Chihuly Garden and Glass Part II: Seattle Center’s Breakable New Boy

Seattle Center welcomed a new guy into the mix of amusements and educational establishments in late May 2012. He’s a little flashy, and boy can he pack a punch. Just be careful; you could break everything in the place.

Chihuly Garden and Glass was “intended to function as a community gathering place.” Unfortunately the $19 per ticket price kind of prohibits that idea, but it is still an inspiring spot to check out even for us locals. Spend a few hours wandering the galleries, maybe grab a meal, and soak up a little of the master glassmaker’s handy work.

The interior galleries should not be missed, but the exterior garden is an impressive example of the harmony that can be achieved between natural and man-made art.

Head outside

As you leave the inside space you are transition outside through a giant green house, a favorite of Dek’s.

Kids can run, skip, hop or just dance around this enclosure. Parents can take a quick breather from saying, “Stop! Don’t touch that!” There is nothing that can be easily broken; the main piece is suspended from the ceiling.

Make your way outside and you are instantly slammed with a wall of color. The Space Needle looms in the sky above while your eye adjusts to mother nature mixing with a few of  Chihuly’s enhancements.

Finding a natural balance

According to the gallery website, “Chihuly has often said, I want my work to appear as though it came from nature so if someone found it… they might think it belonged there.”

This philosophy is highlighted throughout the garden. Blue spikes pop out of the ground around a fallen log. Black and white spheres sit in harmony with shadowy blades of grass and evergreen shrubs. Everywhere you look you see nature morphing into art. I can’t wait to see how it all fills in over the years.

The centerpiece of the garden is the Sun. Yellow and orange bursting from the center will create a welcome relief come winter for all of us suffering from sunshine withdrawal.

Relax…the glass is safe

Outside I was able to relax a little more than I could in the interior galleries. Dek knows how to stay on a path pretty well. I tell him, ever so gently, to get his feet off my flowers at home often enough. It was easy to apply the same principle to Chihuly’s new digs.

The garden was the perfect end to our visit to Seattle Center’s latest novelty. We had made it through safely. Nothing was broken on our account (I can’t vouch for the other visitors.) It will be interesting to see how locals and visitors take to this new city attraction. So far it looks like Seattle has a hot new ticket item on its hands. I’m glad we got to see it when it first made its debut. Now we can tell friends “we knew it when…” years from now.

Tips for getting your toddler through the exhibit

  • Before you even enter the exhibit have a little chat about what your child can expect. Explain that he or she can look and be excited, but cannot touch.
  • Hold hands whenever possible
  • Talk to your kids about what they are seeing. What is their favorite part? What colors do they see? What shapes?
  • Grab a Kid’s Guide for fun activities to explore the garden together. The guide is for slightly older kids but can be inspiring for parents who need to keep little hands away from very expensive glass.
  • As a last resort: pray, pray and pray some more

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 garden’s chandelier walkway

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written by Keryn Means

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Showing 23 comments
  • Reply

    Wow, those are lovely sculptures!! If I were a child, I would have a really hard time not touching it. Don’t they have a kid-friendly section or something? So much beauty in there!

  • Laurel
    Reply

    I love all the glass sculptures, but the entrance price seems a bit high.

  • Lisa Wood
    Reply

    WOW – never seen anything like it! Wished we had an art gallery like that – and congratulations on making it out without breaking something!

  • brian miller
    Reply

    oh wow what a beautiful place….i need to get back to seattle….love all the little touches…the use of the flowers, the blown glass…would def be something to take it all in…

  • Kris
    Reply

    I bet that the little bloke loved it!

  • Leigh
    Reply

    I love anything with blown glass and especially in such a wonderful setting. This looked like a high stress kind of place for you to take a toddler but that’s how they learn too. You’ve got some great photos here.

  • Jackie Smith
    Reply

    Very nice photos! I keep saying that I need to go visit since it is right in my own ‘front’ yard. This post makes me think I will get it done this summer!

  • Reply

    The glass work is amazing! Love all the colors.

  • jade
    Reply

    This looks super fun. Reminds me of the flower exhibit/ceiling at the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas. And, I’d be afraid Bob would touch something and break it- for sure. He can not not touch stuff!

  • Reply

    Oh, brave woman, taking a toddler there! :-) Although the price is steep, it looks really beautiful. In Utah, we’re lucky to have a piece of Chihuly’s art featured in Abravanel Hall. It was part of the Olympic celebration and has over 1000 pieces of glass, if I remember correctly.

  • Dick Jordan
    Reply

    Wish it had been there back in 1962 when I attended the World’s Fair and lived in Seattle.

  • Lisa
    Reply

    I hadn’t heard of Chihuly before the last few days but I love blown glass sculptures. Your photos are beautiful!

  • cindy thetravelgal
    Reply

    I love these Chihuly garden exhibits and have seen a couple of them, but this looks spectacular. Maybe it’s time to get back out that way. Thanks for the lovely post.

  • Jessica
    Reply

    Very lovely! It looks like there are many similar pieces in Dallas right now, but some other unique pieces as well.

  • Steve
    Reply

    I think the glass is gorgeous, but it’s gonna run my family over $80 to visit that exhibit. To me, Chihuly isn’t at that level. The indoor/outdoor blending looks very nice though.

  • Eileen Ludwig
    Reply

    Love all the shapes and colors

  • Mrsupole
    Reply

    I think I would be afraid to go there because I would break something. I do know that my youngest grandson would totally find something to break, he breaks something every day. Something about those terrible two’s is the cause or he takes after me.

    Those are truly amazing pictures and it is amazing at what he has done with the glass. I am sure there has to be somewhere here in SoCal that has a display. But then again I am not sure I want to pay to see it when I can use that money to buy diapers.

    Thank you ever so much for sharing these great photos with us for this weeks Theme Thursday. The artist was truly inspired when he makes each piece.

    God bless.

  • Reply

    I am getting my Chihuly fix tonight between you, Jessica and all the family travel bloggers who have visited his wonderful pieces of art. I feel a little deprived now and will start hunting for his pieces nearby. He has some marvelous and huge pieces at Las Vegas hotels. Beautiful photos and great job on making it through with a toddler here.

  • InsideJourneys
    Reply

    I love Chihuly. He’s got such an eye for color.
    It’s also wonderful to see a museum built around his creations and yet still kid friendly.

  • Natasha
    Reply

    I like how it’s displayed inside, hah!

    ps. i am in this week’s fabulous friday too. visit my friday post if you are like :)

  • Reply

    looks like such a great place!!!

  • Allison
    Reply

    It was so thoughtful of the artist to give Seattle a second sun. I love art glass and would love to visit this museum sometime.

  • Terumi
    Reply

    I’ve been dying to go and I love the tips you give about wandering through with wee ones:) It looks spectacular!

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