Seattle Center is never a dull place to be, especially in the summer. But as you've no doubt heard, there are an unprecedented number of nifty happenings going on through October 21, in honor of The Next 50, the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World's Fair.
Each month's events explore a different theme from dozens of creative angles (this month is science); if you add in King Tut, the new Chihuly gallery and onsite museums and monorail, and you've got dozens of excuses to play in, learn about, and celebrate 50 years of one of our great public spaces.
It's impossible to sum up all the happenings, so we'll try month by month. Here are some highlights for the rest of June. Stay tuned for July and August, and check our calendar for more detailed listings.
1. Science-y fun. Throughout the month, the Seattle Science Festival continues, with neato events such as a Science of Sailing workshop (Saturday, June 9); and, for rob0t fans, even an opportunity to watch robots battle it out one on one (June 24).
Plus, all summer, you can step inside a geodome, the Earth Portal, for a half-hour tour of NASA’s Digital Universe Atlas, the most “comprehensive map of the observable cosmos ever created, which “illuminates the extraordinary conditions and relationships which enable life to thrive on Earth.”
2. King Tut, of course. Perhaps you've heard he's in town? Besides the stellar exhibit, don't miss the IMAX movies that help you explore the legacy of the pharaohs.
3. Videos old and new. All month, the Seattle Center Armory/Center House will host the “Next 50 Video Arcade,” a free exhibit where you can play videos games from throughout the decades for free and learn about video game development. And this coming weekend (June 8-10), you can indulge your (oh, and your kids’) passion for arcades at the NW Pinball and Arcade Show, a family-friendly show featuring over 300 pinball and arcade games all set on free play, plus guest speakers and personalities from the world of pinball and video games.
4. Exposure to the world: What do Iran, the Philippines, Tibet, Brazil, and France have in common? They will all be celebrated at free weekend festivals at the Seattle Center this summer, as part of its international festal program. Expect music, dancing, food, demonstrations and opportunities to learn firsthand about other cultures. Look also for festivals and demos about vibrant corners of our own culture, such as a hip-hop performance (June 10) that looks at ancient roots of this modern trend.
5. Kidpower: A number of Next 50 events focus on drawing kids into a dialogue about the future, including Ark.i.tek 2062 (June 16 and monthly throughout summer), a digital event to help kids learn the process of architecture and design; and a Youth Venture Panel (June 21), an exhibition of innovative, youth-led solutions to social problems.
6. Ziplining: All summer, the Seattle Center Playway, the Next 50 family fun area, will draw in kids and adults alike with a 250-foot zip line and ever-changing roster of attractions and inflatable rides, which will be open every weekend.
7. Hands-on history: You can check out the exhibits on the history of World’s Fairs at the International Fountain Pavilion, with videos, pictures artifacts and more. And older kids might want to join a historic walking tour of the Seattle Center campus, focusing on cultural, architectural and historical legacies of Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair, offered 4 times a month through the summer.
8. Cutting-edge dialogue about the future: Public events throughout the summer are drawing intellectual luminaries into a dialogue with us about our collective future. We’ll have more on this, but one of the most exciting events is a panel titled “Education in the Next 50,” on August 16 at McCaw Hall, a panel starring some of the brightest minds in education and beyond to discuss the future of learning.
9. Free outdoor exercise classes: And getting back to basics: This one’s for you, Mom (or Dad). Free zumba classes every Tuesday, 6-7 p.m., at the Fisher Pavilion Rooftop (June 19 – Aug. 21) and free gentle yoga classes Wednesdays (June 20 – Aug. 22) on the Exhibition Hall Lawn.
Check back for updates on Next 50 happenings. And if you want to be in the know about all of 'em (there are literally dozens a day), follow The Next 50 website closely.