This summer, Olympia’s Hands On Children’s Museum (HOCM) is hosting three, action-packed months of exciting interactive learning experiences to alleviate summer learning loss through its popular Summer Splash! event, a summer-long festival of fun, sponsored by WSECU.

The Olympia Fire Department will have their entire fleet at the Hands On Children’s Museum June 24 to teach kids about fire safety. Photo credit: Hands On Children’s Museum

Research shows that summer learning loss impacts student test scores, math computation, reading and spelling and that the achievement gap can persist through high school and college. “The educational component of the festival is at the core of everything we do,” says Amy Brockman, HOCM’s Senior Development Manager. “We want children to have substantial, in-depth experiences at the museum and an opportunity to visit the museum multiple times over the summer.”

The event kicks off in June with a Fire Rescue Spectacular on Saturday, June 24 thanks to the Olympia Fire Department. Families can tour a fleet of emergency vehicles including fire engines, fire boat, demo sprinkler trailer, police car, motorcycle and even a vintage fire truck. Children can design their own firefighting helmet, ride “Lil Squirt” a mini fire truck, meet police and fire heroes and have their picture taken with fire-fighting props. Young visitors will be encouraged to take the Junior Firefighter Challenge where they can use a fire hose, practices spraying down a flaming house and participate in the hose rolling competition.

Smokey the Bear greeted visitors on June 2 at the museum to get visitors excited for this month’s theme. Photo credit: Hands On Children’s Museum

To add to the festive atmosphere, Sparky the costumed fire dog will be on hand to greet visitors, Olympia’s Waterfront Kiwanis club will sell “Firehouse Hot Dogs,” and firefighters will serve free mini ice cream cones at the end of the event. Street activities are free to the public with a suggested donation of $5 to support the museum’s free and reduced programs.  Museum admission applies for all activities inside the Museum.

July’s theme is focused on Super Heroes and Stunts, sponsored by Olympia Federal Savings. The month features several headline events including the world renown XPOGO Stunt Team offering daily shows July 6-8. The high-flying athletes hold 13 Guinness Book of World Records, and have been featured on numerous media outlets including Ellen, the Today Show and the Tonight Show. Hero, the Canadian-based Super Collie is the world’s youngest champion trick dog and will perform captivating antics at the Museum as well July 21 and 22. Children can make masks, design their own super hero cape and meet their favorite costumed super heroes right at the Museum July 22-23.

HOCM Summer Splash
June’s theme aims to teach kids about fire safety, what to do in a fire and how fire fighters combat fires. Photo credit: Hands On Children’s Museum

August is all about Stars, S’mores and the Great Campout thanks to the Lucky Eagle Casino. The Museum of Flight will bring its mobile Planetarium right to Hands On August 11 and 12 so children can learn more about the night sky. An evening outdoor program, The Great Campout, will be held August 5 with a campfire sing along, roast s’mores, and special activities like learning to set-up a tent, making bug boxes and building a safe campfire. Kids will learn the science behind s’mores and end the night with a movie short under the stars.

The Summer Splash! Festival features live performers, animal guests, and special activities like the Rock Wall Climb and Painted Vintage Camper all summer so there is always something new to learn. And, families of all income levels can access the special events, since the Museum offers Free Friday Night hours the first Friday of each month. Military families, first responders, foster families and other groups receive special admission discounts. Families holding EBT cards may enter the Museum for free. In fact, all event proceeds are re-invested into the Museum’s free access programs support about 100,000 of the Museum’s 325,000 annual visitors.

For more information about the Festival visit the Hands On Children’s Museum website or call 360-956-0818 x0.



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