Located in Seattle Center, at the base of the iconic Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibition opened May 2012 and has continued to delight Seattle area visitors, including my family.
The exhibition spans one and one half acres and showcases a wide variety of work from renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly. The main exhibition hall features eight galleries of work including the Glass Forest, Northwest Room (inspired by First Nations baskets and artifacts), the Sealife Room, Persian Ceiling, Mille Fiori, Ikebana and Float Boats, numerous Chandeliers, the Macchia Forest, and Drawing Walls.
I recommend starting your visit with kids in the Theater. Seeing exactly how these glass statues are made will help them to appreciate them even more. The best way to keep your little ones occupied while you “ooo” and “ahh” over the artwork is to get them a Kid's Activity Guide, available for free at the ticket counter. This guide keeps your kids intrigued as they find and create as you walk the galleries. My girls loved searching for as many varieties of sea life they could find in the Sealife Room. The whimsical main statue is just full of glass creatures and they even spotted sea creatures that I didn't see. Other kid favorite rooms included the Float Boats and Macchia Forest.
Outdoors, explore the Glasshouse and Garden in a larger, more relaxed setting. The Garden blends together natural plants and flowers with Chihuly creations of the same muse, creating a unique and interesting juxtaposition of glass and plantlife. The large Pacific Sun sculpture beautifully crowns the garden. The Glasshouse was my favorite part of the entire exhibition. With inspiration from two of Dale's favorite buildings, the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and the Crystal Palace in London, the glasshouse features a beautiful red, orange, and yellow suspended flower sculpture that spans over 100 feet and features 1,340 individual pieces. I was awestruck!
If you work up a hunger during your visit, check out the Collections Café, which features an additional lineup of work from Dale Chihuly. The outdoor patio seating is a nice place for kids to not feel too stuffy.
Be sure to visit the Bookstore before you leave. In addition to collections of art available for purchase, there is a wide variety of inspirational art products and tools for kids. My daughter purchased a doodle book that has kept her fully entertained (and creative!) at airports and on road trips. I highly recommend it.
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Photo Credit: Katie Bodell