A Visit to the Terracotta Warriors

When I was mapping out our homeschool year last Fall, I heard through the grapevine that something special was coming to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle — the Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor.

Amazing exhibits are frequently on rotation at PSC (when I was growing up we saw features on Titanic, King Tut, and the Dead Sea Scrolls!) and this Spring’s exhibit was no disappointment. I timed our history unit to explore Ancient China throughout March and April and then in May, on Mother’s Day actually, we ventured to Seattle to see the terracotta warriors in person.

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Here’s a little peek at our day full of learning and fun … because that’s exactly what happens when you visit the Pacific Science Center!

Before seeing the warriors we watched an IMAX film, Mysteries of China. It was the perfect precursor to the exhibit. Definitely schedule to see it first, then tour the exhibit. The documentary was less than an hour (about 40 minutes, I think) and it kept both Jemma and Max’s attention. The big IMAX screen made it extra exciting, I’m sure.

During our study at home we also watched PBS’s Secret’s of the Dead: Terracotta Warriors. We read through and studied these two books as well – Ancient China and The Emporor’s Silent Army. Pretty much, we went into our visit well prepared #homeschoollife.  The gift shop at the Pacific Science Center had additional books too; many of which were geared towards younger kids and early readers. So when you go, take a peek at that!

Then, the exhibit! We rented the audio guide which prompts you as you walk through to hear more about various stations. Jemma loved that little extra! Once she figured it out :)

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We spent over an hour wandering through the exhibit. There was so much to see AND DO. Yes, do! The Pacific Science Center truly takes abstract and foreign topics and scales them for all ages. Jemma and Max got to build their own warriors, touch moldable clay, and explore how mass production works. Those activities helped all the details of the terracotta warriors come alive for us all.

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There is a free table at our homeschool coop and just a few weeks ago, this mini replica set of warriors was on it! So timely! I nabbed the set for the kids and they didn’t forget when it came time to pack up for our visit to see the real ones. Max carried his warrior all around the exhibit and tried to find a match. We’re pretty sure we have a cavalryman replica …

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After the IMAX and terracotta warrior exhibit we took a lunch break. Just outside the Pacific Science Center (above the Seattle Children’s Museum) there is a big food court called The Armory. It’s full of yummy lunch spots and we tried street tacos, fresh lemonade, cinnamon glazed pecans, fish and chips, and loaded fries! All so good!

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Then, we returned to PSC to check out the regular exhibits. All amazing! From the butterfly house to the dinosaurs, we learned and laughed and only had one meltdown along the way! Success!

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And would you look at that Seattle weather? 50% chance of rain … poppycock!

The Terracotta Warrior exhibit is only in Seattle until early September so don’t delay in making your plans to visit! And, if you’re a homeschooling family, be sure to take advantage of the Pacific Science Center’s homeschool discounts … it happens every Monday all year round! And then, the week of June 26-30 it’s Homeschool Week at Pacific Science Center! That week you can visit any day and receive admission to the Terracotta Warriors at the Monday homeschool price – no reservations required, just mention the promotion at the ticket counter. I love that PSC loves homeschoolers and that they help to make these educational adventures more affordable. Plus, this guide they assembled is a must!


A giant thank you to Pacific Science Center for sponsoring our visit. It made for a wonderful Mother’s Day adventure!

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