Something else I have wanted to do for a long time is visit the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. It opened up years ago and Scott and I had planned to visit it, but those plans never quite worked out. The museum has evolved since then, adding a space museum and the Wings and Waves Waterpark, which has helped them through some tough financial times.
The museum has 4 large buildings: the space museum, the aviation museum, a movie theater, and the waterpark. We went to the space museum first. It was really, really neat!
One of the things that made the museum so fun for the girls and I was that we had spent all spring learning about earth and space science in school. We watched the movie Hidden Figures this spring as well, which really sparked their interest. It's based on the lives of three African-American women who played major roles in the space race of the 1960s. Very inspiring, especially for young girls--go watch it! But anyway...between school and the curiosity the movie sparked, the girls knew a fair bit about Project Mercury. The museum has a Mercury capsule on display as well as a timeline of the Friendship Missions and some artifacts. They were mesmerized by it all and astounded to realize that Scott's parents were alive during this time in history they had learned so much about. It's so cool to watch learning come to life like that!
Another highlight was the cold-war era Titan II missile display. The thing is gigantic for starters, and as you descend the stairs to the booster portion, you can enter mission control and go through a simulated launch. It was really neat to stand there, hear the countdown, and feel the walls shake.
The museum is following the trend of many museums and had many things for kids to touch and interact with. I love museums either way, but I love that my kids also are developing an interest in them thanks to the thoughtful planning of museum directors across the nation.
We ate lunch outside at the aerospace-themed playground (awesome!) then headed over to the aviation building. This building housed a space specifically for kids...and grandpas apparently!
The major attraction in the air museum portion is of course, the Spruce Goose. There were many planes and model planes as well as helicopters, showing how air travel has evolved.
The crown jewel of the day was the water park, of course! They have mounted a 747 atop the building and the 4 large slides depart from the interior of the plane. It's not really a camera-friendly environment, especially if you're sliding with the kids! I did send them up a few times on their own though. I also took some pictures on the shorter slides...much easier to get good shots there!
It was very fun...and tiring! Nobody had trouble falling asleep that night!