A Sneak Peek Inside The New Hands On Children’s Museum


With special grand opening events throughout October and November, the New Hands On Children’s Museum is destined to be an instant landmark.  In the heart of downtown Olympia, with a beautifully landscaped outdoor space, the New Museum is a vital piece of economic development and revitalization.  Come along with our photographer as we sneak inside the New Museum to see what’s under way.

squirrelSquirrel Snoops Around Cedar Tree

Edge Concrete has built a replica of a real cedar tree.  Using chicken wire, concrete, silicone molds, PVC piping, and paint, the exhibit fabricator is creating an iconic two-story cedar tree.  The tree greets visitors when they enter through the main doorway.  Children can scurry inside the tree and discover little peep holes.

Tree limbs will extend over the entry.  The limbs are made with soft fabric leaves to mimic real trees.




Two Story Climber Gives Opportunity For Safe Danger

A wide open area holds space for the two-story, 70-foot climber.  Kids will be able to climb and maneuver all the way up the Tides to Trees Climber to reach the Eagle’s Nest.  After exploring the nest, looking out through huge windows, and crossing the rope bridge, children can then slide back down into Puget Sound.





Snug Harbor – Designated Space For HOCM’s Youngest Visitors

Designed for kids of all ages, the New Museum includes a special tot area.  Geared for kids under the age of four, this section of the Museum is up in a quiet corner.  Low steps give new walkers easy maneuvering and a low sink let’s them participate in messy play.  This entire area is designed to provide the necessary tools to encourage sensory development, imaginative play, and creative exploration.



muralPuget Sound Mural Covers Walls

Thanks to Heather Taylor-Zimmerman, a local artist, the bare walls of the New Museum are being filled with an intricate underwater landscape.  Her mural adds to the overall theme of the Museum.  This section, under development, educates children on underground sea life in Puget Sound.





Christopherson Wood Floors Inlays Nautical Designs

Christopherson Wood Floors made a significant contribution of materials and talent to design and install the beautiful floor of rustic maple.  On the upper floor, near the second floor landing, a beautiful compass has been inlaid.  In other places, Christopherson Wood Floors placed natural world images, such as a snail and leaf, into the floor design.




Outdoor Space – Fun for Kids + Adults

In this photo, a child sprinkles crushed colored glass into the outdoor fire pit.  The glass will be exposed once the concrete has been ground smooth.

The fire pit has recently been installed through a donation from Berschauer Phillips and Olympia Fireplace & Spa.  Covering over 3/4 of an acre, the outdoor space will be a safe place for children to explore their natural surroundings.  For example, children can ride trikes around a loop, climb a lookout tower, or check in on what’s growing in the children’s garden.

The outdoor space will also be popular for after-hours parties.  Large garage doors roll up to give visitors access to both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Red Fan Moves Air and Thoughts

Inside the water tower, is a large red fan.  The dome of the water tower also creates a cool echo when you stand immediately beneath it and talk.  The water tower provides a great overlook of the city and is the home of the Move It Gallery with a build-a-car station and race track.  Children can explore the city through large binoculars or use big air tubes to experiment with wind and gravity.


Drive by the East Bay project to watch the building continue to transform.  To learn more about exhibits, galleries, outdoor learning center, or to contribute to the legacy, click here.

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