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Museum of Pop Culture aka MoPop
If you are looking to take your teenagers to a museum in Seattle and you don’t want them to hate you, try the Museum of Pop Culture aka MoPop right next to the Space Needle in Seattle. Founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000, it is one of the craziest buildings you will ever see. It’s kind of a strange architectural blob of shining metal. If you are anywhere near the Space Needle you can’t miss it. The monorail even runs right through it. It’s an impressive, if not strange piece of architecture designed by Frank O. Gehry to evoke the rock n roll experience. And if you are wondering, yes, this used to be the Experience Music Project.
Our visit was on a Saturday at 10am and it wasn’t busy, the staff was friendly, and the place was clean and well put together. We started off in the hall of fame and immediately my kids were hooked. The first display is Indiana Jones’s leather jacket, followed by the light saber used by Luke Skywalker in the scene where Darth Vader chopped his hand off.
It was not a large room, but there were collections of things to please everyone, from Wonder Woman to Captain Nemo’s jacket from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Next we went to the second floor where we were greeted by the famous guitar sculpture. A floor to ceiling tornado of all kinds of guitars, it is a sight to see and definitely the most photographed items in the whole museum. My kids liked it, not as much as I liked it, but they were impressed. I took a bunch of pictures before I realized my kids weren’t with me. A mystery quickly solved when I saw they had been sucked into the Indie Game Revolution exhibit.
The Indie Game Exhibit on the second floor was full of screens of interactive computer games. We may have been in this exhibit alone for 30 minutes. I don’t do computer games, but we had some fun in there with a virtual wrestling game and a game in which the goal seemed to be to fart and pee in the right locations to win. My inability to use a game controller seriously hampered my ability to win any of these games by the way, so if you are particularly competitive with your kids and you can’t use a game controller prepare to be defeated or practice up before you go.
More fun artifacts were found in in the Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction, from Mork’s space suit, Hover boards from Back to the Future, some Dr. Who stuff for the Whovians out there and even the pack used to suck up the ghosts in Ghostbusters!
If you are offended by the extreme wastefulness of a tower of seemingly perfect guitars, relax there is a guitar gallery with beautiful displays of guitars and an explanation of their evolution. There are some fun guitars in there too, owned by musicians as varied as Kiss and Hank Williams. My older son was quite taken by a saxophone-guitar combo.
We also loved the two gift shops, one dedicated to science fiction swag, the other to rock n roll. Much to my pleasure my oldest son picked out a Beatles T-shirt depicting the Beatles Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band and BAM two happy teenagers that didn’t complain for two hours!!
Museum of Pop Culture Admission Fees and Hours
It costs two dollars less to buy your tickets online ahead of time, currently, there is also the option to see a Jim Henson exhibition for an extra $5. Otherwise, admission is Adults $28, Youth 5–17 yrs $17, Children 4 and younger FREE.
Open Daily 10:00 am to 7:00 pm