It's only taken two years of living in the Pacific Northwest, but I finally went to the top of the Seattle Space Needle. I'm glad I did it, just to be able to say I've been there, done that. Cross it off the list and not live a life wondering what I was missing.
In hindsight though, holy cow that was some highway robbery! The cost of the tickets to go up the Space Needle and check out the view were astronomically high. You'd think we were actually funding putting the Space Needle into orbit! My wife's cousin has lived here in Seattle for over a decade and has NOT been to the top of the Space Needle. She's now gone so long without it that she considers it a matter of pride and refuses to go when invited. To her I say, WELL DONE! She is much wiser than me.
After the Space Needle, we went to the nearby EMP Museum.
I didn't really know what to expect. My wife said she heard it was cool and it had musical instruments and stuff. I said okay, sure, why not? I'm always up for some new experiences.
I'm SO glad we went. The EMP Museum is TOTALLY worth the price of admission. If we weren't getting ready to pack our household goods for yet another cross-country PCS move, then I would have bought the annual pass so we could go back.
If you have ANY interest in ANYTHING sci-fi related from Star Wars to Star Trek to Dr. Who to The Fifth Element to Men in Black to Aliens to Terminator to War of the Worlds to the Matrix... You should go to the EMP Museum. I LOVED the Icons of Science Fiction exhibit. It's a museum of costumes and props from just about every sci-fi movie and television show you can imagine.
The Art of Video Games exhibit was like going back 30+ years through a time warp and conducting a pass-in-review of the various electronic boxes that have consumed hours upon days upon weeks of my evening and weekend free-time away from school and eventually work. Starting with the Commodore 64 and working your way up through the first Nintendo to the Wii, XBox 360, and Sega, there is an exhibit for each computer or gaming console and a sample of four types of games to show you the quality of graphics and sound. Man some of those old games brought back memories!
Up on the third floor they have some pretty cool music stuff. There's a Sound Lab full of different musical instruments for you to try, with an interactive touch-screen computer display for each instrument. I was pretty impressed my eldest son picked up the bass guitar, figured out the bars works the same way as on his cello, and started plucking out the notes of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" on the guitar.
Then there's this exhibit called On Stage where you can go do a simulated live performance in front of a huge crowd. You make up a band name and choose from a short list of cover songs to sing. My family chose the Go-Go's "We Got the Beat." If you really do know how to play the instrument, then they can turn it on so you'll really play it, but otherwise, you just pretend you're banging away on the keyboard or guitar and sing along. They play background noise like there's a screaming crowd of fans in the audience in front of you. We had fun pretending to be rock stars on the stage. Of course, after you walk off the stage, then they would like to stick a vacuum in your wallet and get you to buy DVDs of your stage performance and posters of your band on stage, etc, but that's all optional. We skipped the souvenirs, but we had fun playing on the stage.
There are several more exhibits there to see, and you can check them all out on the EMP Museum website, but those were my top three favorites from our visit. The website is well-done and has a lot better pictures than what I took with the camera in my phone.
The gift shop was pretty dangerous for us, too. My boys are obsessed with Dr. Who, and there was a TON of Dr. Who stuff in the gift shop. They've both been wearing their new Dr. Who t-shirts as often as my wife gets them through the laundry. That resulted in my youngest son wearing his Dr. Who shirt to school two days in a row. Plus they had a lot of funny Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Princess Bridge paraphernalia like glasses labeled "IOCANE POWDER" and t-shirts with "HELLO: My Name Is... Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die."
My advice, skip the Space Needle and just go have fun at the EMP Museum!