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9:00am - 5:00pm

Museum FAQ

Have a question? Check out our frequently asked questions below. Or, give us a call at (360) 956-0818 ext. 0.
Q. What is your Cancellation Policy?

A. If your party cannot attend at the reserved time, we ask that you cancel or reschedule your reservation at least 24 hours in advance to allow others to utilize your time slot.  Refunds are allowed with 24 hours’ notice.  An exception to the 24-hour notice requirement may be granted for COVID-related health issues. 

To Cancel Your Reservation

  • If you’re a member or had free admission, please email us at info@hocm.org so we can release your tickets.
  • If you paid admission, please call us at 360-956-0818 ex. 0

Q. What is the WSECU - Inspired Learning for All - Initiative?

A. This new partnership will allow us to expand our mobile educational programs, increase subsidized field trips for schools serving low-income student populations, and offer free or discounted admission to any family receiving Washington state assistance through an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card! An EBT card admits two guests for free everyday and the party may choose to pay $2 for each additional guest.

Benefits for all WSECU members: 10% discount on all museum memberships purchased at the front desk -  and - "WSECU Wednesdays" with 50% admission on the first Wednesday of each month. Just show your WSECU card! 
Q. What is the targeted age range for the museum?

A. Exhibits are ideally designed for children age birth to ten. 

Q. Is there a dress code?

A. We require all guests to wear proper attire, including tops, bottoms, and shoes, appropriate for a family facility.

Q. What if we can’t afford to pay admission?

A. If your family is unable to afford a museum membership, you may qualify for a Free or Reduced Admission or Membership if you are:

  • A Washington state EBT cardholder 
  • Having difficult financial circumstances
As part of the WSECU - Inspired Learning for All initiative, show your Washington state EBT card & ID at the front desk for discounted admission - first two guests free & each additional guest $2.

For qualifying families who want the benefits of Annual Membership, Hands On offers a $25 Access Membership Program. Your Access Membership includes:

  • Unlimited admission for two named adults and four children living in the same household along with one named caregiver, such as a grandparent or childcare provider
  • Discounts on camps and classes
  • 10% discount in the museum cafe and store
Questions about eligibility? Call the front desk at (360) 956-0818

Q. Why do you charge for adults?

A. The museum encourages interactive play between children and their adults. Your family's admission only covers about 50 percent of the cost of your visit, and we raise the other 50 percent through grants, sponsorships and donations.

Q. Can anyone just come in? What about tours of the museum?

A. Anyone is welcome in the museum as long as they are accompanied by a child. We have a strict no adults alone policy in the museum. To ensure the safety of our young visitors, adults without children must be accompanied by a Hands On staff member. As a nonprofit organization, we are not always staffed adequately to provide unscheduled tours. Please review our Tours page to see our scheduled tour times.

Q. Can I drop my children off at the museum?
A. At the museum all children must be accompanied by an adult (16 or older) unless registered for a special museum program such as preschool, camps, etc.

Q. What forms of payment do you accept?

A. The museum accepts cash, check, Visa, Master Card, and Discover. There is an ATM in the museum lobby.

Q. How do you get to the museum and where can we park?

A. Please click here for directions & parking options.

Q. What about food at the museum? 

A. Due to COVID restrictions, the Play Day Cafe is limited to “grab and go” items only like cheese, juice, and crackers. There is no indoor seating. We ask that you enjoy your food outside of the museum on the beautiful East Bay Plaza after your visit session is over. We also ask that food and drink are not consumed in the galleries, including the Outdoor Discovery Center.

Q. Is there a minimum adult to child ratio? 

A. We need at least one adult for every five children.  If you are a daycare, school, camp, sports, scout program, or similar coming to the museum with ten or more children - you can receive discounted admission by making a reservation in advance, see our Field Trips & Group Visits page for more information.

Q. Why is it important to stay with my child while visiting the museum?

A. Please remember children under age 16 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult. We believe family members are important as a child's first teachers and as a partner in learning. Our exhibits are designed specifically to encourage interaction and inquiry, as well as participation from the entire family. We also take visitor safety seriously and supervising adults help ensure their children are enjoying the exhibits and facility safely.

Q. Are strollers allowed in the museum?

A. We ask that you not take your stroller into the galleries, except under special circumstances, to ensure there is adequate circulation for all guests. We do provide stroller parking in our Lobby in the Stroller and Coat Room.

Q. Do I need to bring a helmet for my child to participate in the trike loop?

A. Helmets are provided free of charge for use during your visit, however, helmets can be brought from home if preferred. 

Q. Do you have lockers?

A. Lockers are available for rent for $2 (includes sales tax) during your visit to the museum. Lockers are located in the Lobby in the Stroller and Coat Room. All Deluxe Plus members receive free locker privileges. 

Q. How can I volunteer?

A. Due to COVID restrictions, the Museum is not offering volunteer opportunities at this time. 

Q. What is your financial structure?

A. The museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Q. Do you donate to other non-profit auctions?

A. The museum will support other 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization’s auctions and events. The museum requests that a formal request be faxed, mailed, or emailed to the museum on the organization’s letterhead. Please include the organization’s Tax ID number and either the date of the event or the deadline for the donation. Each request will be reviewed, and if approved, the donation will be sent to the organization. Please allow ample time for your request to be reviewed.

Q. When does the East Bay Plaza stream open?

A. The interactive 250-foot East Bay Plaza stream is currently closed due to COVID. Please check the LOTT website for updates. 

Q. At times, the Museum is too loud for my child. What can we do?

A. The museum is an open-concept design that can be loud on busy days. At the Front Desk, we can loan your child a pair of brightly colored, noise-muffling headphones to wear during his or her visit.

Q. Why do I have to remove the wheels in my skate shoes?

A. Shoes with wheels damage the floors in our museum. We will ask that you pop the wheels out of your shoes to prevent repairs.

Q. What is the Photo/Video Policy within the Museum?

A. As a public, cultural attraction, each person entering the Hands On Children’s Museum grants the museum permission to photograph for use in grants, education and informational purposes.

IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED, please inform the front desk upon check-in and request a NO PHOTO sticker to place on your child. Our staff, volunteers, and visiting media are instructed to look for the stickers. 

Q. What about other special restrictions?

A. For the comfort of our visitors and their families, we are a Weapons-free Zone. We ask that visitors not bring any sharp objects or concealed weapons into the museum. 

We are also a Tobacco and Vape-free Zone.  We ask that visitors do not smoke on Museum property, including the Outdoor Discovery Center and entrance. 

Q. When is the best time to visit the museum?

A. Due to the limited capacity of our timed-entry reservations, play sessions fill up fast. If you are looking for a quieter Museum experience we recommend visiting during the last session of the day. 

Q. When is the museum closed?

A. The museum is closed on the following holidays: Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It closes for one week in September for regular maintenance and cleaning.

Q. What is your sick child policy?

A. Sick children are already asked to stay home from preschool and camp. A general rule to follow is that if you or your child have a fever or are too sick to go to work or school, then you are too sick to visit the museum. 

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