Visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass with Kids- Part I

Visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass with Kids- Part I

Seattle’s newest attraction is one of the most terrifying I have every seen. Glass is on the floor, on the ceiling and on pedestals; ready to be knocked over at any moment.

What better place to bring a toddler. 

I hesitated for about 3.5 seconds before walking through the doors of the new Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle Center. I’d been to tricky spots before with Dek. He had done pretty well. More importantly, I really wanted to check out this new museum dedicated to one of Seattle’s more eccentric artists in residence.

Dale Chihuly and I have crossed paths before. Oh I’ve never properly met him, but I’ve seen him walking down the streets of Seattle and we have attended a few of the same events. With a patch on one eye and quite the head of hair he is hard to miss. He is a genius glass maker, trained in Venice and educated at RISD. His work can be found throughout Seattle and around the world. I’m kind of surprised it took the city this long to build a space to honor his work.

Parent’s favorite gallery

The entire exhibit was a lesson in just how far the imagination can stretch molten sand. Colors exploded at every turn, reflecting light that mimicked rippling water, rainbows and a fine glass of Merlot.

I was most intrigued by the sketches next to each piece in one gallery. Chihuly showed where he started out with an idea and how it translated in 3-dimensional form. More often than not the piece had changed quite a bit since it was first drawn. The glass, and artist, had taken off in a slightly different direction then originally planned.

Toddler’s favorite gallery

The Mille Fiori gallery captivated Dek. This large exhibit took over an entire room. At every angle you could see new elements popping into existence as your eye traveled around. Dek counted glass balls, both big and small, as we walked down the side of this over saturated forest. Somehow Dek understood to look, not touch, these exciting new “toys” he had found.

My threats that he would never go to college if he broke one must have sunk in.

Dek and I both agree that the Ikebana and Float Boat gallery was by far our favorite though. Dek obviously loved it because there was a boat. The reflections of glass on the polished black surface created a midnight river of artwork floating by. My camera wouldn’t let me stop taking pictures.

All of this and we hadn’t even been outside yet. How could Chihuly and his band of worker elves possibly top what we were already falling in love with and scheming to sneak home?

Check out our exploration of the garden here. Let’s just say my eyes are still feeling a bit strung out from the brilliant Seattle sun (yes, it exists) bouncing off of the glass foliage.

Know Before You Go

  • Chihuly Garden and Glass located in Seattle Center next to the Space Needle
  • Hours: Open daily 10:30am- 10:30pm
  • General admission: $19 adult | $12 ages 4-12 | 3 and under are free (as of July 2012)
    • $15 adult for King County residents with ID
    • Order tickets online or buy at ticket counter in museum
    • There is a combined Space Needle + Chihuly Garden and Glass ticket available
  • Photographers are on sight to take a photo of you in the exhibit. These images are free. You simply type in the code on the card they give you and you can email the image to yourself.
  • Strollers are easy to maneuver in the space.
  • Food: The Collections Café is available on sight but may be a bit pricey for those on a budget. There are several alternative options in and around Seattle Center.

More images from the gallery

For more photo fun hop over to the multitude of Wordless (and Wordful) Wednesdays happening around the globe.One of my favorites? My Little Drummer Boys

written by Keryn Means

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18 comments

  1. Gosh that is incredible! There is so much gorgeous art works – How long did you stay there?
    I am still not sure if I would take my boys…not sure they could be trusted not to break something! Actually I would be scared to walk through the place and not break something!

    • © Keryn Means/ walkingon travels

      We spent about 1-2 hours there. I could have stayed in just one gallery for that long but with Dek and Ty I have to keep moving. Once we got outside I was able to linger a little more on the pieces I loved. I was worried walking through the exhibit myself! But thankfully the space around the pieces was VERY wide.

  2. wow your photos are gorgeous, love love love the colours.

    • © Keryn Means/ walkingon travels

      Ha ha ha! In the end I should probably have been more worried about me. I was taking so many pictures I almost bumped into a piece!

  3. I can’t believe this! I was just sitting down to write about our experience at the Chihuly installation in Dallas, and this was on my Facebook feed. I would love to visit his studio in Seattle!

  4. Beautiful! Thanks for linking up with Pea of Sweetness for Wordless Wednesday!

  5. Oh wow what great pictures! That would be awesome to see…thanks for sharing :)

  6. Thank you for this post (and its sequel)! I have a three year old and was contemplating whether to take her. I think I may wear her in the back carrier just so I don’t have to nag her too much! LOL But it’s nice to see the interiors from the perspective of a mother of young children, and know the carrier isn’t an absolute necessity. I’m glad I found your blog as we live in Seattle, too.

  7. Wow. Wow is the only word I can come up with right now. I hope some day I can make it to Seattle even if I only have time to see this! I have to agree with you and Dek, from the look of your pictures, the Ikebana and Float Boat gallery looks the most amazing of all this amazingness. Wow! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Holy cow, these are AWESOME. I’m the biggest fan of Chihily and have seen his work everywhere…these are spectacular though. Love the boat and blown glass bubbles arranged next to it…

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