activities.

Educational Resources

Camps: There are a variety of camps offered at the museum, including half-day camps, winter, spring, and summer break camps, STEAM camps, morning and evening camps, and even camps for preschool age children. The museum offers a fully certified preschool as well.

Field Trips: There are a variety of field trip opportunities for children of all ages at the museum. Visitors are sure to be engaged and entertained as they interact with the world around them The field trips at the museum are often known as “The best field trip ever”! Workshops may also be added to any field trip with topics such as engineering, construction, fossils, and design.

Nature Play Series: This program allows children to explore the natural world around them and learn all about what makes the Earth amazing.

Music Together: This program exposes children to the fabulous world of music. There are a variety of sessions held year-round featuring a variety of different instruments. Be sure to register for a session online.

Additional Information:

Hands on Children’s Museum, 414 Jefferson St NE, Olympia, WA 98501, Phone: 360-956-0818

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