In the month of August, it will be all hands on deck at the Hands On Children’s Museum (HOCM) for Mermaids and Pirates month, part of their summer-long Summer Splash Festival, sponsored by WSECU. Mermaids and Pirates month celebrates the building of the museum’s newest exhibit in the Outdoor Discovery Center, the vintage Megan D schooner. The Megan D will be officially introduced at the museum’s main fundraiser, the Summer Splash Gala in late August, where all proceeds will go toward the museum’s access programs.
Sponsored by Macy’s, Mermaids and Pirates month was inspired by a one-day mermaid event last summer, which turned out to be the busiest day in the museum’s history! “Families flocked to meet the mermaid so this summer the entire month of August will be themed to mermaids, pirates and undersea creatures,” says HOCM Senior Development Manager, Amy Brockman. “The new Megan D exhibit is a vintage schooner that was originally designed to look like a traditional pirate ship. It really set the stage for us to create a month of fun ship to shore activities,” says Brockman.
Arriving onshore at the museum August 1-3 is professional edutainer and marine conservationist,Mermaid Linden. Mermaid Linden travels the world swimming in far away oceans using her custom-made mermaid tails. In addition, Linden is also passionate about marine conservation and educating young ones about marine ecosystems.
“Mermaid Linden is perfectly on par with what the museum is trying to do,” explains HOCM Event Manager, Paulette Beadling. “Educating young families about how we can keep the Puget Sound beautiful and all of the creatures that are in it alive and thriving.”
At Linden’s show, guests will learn about marine life in the Puget Sound with the help of a custom video produced by Linden, and also participate in a Mermaid sing-along. After the show, families can stay to meet Mermaid Linden and take a photo with her and her tremendous tail. Showtimes are 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. daily. Mermaid Linden will also be at First Friday Night, August 2 at 6:30 p.m. The Hands On Children’s Museum offers free and low-cost admission the first Friday of the month from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The first 2 guests are free, each additional guest is just $2.
Pyrates of the Coast will set sail for the museum on August 16 and 17. A family-friendly comedy and musical performance, the Pyrates of the Coast show is described by museum leadership as a rollicking adventure. “It’s going to be comedy and song,” explains Beadling. “The back story is that the captain has lost some members of his crew. They’ve gone missing so he needs to recruit some members from the audience, and they get to join the crew.” The show is interactive and involves young audience members including finding treasure, walking the plank, and a variation on the game Simon Says, called Captain Says.
With an “Under the Sea” theme, HOCM will bring back the fun sock skating rink, August 9-18. Kids will have a chance to slide around the rink in their socks in the Move It! Gallery on the second floor. Little ones can build their agility and mountaineering skills when the popular 25-foot climbing wall returns August 15-18.
On August 21 and 22, a Huey Helicopter from the Olympic Flight Museum will be parked right outside HOCM, with the opportunity for kids to climb inside and play with the helicopter controls. And as always there will be engaging art and science activities in the Art Studio, MakeSpace, and at pop-up stations in the Outdoor Discovery Center.
The museum’s Summer Splash festival is a fundraiser for HOCM’s multiple access programs for those who may not be able to afford a museum visit or annual membership. Open to all, the museum’s First Friday Night program allows the first two guests into the museum for free, with $2 for each additional guest. Any day of the year, museum guests with a state-issued EBT card can also get free admission for the first two visitors and $2 for additional visitors.The museum also provides sponsored memberships for families in need.
“We want to encourage all families to access the museum, regardless of their ability to pay,” explains Brockman. “A huge part of the mission of the Hands On Children’s Museum is to make the museum accessible to all.”
As a means of funding the museum’s access programs, HOCM hosts its annual Summer Splash Gala, August 23 sponsored by Olympia Federal Savings. Held at the museum, the Gala gives adults full access to the museum and its exhibits.“We take over the entire footprint of the East Bay Plaza as well as the museum and the Outdoor Discovery Center,” explains Brockman. “It’s an indoor and outdoor event and at the Museum so that Gala Guests can experience the children’s museum and understand first-hand the magic of what they’re supporting.”
The event is for those 21-years-old and over with local eateries donating the night’s gourmet food and drink options. Also featured at the Gala will be a live and silent auction, a Raise-the Paddle program, and dancing under the stars beside the new Megan D schooner exhibit.
“All daytime Summer Splash festival sponsorship dollars and Summer Splash Gala revenue directly support our access programs,” explains Brockman.
To learn more about Mermaids and Pirates month, the Summer Splash Festival and the Summer Splash Gala, visit the Hands On Children’s Museum website.