A Day at MoPOP

What a way to spend a fall afternoon traveling into Seattle to visit MoPOP, the music, sci-fi + pop culture museum formally known as the EMP. Hopping on the Link Light Rail from the SeaTac Airport station, just a block away from Seattle Southside’s visitor center, is the way to go for a relaxing ride downtown without the worries of traffic or parking. Transferring at the Westlake station, we hopped on the iconic Seattle Monorail built along with the Space Needle for the 1962 World’s Fair. To my surprise the monorail does not only drop you off directly at Seattle Center where MoPOP, Chihuly Garden & Glass and the Space Needle are located, it actually cruises THROUGH MoPOP’s structure, creating an inspiring effect as you come to a stop. While taking in the configurations and colors of the vivid exterior against the October blue sky, we made our way in to start exploring the various exhibits.

I was excited for October to come being a horror movie fan to see “Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film” which opened September 30th. Other exhibits included "Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds," “We Are 12: The Seattle Seahawks and the Road to Victory,” “Indie Revolution,” “Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970,” “Bowie by Mick Rock,” “Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction,” “Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic” and the special feature, “Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” for an additional $5 with admission.

We spent two hours at the museum going through each room learning fun facts, looking at memorabilia old and new, and being reminded of some of our music icons and what interesting lives they led. I especially liked seeing Jimi Hendrix’s artwork in a caricature filled with the bizarre thoughts in his brain. I did not predict we could have spent much more time with all the interactive options, video games, and screenings to view! I do regret we didn’t take the time for the Jim Henson exhibit at a small surcharge after seeing what the amazing area dedicated to his work. Who doesn’t love the Muppets?

For me, the highlights of the day were the Horror Film exhibit and the option to goof around with the interactive features in various exhibits throughout. I can see though how every person who explores this museum could have a different aspect which appeals to them most. In “Scared to Death” 100 years of horror film were celebrated with villains, memorabilia, films, interviews featuring film directors, spooky statistics, and a sound proof scream booth to test your potential horror flick skills! And of course, plenty of photo ops. I found the stats of the muderiest killers amusing in the way it was displayed with # of kills, weapons of choice, and likes and dislikes. Of course, I had to try the Scream Room where your scanned hands decide if you would be an angry screamer full of rage or more of the victim-y type before choosing your scream scenario. Although the booth is sound proof I still couldn’t let it ALL out with so many people around.  I may have not been able to let my inner actress out there, but I found one exhibit where I was ALL in.

Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds was quite elaborate with 2 floors of everything Trekky.  Over 100 props, interesting timelines, and reminders of how innovative the original series was for the time and how it’s spin-offs continued to try to capture that same essence of carrying universal themes we can all relate to. It was in this exhibit that I had a blast (literally) getting beamed up to alternate scenarios where I was provided a weapon and prepared to fight for my life in disastrous situations. The teleprompter explains your next move while behind you a green screen that allows you and everyone watching on the monitors to see the action. I got pretty into the fact while enemies approached a cave was crashing down on me and was beamed back to the Enterprise just in time. By then I had an audience of 4 ready for their turn. Watching 4 people get into these scenes would be hilarious and I would have loved to see that, but it was time to move on to the next!  

While enjoying myself strolling through each of the exhibits, I was starting to get anxious. I’d always heard how the Sound Lab is a great place for kids to experiment playing different musical instruments. I am definitely not a kid but have to admit I was most looking forward to seeing what the Sound Lab was all about. I’m not sure if it was me being blind to the signs of its location, but we didn’t find it until near closing time and now I wish I asked and went there first! I could have spent hours there and I would recommend you go with someone who shares your passion of goofing around, experimenting, and learning what goes on to create and record a piece of music. The various sound proof rooms protect others from your musical mishaps as you fumble your way around a mixing board, beat a-rhythmically on the drum pad, and discover why your son would LOVE if you could play a little electric guitar, you have not learned yet. It was a blast and next time I look forward to going back and spending more time in the Sound Lab.

As the museum approached closing time we were told with the price of our admission we could also stay for the 21+ After Dark Happy Hour happening every Thursday and Friday night in October so that was a bonus. We chose not to stay this time but good to know for the future! We wandered around Seattle Center at dusk looking up at the gorgeously lit Space Needle and ate at the Chihuly Garden and Glass café admiring some of Chihuly’s work. Hopping back on the monorail, then the light rail, I once again enjoyed this convenient, trouble-free way to travel to and from Seattle Southside.