Day 1: Seattle: The Experience Music Project
A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.-Earl Wilson
There’s nothing like vacation to shake up the routine, and that’s exactly what my family and I did on our most recent trip to Seattle and Vancouver. It was our first family vacation in quite some time, and to be fair, we really needed it.
So, why Seattle?
Despite traveling extensively across the United States, I’ve never managed to make it out to the Pacific North West region. I’ve heard so many great things about Seattle, that it was an easy sell. The fact that Seattle was only 2.5 hours from Vancouver (another beautiful city) didn’t hurt either.
Seattle has a lot to offer, and our seven days were packed to the gills with fun family friendly events. We purchased a CityPass online, which allowed us to visit six attractions at a discounted rate. I highly recommend the Seattle CityPass, because you save money and time. (With the CityPass you don’t have to wait in line to purchase tickets.) For about $200, my family and I were able to visit six attractions:
- Space Needle
- Seattle Aquarium
- Experience Music Project
- Woodland Park Zoo
- Pacific Science Center
- Harbour Tour via Argosy Cruises
First up on the docket was the Experience Music Project – a most unusual structure that adorns Seattle’s skyline. The EMP is located very close to the Seattle Space Needle and the Pacific Science Center – making it a great first stop if you’re visiting the city. (Parking is about $14 – with early bird discounts available if you arrive before 10AM.)
It’s no secret that I’m a very big fan of Jimi Hendrix’s music. Friends who know me might go one step further and categorize me as an obsessed Hendrix freak, but I digress…
The Experience Music Project was built to commemorate Jimi, and it does that well – but it also has several other attractions within it that make it worth your while. Think of the EMP as a music and pop culture museum.
There are so many interesting visual and sonic experiences (ahem!) to partake in. Take, for example, this stunning collage of guitars that span two floors. The picture below doesn’t do it justice – you really have to witness it firsthand.
The holy grail for Hendrix fans is the legendary White Fender Stratocaster that he played at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. It’s on display at the EMP.
We walked into the Hendrix in London exhibit, which has posters, articles, video, etc. from that era documenting the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s performances within that country. It’s neatly arranged and fascinating to look at. I wish I had more time to spend in this room, but having a five year old in tow made that impossible.
There’s Sonia in front of another Hendrix Strat – this one was apparently sacrificed to appease the guitar gods.
The second floor consisted of a celebration of women in rock. Various costumes, personal effects, etc. from women rock-n-rollers were on display. Also on the second floor was an entire room filled with music gear that kids of all ages could play and have fun with. Sonia got a kick out of the keyboards.
Outside of celebrating music, the EMP has additional levels, featuring sci-fi, fantasy and horror pop culture items. Where else can you pose with a Dalek from Dr. Who?
Or sit on a throne made of knifes and swords?
Or meet the robot from “Lost in Space”?
Or check out some triply B-movie sci-fi posters?
There’s plenty more than that – including a massive theatrical wall that immerses you with sights and sounds – and a private auditorium where you can sit and enjoy various music-related concert performances. We didn’t get a chance to really experience those as I would have liked to, but I did poke my head in and was suitably impressed with what I saw.
My only major bummer was the fact that the EMP gift shop didn’t seem to carry any medium or large Jimi shirts. I was so hoping to get my hands on an Are You Experienced? T-shirt – but alas, that never came to pass.
In short, the EMP was a great start to our Seattle tour. If you have any music, sci-fi, horror or fantasy fans in the house, you owe it to yourself to “experience” the EMP firsthand.