Model Train Festival, Washington State History Museum
It’s the 21st year of the popular holiday exhibit of elaborate model train layouts and train-related events. It runs through Jan. 1 at Washington State History Museum. Santa visits the museum for free photos with visitors from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 21, 22 and 23. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, until 8 p.m. on third Thursdays, closed Dec. 24-25, admission $8-$12; free admission 2 to 8 p.m. on third Thursdays; 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 888-238-4373 or www.washingtonhistory.org.
The History Museum is in the Tacoma Museum District, which has six museums within walking distance of one another in Tacoma’s historic downtown. Museum programs include the Museum District Pass, a pass for admission to Tacoma Art Museum, the Museum of Glass, LeMay-America’s Car Museum, and the WSHM good for use within seven days: $45 for adults, $35 for students, seniors and military; washingtonhistory.org/visit/wshm/museumdistrict
Museum of Glass
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass pedestrian walkway connects the Museum of Glass to the Washington State History Museum.
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The only glass museum west of the Mississippi, the focus of the collection is art created during the 20th and 21st centuries by artists from around the world. Upcoming events include the “Countdown to Coneheads! New Year’s Eve Celebration!” on Dec. 31.
The Museum of Glass is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, and until 8 p.m. on third Thursdays, closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; $5-$15, free admission 5 to 8 p.m. third Thursdays; 1801 Dock St., Tacoma; 253-284-4719 or museumofglass.org.
Tacoma Art Museum
The Tacoma Art Museum’s focus is on art and artists of the Northwest across all media, from the 19th century to the present. The museum also has works by national and international artists, a notable collection of Western American art and a permanent gallery celebrating glass artist and Tacoma native Dale Chihuly. Current exhibits include “30 Americans,” a showcase of prominent contemporary African-American artists, through Jan. 15; and “Coast to Cascades: C.C. McKim’s Impressionist Vision,” Oregon landscapes, through March 26.
Tacoma Art Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, $13-$15; open until 8 p.m. with free admission after 5 p.m. third Thursdays; closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-272-4258 or tacomaartmuseum.org.
LeMay-America’s Car Museum
The ACM Collection features automotive artifacts and 250 automobiles spanning 100 years of automotive history, with open storage galleries for visitors to see the collection of vehicles not on active display. Current exhibitions include “BMW — Propelling a Century of Innovation;” “Tools of the Trade — Powering the Working Class,” work vehicles from the first half of the 20th century; “Dream of the Mother Road,” immersive, interactive collection of cars and memorabilia to celebrate America’s iconic Route 66; “British Invasion,” the cars and the culture that invaded America after World War II and through the 1960s; and “Legends of Motorsport: The NASCAR Story.”
LeMay-America’s Car Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, closing at 3 p.m. Dec. 24 and 31, closed Dec. 25; $10-$18; 2702 East D St., Tacoma; 253-779-8490 or americascarmuseum.org.
Foss Waterway Seaport
The Foss Waterway Seaport’s Museum exhibits include “Puget Sound’s Mosquito Fleet,” maritime Lego display, “Rails to Sails,” a vintage scuba exhibition and classic recreational boats. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, closed Dec. 22, 24, 25, Jan. 1, $8-$10; Foss Waterway Seaport, 705 Dock St., Tacoma; $8-$10; 253-272-2750 or fosswaterwayseaport.org.
Children’s Museum of Tacoma
There are five playscapes for kids up to age 8 at CMT. All were built to develop creativity, social and emotional skills, cognitive and critical thinking skills, gross and fine motor development, and early literacy.
The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, with Tuesday Play Days for Children with Special Needs from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; the museum is closed Dec. 24, 25 and Jan. 1. Museum admission is by donation; 1501 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-627-6031 or playtacoma.org.