Pacific Science Center

Another one of the gems added to this city during the 1962 World’s Fair, the Pacific Science Center is a mecca for learning that has made an excellent transition into the 21st century. Offering interactive exhibits, marine mammals, and even an IMAX theatre, there is a full day’s worth of activities behind these walls that will leave guests with a renewed love of learning and science.

Pacific Science Center History

The building that houses the Pacific Science Center was originally called the United States Science Pavilion, a large structure at the southernmost edge of the World’s Fair grounds, now referred to as Seattle Center. When initially designed, the structure was divided into five main themed areas: the Worlds of Science, Commerce and Industry, Art, Entertainment, and Tomorrow. Immediately following the end of the Fair, in October 1962, the scientific exhibits were carried over into permanent residence in what was then, as now, known as the Pacific Science Center, or PacSci. A significant addition to the cultural landscape of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, the Science Center was also noted as the first museum in the United States that was founded as a science and technology center.

Throughout the decades following the World’s Fair, Pacific Science Center has continued to redefine itself in order to keep up with the times. Science and technology, as we all know, is ever-evolving, which makes the onus of updating presentations, exhibits, and shows all the more burdensome on such an institution. Luckily, operating as a private non-profit since 1962, PacSci has been able to raise the funds and awareness to do just that. Over the years, notable additions have included an IBM Mathmatica exhibit in the 1970s and the conversion of the original 1962 Eames Theatre to IMAX in 1979.

In the 1980s and 1990s, PSC really began to make its mark on the international scene as a standard bearer for science education. The move that facilitated this rise to fame was the “China: 7000 Years of Discovery” exhibit hosted in 1984. Later in the 80s, several travelling robotic dinosaur exhibits led to the formation of a permanent display in the 1990s, Dinosaurs: A Journey through Time, which is among the most popular of PacSci’s current offerings.

In the 21st century, visitors to the Pacific Science Center are treated to 6 acres featuring 18 permanent exhibits and a number of travelling exhibitions which frequently pass through this major educational center. Among the most popular of the current offerings are Professor Wellbody’s Academy of Health and Wellness, Sonic Boom, Tropical Butterfly House, and Science on a Sphere. There are also daily IMAX shows in two separate theatres and a Planetarium and Laser Dome. The an ever-changing “Portal to Current Research” reports on the cutting edge work sponsored by PSC and taking place in the Pacific Northwest. The KidsWorks section features a water table for young children and there are live Animal and Human Body exhibits as well as a Science Playground for hands-on learning at its best.

In addition to hosting over 1 million visitors each year, PSC is also the leading non-profit institution focused on on Science and Technology education in the region, gaining national attention through these efforts. This includes its large selection of educational opportunities and outreach efforts that range from school age field trips and camps to adult education to teacher education and resources. PSC is also a key member of the Washington State Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) program for educators, administrators, schools, and districts. The LASER program operates throughout the state and aims to initiate, improve, and support cutting edge scientific education in K-12 schools. These efforts have not gone unnoticed as PSC was the winner of the 2012 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the industry’s most prestigious honor.

Pacific Science Center: the Main Attraction

Located at 200 2nd Ave. N., the Pacific Science Center is open 7 days a week during the summer and Wednesday-Monday during the rest of the year. Its hours vary according to season and it is closed on select holidays. Admissions rates are for Adults (16-64), Seniors (65+), Youth (6-15), and Children (3-5); infants and children under age 3 are free. Regular admissions prices include entrance to all of PSC’s current exhibits, both permanent and temporary. 

IMAX shows cost extra, and include both regular shows and special engagements. There are also additional costs to attend Planetarium and Laser Dome shows (matinee and evening) as well. Combined tickets, which offer exhibits and IMAX or Planetarium/Lase Dome together, can also be purchased. 

The PSC frequently hosts school groups and other educationally-oriented events, which means that it has a huge variety of options for groups. It also offers group rates to parties of 10 or more. There are even birthday packages to explore. Also, in addition to its exhibits and shows, PSC offers guests a full-service café which will pack kid-friendly boxed lunches for groups upon request.

Why the Pacific Science Center is a Must-See

As the regional leader in science and technology education, the Pacific Science Center is a truly unique place to spend a few hours or the whole day when visiting the Seattle area. Known throughout the world for its contribution and innovation when it comes to both museum presentations and education, there is something for every person in your group to see and enjoy at this amazing place.