Summer is here, which means it’s time for the Hands On Children’s Museum (HOCM) to kick off one of their most exciting events of the year – the Summer Splash! Festival of Fun, sponsored by WSECU. The Summer Splash! Festival runs from June through September and engages kids with daily activities to help mitigate learning loss while they’re on vacation. Expect educational and fun events at the museum all summer long, from sock skating to castle painting. This stimulating festival gives kids exciting new reasons to come back each day, ready to learn more to prepare for the new school year.

Hands on childrens museum
Meet first responders and take a selfie with Smokey the Bear at the Fire Rescue Spectacular at the Hands On Children’s Museum. Photo courtesy: Hands On Children’s Museum

Participate in Thurston County’s Ultimate Firefighter Experience

Does your child dream of helping their community as a firefighter, police officer, or first responder? On July 8, The Fire Rescue Spectacular, presented by MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in partnership with Olympia Fire Department, returns to the Hands On Children Museum. Located on Jefferson Street between the museum and LOTT Clean Water Alliance, this free street fair is the ultimate firefighter and first-responder experience for kids. They’ll enjoy exploring Olympia’s fleet of emergency vehicles, seeing vintage firetrucks, having the chance to meet Sparky the Fire Dog and Smokey the Bear and taking the Junior Firefighter Challenge to show off their heroic skills. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., they’ll get the chance to spray targets using a real fire hose alongside community firefighters.

Hands on childrens museum
Try your hand in the spray gallery and see if you can hit the targets with the water hose and make them move. Photo courtesy: Hands On Children’s Museum

According to Peter Bergford, Olympia Fire Department fire prevention officer: “Olympia Fire Department exists to serve our community. Most people only see us in a state of emergency, but not at the Fire Rescue Spectacular. This is a time for kids to engage their imagination as they navigate the Jr. Firefighter Challenge course, eat ice cream and spend some time with the men and women who help to keep the community safe every day. We are proud to share this tradition with the Hands On Children’s Museum and its visitors.”

Hungry after all that heroism and fun? Enjoy festival food and free ice cream and popsicles, which are available twice a day at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. while supplies last.

In addition to the wonderful festivities on the street, there are also plenty of special activities to do inside the museum, free with admission or membership, like wacky Dr. Science demos, first aid workshops, campfire building and toy animal ice rescue. Kids will also be able to build their own emergency candles and learn the importance of fire safety.

“We are so proud to partner with HOCM and this community to provide families fun, engaging, life-saving education and resources,” said Sherrilee Shawcroft, marketing manager of MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Hands on childrens museum
Kids can explore Olympia’s fleet of emergency vehicles, including a police cruiser and motor cycle at the Fire Rescue Spectacular. Photo courtesy: Hands On Children’s Museum

Olympia Family Activities All Summer Long

At this year’s Summer Splash! Festival, there’s something for everyone. Families can enjoy visiting artists and stage performers, animal encounters, a 25-foot rock wall climb, and nature play. Adults can look forward to the Summer Splash! Gala, presented by OlyFed, is a 21 + sunset soiree full of dance, dining, and fundraising. Proceeds from this event support free and reduced access for all children to learn and play at the museum.

Don’t miss weekly festival highlights like Mud Pie Mondays, Kitchen Tool Tuesdays, and daily Treasure Sluicing. In August, kids can participate in rock climbing to help them test their boundaries and build their confidence while practicing safe risk. Come meet the Raptor Ambassadors with The Falconer and other exciting animal guests sponsored by Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry.

Hands on childrens museum
Meet real firefighters and explore working fire trucks, vintage fire trucks, Olympia police cruisers, OPD motorcycles, and more at the Fire Rescue Spectacular. Photo courtesy: Hands On Children’s Museum

Affordable Fun for Families

The museum provides options for families that need extra assistance with entry fees.  EBT card users can get the first two people admitted for free, and any additional family members are only $3 each as part of the Museum’s Inspired Learning for All partnership funded by WSECU.

On the first Friday of each month, people can visit the museum for only $1 a person.

To purchase general admission tickets, visit the Hands on Children’s Museum website

Fill your child’s summer with a thrilling new adventure at the HOCM every day through Labor Day. The museum has over 150 exhibits to explore during your visit, so mark your calendars to stay in the know of upcoming events. Enjoy a fun-filled summer of learning, creativity, and community at the HOCM for the Summer Splash! Festival of Fun. 

For more information, visit the Hands On Children Museum’s event page.

Hands On Children’s Museum
414 Jefferson NE, Olympia


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