Hilary Parker | 11/12/2015 | Insider Blogs |   

Mindport: A magical adventure in downtown Bellingham

It's OK to put your hands in the tornado at Mindport in Bellingham

It’s not often you hear the phrase “It’s OK to put your hands in the tornado,” but isn’t it great when you do?

That’s just part of the magic visitors can experience at one of Bellingham’s best-kept secrets: Mindport.pingpong

OK, I’ll admit I hadn’t been to Mindport in a loong time – perhaps before my kids were born, and I’d forgotten what a fascinating place it is.

Tucked away in an unassuming storefront on West Holly Street in downtown Bellingham, Mindport is a magical gallery – part interactive exhibits, part fine art – that will undoubtedly capture the imagination no matter your age. Maybe that’s why I keep using the word “magical” to describe this place.

As I mentioned, I hadn’t taken my kids to Mindport before. Big mistake. They loved it! And with admission only $2, taking the whole family is well within reach. (Just make note they don’t take credit/debit cards for purchases under $10, so you may need to bring cash.)

Upon arrival, visitors to Mindport are greeted by the warm, natural tones of the décor and many of the gallery pieces are beautifully crafted out of wood. John Ito, a former Mindport employee,Heat and cold exhibit at Mindport in Bellingham created a number of these pieces, such as “Allella,” a musical instrument that my son came back to over and over again during our visit.

The Creek turned out to be a favorite exhibit, too. Why not? Visitors get to play in the water, using rocks to dam up the creek or experimenting to see which sticks will float down the creek fastest. (This is the one my daughter can’t stop talking about.) And, don’t worry parents, paper towels are at the ready for drying off hands once you’re finished.

Then, of course, is the aforementioned Tornado. This exhibit demonstrates how a tornado is formed using wind creekand water vapor, and, yes, you can stick your hand right in there!

Maybe you’ll want to indulge your musical side and sit down at the pipe organ or autoharp, or try not to lose your marbles playing with Diaballique or Rollentless. Then, have a race the Cartesian divers or record your voice and play it backwards!

What I’ve described here merely scratches the surface of what Mindport offers. You really have to discover the magic for yourself.

And the interaction doesn’t have to stop when you leave – check out the blog on the Mindport website for “Small Wonders for the Weekend” with fun projects and experiments to do at home.

Mindport 210 W Holly St., Bellingham (360) 647-5614 www.mindport.orgpeekaboo

Hours Wed-Fri, Noon-6 p.m. Sat, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun, Noon-4 p.m. Closed Mon-Tues

Admission: $2

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
Visitor Center Located at I-5 Exit 253 - Check Hours
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: 360-671-3990

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