Arts and Entertainment

Keyport Museum explores the world under the sea

Van Daggs, 8, of Iowa takes a peek through one of the periscopes at the Naval Undersea Museum Monday.  - Celeste Cornish/Staff photo
Van Daggs, 8, of Iowa takes a peek through one of the periscopes at the Naval Undersea Museum Monday.
— image credit: Celeste Cornish/Staff photo

The “aooga! aooga!” of the klaxon sounds off in the background as children zoom from one exhibit to the next. A command center, complete with periscopes and a panel straight off the USS Greenling (SSN 614), beckons the adventurous to come play for a day at the Keyport Naval Undersea Museum.

The museum offers a glimpse at life under the sea for things that lack gills: submarines. Though the exhibits entice children, everyone is welcome.

“Parents get to play, too,” said Bill Galvani, director of the museum. Admission to the museum is free and parents are reminded that they should remain with their children.

The building is set up in sections — the ocean environment, undersea weapons technology, submarine technology, diving technology and Trident families — and little hands are welcome to touch anything that isn’t showcased in glass.

The ocean environment section offers up a buoyancy experiment, a microscope for an up-close-and-personal look and the sounds of whales, snapping fish and other oceanic goings on. Other exhibit areas give a nod to the weapons and technology that feed the fascination for the submarine service. The museum also dives into submariners’ home lives by highlighting the sacrifices they and their families endure while they are under way.

It’s the hand-on that draws the kids (and parents), as the command center and dress-up areas remain the most popular attractions.

“The museum is very popular with families,” said Olivia Weatherly, operations manager.

The museum also offers special functions, such as Wild, Wacky and Sometimes Wet Wednesdays in which children are guided through fun activities, Weatherly said. Sessions include crafts and face-painting.

On July 22, NASA scientists will be on hand with their Robots on the Road exhibit in which children “are given a robot and asked to discover what tasks it can complete are and how it is able to complete them,” according to the Aerospace Education Services Web site.

The Keyport Naval Undersea Museum is tucked away on the shores of Liberty Bay in the small North Kitsap town of Keyport at the end of State Route 308 (accessible via Highway 3). For hours, directions and more, click over to the museum website, here. Info: E-mail underseainfo@kpt.nuwc.navy.mil.

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