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.
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