August Adventure Awaits: Stars, S’mores & The Great Campout at the Hands On Children’s Museum

Olympia Children's Museum
A long-standing summer favorite at the Hands On Children’s Museum, the rock wall will return this August. Photo credit: Hands On Children’s Museum

Summer Splash!, at Hands On features three months of exciting interactive learning experiences designed to engage children and alleviate summer learning loss when kids are out of school. Each month includes headline events, themed adventures, live performers, unique activities and special guests.

The Great Campout gives kids the chance to learn while having fun in a camping experience right at the museum. Photo credit: Hands On Children’s Museum

August’s theme, Stars, S’mores and the Great Campout kicks off with an evening campout experience in the Museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center on August 5 from 5:00-10:00 p.m. It will be all the fun of camping out without spending the night! The evening will be jam-packed with events and activities that encourage kids to explore what it might be like to be on a real campout and concludes with a short 30-minute film under the stars at 9:00 p.m.

Museum guests will roast s’mores and discover s’more science at the science table, build a giant campfire, listen to campfire stories, explore camping tents, sing campfire songs, make bug boxes with Olympia Parks and Recreation, participate in eclipse talks with The Evergreen State College Astronomical Society and other events including face painting, Nature Play Maps & Mountains, painting a 3D Model camper, selfies with Sasquatch and more!

Summer Splash! Fun Continues

HOCM August
The solar eclipse is a rare opportunity to get kids interested in astronomy and the mobile planetarium provides a great learning experience. Photo credit: Hands On Children’s Museum

Experience the Planetarium
On August 11 and 12, guests can climb inside a portable universe and gaze at the night sky. Featuring six shows daily, the mobile planetarium is a great introduction to astronomy for learners of all ages. The shows offer a great introduction to astronomy, with answers to fascinating questions such as, “Why can’t I fly a kite on the moon?” and “Where is the North Star?”

Mini Winnebago
Visitors to the museum August 15-18 can explore an adorable mini Winnebago. Kids can climb aboard and explore to their heart’s content.

Solar Days
The weekend of August 19 and 20, the Museum will feature solar power and eclipse related activities during Solar Days. Guests will have the opportunity to craft solar eclipse glasses and explore solar energy inside the Museum’s very own greenhouse. Other activities include learning to cook food in a solar oven, South Sound Solar’s ever popular water slide duck dash and solar powered air dancer.

Olympia Children's Museum
A long-standing summer favorite at the Hands On Children’s Museum, the rock wall will return this August. Photo credit: Hands On Children’s Museum

Rock Wall
The Rock Wall will be back! August 18, 19 and 20, kids can test their climbing skills and scale the 25-foot climbing wall.

Smokey Bear
August 23 and 30, meet and greet Smokey Bear from 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Wait, There’s Even More Fun!

There are so many events happening all August long, it’s impossible to list them all. Other highlights include live performances by Novel Effect, Crow Drummers, Studio West Hip Hop and Contemporary Ballet, Jeff Evans Amazement Magic Show, Paramount Martial Arts and Olympia Youth Chorus. Live performances are on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

More special guests include Olympia Community School Dancing Butterflies, button making with the City of Olympia, Lakefair Royalty face painting and bubbles, “make and take” hard hats, wolf ear headbands with Wolfhaven, Carrots 4-H Club animal meet and greet and patchwork tugboats. Also available, in the MakeSpace, kids can create camping still lifes, wind chimes, sculptures & more. Plus, in the Museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center, kids can participate in Nature Play featuring Chicken Talks, Mud Pie Mondays and children’s garden activities.

All Summer Splash! activities are free to the public with Museum admission or membership. The Museum offers Free Friday Night the first Friday of each month (Aug. 4) from 5 to 9 p.m. For a full schedule of Museum events, visit

HOCM Summer Splash Gala
The Summer Splahs! Gala is the HOCM’s largest fundraiser and helps support their free and reduced programs. Photo courtesy: Hands On Children’s Museum

Summer Splash! Gala – Play Like a Kid Again

The Hands On Children’s Museum will wrap up the summer fun with their Summer Splash! Gala on Friday, August 25 from 6-11 p.m. The Outdoor Discovery Center will be closed that Friday in preparation for the Gala, which is expanding its footprint to be bigger than ever before.

To purchase tickets for this 21+ event, or for more information, visit the Summer Splash! Gala page online or call (360) 956-0818.


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