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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

November 20, 2013 at 6:00 AM

5 great little museums for a winter road trip

The Pacific Northwet’s cold-weather months are museum season. When cold or rain put the chill on your weekend getaway, step inside to a warm world of interest and information. Here are five great little museums worth a stop on a Western Washington road trip:

Visitors gather around a historical canoe at the Suquamish Museum. (photo by Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

Visitors gather around a historical canoe at the Suquamish Museum. (photo by Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

Suquamish Museum, Suquamish, Kitsap County

This sparkling museum opened in 2012 in the hometown of Chief Seattle, for whom the big city was named. Learn about his people in an easy-to-navigate display that includes a poignant film documenting the tribe’s happy times — old-time salmon bakes — and tragedies, such as tribal children’s forced attendance of English-speaking, military-type schools. See a dress made of woven cedar fibers alongside a championship jacket from the 1984 national Indian Slo-Pitch Tournament. $3-$5. More about the museum here.

World Kite Museum and Hall of Fame, Long Beach, Pacific County

Tour the collection of more than 1,500 kites from 26 countries. They range from colorful butterflies, to fierce faces of Japanese warrior kites, to an Indonesian horse kite that looks like it would never get off the ground. (“Will it fly?” “Neighh!”) Learn how kites have been used through history, such as for aerial photography of damage after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. $3-$5. More about Long Beach kites here.

 

The silver-plated handle on a Landau carriage at the Northwest Carriage Museum. (photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

The silver-plated handle on a Landau carriage at the Northwest Carriage Museum. (photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Northwest Carriage Museum, Raymond, Pacific County

Step into this cozy refuge from coastal deluges and it’s like you’ve time-traveled back a century. Where you might least expect it — in a, uh, one-horse timber town — here’s a gem of a museum full of impeccably restored horse-drawn conveyances of all kinds, drawn from a local collector’s trove. See Belle Watling’s Shelburne Landau carriage from “Gone With the Wind,” among a couple dozen other marvels of spoked wheel, gleaming paint and leather rein. $2-$4. More about the museum here.

USS Turner Joy Museum Ship, Bremerton

Nothing gives a better idea of what it would be like to serve on a Navy ship than spending an hour or so at your own pace exploring the bowels of an old Vietnam-era destroyer. That’s the Turner Joy experience. This old ship, named for a 20th-century admiral and one-time superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, is anchored on the Bremerton waterfront and open for tours. Twiddle wheels and read gauges in the engine room. Stand in the wheelhouse and peer out the portholes. Compare the captain’s cabin to the three-tiered sailor’s bunks. $7-$12.

 

Experiencing the MegaZapper at Spark Museum of Electrical Invention in Bellingham. (photo by Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times)

Experiencing the MegaZapper at Spark Museum of Electrical Invention in Bellingham. (photo by Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times)

Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, Bellingham

Your kids will never again scoff at “visiting another museum.” Not after they’ve watched Dad volunteer to sit inside the 9-foot-tall “Lightning Cage”  while a Tesla coil called the MegaZapper jolts it with blue sparks carrying 4 million volts. (What’s cooler than that?) This museum is chock full of neato gizmoes and gadgets from previous centuries, along with 2,000 radios, 30,000 early phonograph records and 30,000 vacuum tubes. $3-$6, plus $5 for MegaZapper show. More about the museum here.

 

 

Comments | More in Northwest, Washington state, weekend getaways | Topics: museums, northwest carriage museum, spark museum

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