Skip Navigation Links

The Hands on Children’s Museum: A Vision for Playful Learning

The story of the Hands-On Children's Museum began in the early 1980s when a group of passionate educators and community leaders envisioned a unique institution that would foster learning through play. Their dream was to create a museum that would offer children hands-on experiences, enabling them to explore and experiment freely, while also nurturing their natural curiosity.

Foundation and Growth

In 1987, the Olympia Regional Learning Center, a non-profit organization, was established to lay the groundwork for the envisioned children's museum. The center organized numerous events and activities to raise awareness and funds within the community. Local businesses, individuals, and charitable foundations rallied behind the cause, recognizing the immense potential of such a museum for the children of Olympia.

After years of dedicated efforts, the Hands-On Children's Museum opened its doors on October 15, 1998. Initially housed in a modest building, it featured a range of exhibits that revolved around science, arts, culture, and the environment. From the very beginning, the museum's mission was to be inclusive, ensuring that all children, regardless of background or ability, would have access to enriching educational experiences.

An Interactive Wonderland

As the years passed, the museum gained popularity, drawing in families from all over the region and beyond. To accommodate the increasing number of visitors and to enhance the learning experience, the museum underwent several expansions.

“We’ve had a membership with the Hands-On Children’s Museum since our son was six months old,” agent Tim Lynch says. “

One of the main attractions at the Hands-On Children's Museum is the Outdoor Discovery Center, which offers children the opportunity to explore a vast natural play space. With interactive water features, climbing structures, and even a child-sized, working tugboat, children can connect with nature while having fun.

Over the years, new exhibits were introduced, each carefully designed to engage young minds in various aspects of learning. From the Imagination Studio, where budding artists can express themselves freely, to the Emergency Department exhibit, which introduces kids to the world of medical care, every corner of the museum holds a treasure trove of knowledge waiting to be uncovered.

Community Engagement and Outreach

The Hands-On Children's Museum has always placed a strong emphasis on community engagement and outreach. They collaborate with local schools, organize field trips, and conduct workshops, ensuring that learning extends beyond the walls of the museum. Additionally, they strive to make their resources accessible to underserved communities, ensuring that every child has a chance to benefit from their enriching programs.

Future Horizons: Expanding Minds, Empowering Futures

As the Hands-On Children's Museum continues to grow, it remains committed to its core principles of interactive learning, creativity, and inclusivity. With advances in technology, the museum explores new ways to captivate young minds while staying true to its hands-on approach.

The Olympia Hands-On Children's Museum is a testament to the power of dreams and determination. What started as a vision for playful learning has blossomed into an interactive wonderland where children's curiosity and creativity are nurtured and celebrated. By providing a safe and stimulating environment, this remarkable institution continues to inspire the next generation of thinkers, artists, and innovators. As we look to the future, we can only imagine the incredible impact this museum will have on generations to come, shaping young minds and empowering them to change the world.

Stay in touch

Receive home DIY projects, Thurston County market updates, local community stories and more!

  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA see our Privacy Policy


1722 Harrison Ave NW
Olympia WA 98502


Links Column

Sotheby's International Realty® and the Sotheby's International Realty Logo are service marks licensed to Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates LLC and used with permission. Olympic Sotheby's International Realty fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated. Any services or products provided by independently owned and operated franchises are not provided by affiliated with or related to Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates LLC nor any of its affiliated companies.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Real estate website design, development and optimization by Organic Return