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

For more kid-friendly things to do in Bellingham and Whatcom County, see Hilary's full list of Family Fun articles.

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