New in Town: The Perks of Getting Lost in a Laser Show
Playful ways to unwind at Pacific Science Center after dark
By Ariel Shearer
January 22, 2020
New in Town is a blog series dedicated to exploring Seattle anew. Every week I’ll highlight a place, person or thing I’ve uncovered on my mission to experience all Seattle has to offer. Read last week’s installment here.
I recently found myself at the Pacific Science Center after dark on two separate occasions, which has since become my new favorite way to engage with science and science-adjacent activities. Tropical butterfly house? Even cooler at night. Snakes and insects in boxes? Also here, and also more thrilling (less terrifying?) after an adult beverage.
It’s generally the sort of place you’d visit on a school field trip, or spend a rainy Saturday with the kids. If you’re an adult, perhaps childless and new to your city, PacSci’s evening happy hours offer a good excuse to check out this Seattle institution with a drink in hand. (I got to explore the exhibits during PacSci’s annual New Year’s Eve party, though they’re also open for exploration during happy hours.) But if you’re just looking for a funky way to unwind without the booze, plan a trip to PacSci’s Laser Dome.
A laser show is a great way to get out of your head, and sometimes escapism can be even more comforting than familiarity when managing the stress of a recent move. (Though laser shows still bring a cozy dose of teenage nostalgia for me.) Here, a dedicated laser artist projects a custom laser light display on a domed ceiling in a pitch-black room, accompanied by a soundtrack pumped through a “10,000-watt concert sound system.” Musical lineups change frequently, but in the coming weeks you can catch Laser Lizzo on Sundays, Laser Pink Floyd (The Wall) on Saturdays and other artist shows—including Laser Elton John, a new addition, and a special February lineup for Black History Month with Laser Kendrick Lamar, Prince and other greats.
I caught Laser Tame Impala a few weeks back to stoke some excitement for the Tame Impala concert coming up at the Gorge Amphitheatre in August—another Washington mainstay that will warrant its own blog post—and loved seeing everybody sprawled out with their blankets and pillows on the floor of the dome as smoke machines filled the space for optimal laser visibility.
I followed up with our laser artist host for the evening, Jerome Rhett (aka Laser Motown), and asked about the secret to making a good laser show. “If you come to see the Tame Impala show, I want you to be in a space where you feel like this is almost as good as going to see Tame Impala in person,” Rhett says. “We encourage people all the time to be a part of the show, to clap and cheer and shout and all those things, and we say that because we want people to feel like they’re kind of in a concert space.”