The Hands On Children’s Museum, Washington’s largest youth museum, kicks-off Summer Splash!, the second annual summer learning festival, this Saturday, June 24 with the Fire Rescue Spectacular special event.
Offered in partnership with the Olympia Fire Department, young visitors can climb aboard giant fire trucks, a police car and motorcycle, and take a ride on “Lil Squirt,” a mini fire truck. Children can meet fire-fighters, design their own fire helmet and participate in the Junior Firefighter challenge including a spray down of a simulated burning house. Visitors will be greeted by Sparky the costumed fire dog and Olympia’s Waterfront Kiwanis club will sell “Firehouse Hot Dogs.”
Summer Splash!, is the Museum’s signature event and features three months of exciting interactive learning experiences designed to engage children and alleviate summer learning loss when kids are out of school. Each month includes headline events, themed adventures, live performers, unique activities and special guests.
Research shows that summer learning loss impacts student test scores, math computation, reading and spelling and that the achievement gap can persist through high school and college. “The educational component of the festival is at the core of everything we do,” says Patty Belmonte, the Museum’s Executive Director. “We want children to have substantial experiences at the museum and learn something new each time they visit the museum over the summer.”
In July, the festival theme moves from fire rescue to Super Heroes & Stunts featuring the world renown XPOGO Stunt Team performing daily shows July 6-8 and Hero the Super Collie, champion trick dog, performing July 21 & 22. Other activities include climbing the rock wall and silk-screening super hero capes while children meet their favorite costumed super heroes.
Stars, S’mores and the Great Campout is the theme for August which features an evening Campout program on Aug. 5 with a campfire sing along, s’more roasting, and outdoor activities like making bug boxes and building a safe campfire. The Museum of Flight will bring its mobile Planetarium to the Museum Aug. 11 and 12 so children can learn more about the night sky. The Museum will feature Mud Pie Mondays each week and a vintage camper for painting daily in the Outdoor Discovery Center. For a full schedule of Museum events, visit www.hocm.org/calendar.
All Summer Splash! activities are free to the public with Museum admission or membership. The Museum offers Free Friday Night the first Friday of each month from 5 to 9 p.m.