The Hand’s On Children’s Museum in downtown Olympia is always on the forefront of exciting events and celebrations. In the wake of their wildly successful Summer Splash—which attracted over 7,000 more guests to the Museum than last summer—the organization is gearing up for another family-friendly season.

hands on children's museum
Boo Bash kicks off Halloween weekend and is free for members. Photo courtesy: Hands On Children’s Museum.

From autumnal wreath-making, to playing with real snow, below is a list of must-do events and projects designed to make the fall and winter of 2016 ones to remember.

  1. Go Bug-Hunting: It’s time to get the little monsters dressed up for HOCM’s popular Boo Bash! Make a black light treat bag, visit with live bats and owls, climb through a black light spider web, check out a tank of glowing fish and more. New this year is Free admission for members. Other activities include getting batty in the art room and pressing apple cider.
  1. Attend Teacher Happy Hour: This special (Free!) night invites educators to explore exhibits, and enjoy appetizers and beverages while learning about field trips, workshops, and more.
  1. Meet Dancers from Ballet Northwest’s Nutcracker and Olympia Dance Center: Beginning Nov. 5, the special guests will arrive in full costume to engage museum guests and give demonstrations. Sundays in November.
  1. See the New Dog House: After Children’s China, a visiting exhibit, educated and entertained over the summer, the well-loved Emergency Gallery received a makeover, complete with a new mural of downtown Olympia and a cute dog house to play in.
  1. Experiment with your kids at the Hands On Children's Museum. Photo courtesy: Hands On Children's Museum.
    Experiment with your kids at the Hands On Children’s Museum. Photo courtesy: Hands On Children’s Museum.

    Press real cider and learn from the Mountaineers: As part of HOCM’s winter break programming, children can enjoy winter-themed arts and science activities , such as Snowflake Engineering and Bubbles, Ice & Slime.

  1. Craft a Gift: Silk screen a T-shirt, emboss a candle holder, make felted soap, and much more at the ongoing workshops in the museum’s MakeSpace. Holiday cards will be on the agenda every day in December.
  1. See Your Child’s Ornament on Display: Make a handmade ornament for the Bigelow House Museum. Nature-inspired holiday ornaments will adorn the three at the Bigelow House, featured on the Holiday Tour of Homes Sunday, Dec. 4, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  1. hands on children's museum
    The Hands On Children’s Museum turns the covered outdoor area into a dance floor for Noon Year’s Eve. Photo courtesy: Hands On Children’s Museum.

    Experience Outer Space: The popular series Adult Swim welcomes back a crowd favorite—Cocktails and Cosmonauts—where science-minded sippers can work their way through HOCM’s exhibits, and explore the galaxy, at this adults-only night at the museum.

  1. Pet a Bunny: Visiting with live animals has become a favorite activity for museum-goers. Bunnies and chickens will continue to delight through the season, with observation and petting encouraged.
  1. Hear from the Pros: Attend one of the museums best resources – parenting classes. From the popular series presented by Candyce Bollinger to free Power Parenting classes, topics cover teens to tots. You can even earn college credit.
  1. Ring in the ‘Noon’ Year: Celebrate 2017 the HOCM way! Cheer every hour on the hour as the new year hits each point on the meridian. Science, food, and art are part of the action. The Blizzard Beach Blast theme invites you to don your Hawaiian shirts and make your own leis, but don’t leave your mittens and hats at home. You’ll enjoy meeting warm- and cold-blooded animals, setting ice on fire, and freezing and smashing tropical fruits with Dr. Science. This event is now Free for members.

After the New Year! HOCM will be partnering with Crystal Mountain Resort, Twin Star Credit Union and The Olympia Mountaineers to bring in real snow to the museum. The special Snow Days event will be January 21 – 22, 2017.


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