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Terracotta Warriors of The First Emperor – Glimpse into Early China History

A few month ago my youngest expressed an interest in visiting the Terracotta Warriors tour in Seattle. She had heard about it from her teacher and a fellow classmate. Her classmate had actually been to China to recently and showed Mia her mini soldier souvenirs from her trip.

Seattle has this amazing exhibit on tour at the Pacific Science Center, so we had to go visit. I want to share some information with my readers in case you’re interested in seeing this exhibit.

© Stuffed Suitcase

Tickets for Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor

There are a few options for getting Terracotta Warriors exhibit tickets so I wanted to clarify them for you. It’s important to realize that this is an additional cost ticket exhibit. If you buy admission to the Pacific Science Center, it does not gain you entry into the exhibit. However, Terracotta Warrior exhibit admission does give you admission into the Pacific Science Center, you don’t need to buy another ticket for the science center.

Buying tickets for the exhibit also gives you admission to the Pacific Science Center, IMAX movie tickets are an additional cost. © Stuffed Suitcase

Exhibit tickets are offered by themselves, packaged with an audio tour, and packaged with the IMAX film. Adult tickets alone are offered for $34.95. Senior, youth, and child tickets are offered at lower prices. Again, these also include general admission for the science center, which is full of hands-on learning fun. If you’re using a Seattle CityPASS, you can purchase exhibit tickets for $15. The audio tour is $6 and the IMAX film is $9.75. I believe the package options do give you a slight discount.

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KIM’S STUFFED SUITCASE TIP: Buy your tickets online beforehand so you can skip the entry purchase line ups. There is a small service fee if you choose to do this. BUT, it also is the best way to secure your preferred times for exhibit entry and IMAX movie time.

How Does Admission Work for the Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor?

How the admission worked for the exhibit was what confused me the most. You have to have an admission time with your ticket. They do this I assume to help pace attendance and prevent over crowding the exhibit. The warrior statues are on open display, so shoving a bunch of bodies into a small space isn’t the best idea.

You select an admission time when you purchase your tickets. Again, this means buying in advance online is the best option to make sure you’re not disappointed on arrival. When it’s close to your admission time, you line up at the top level of the science center, in the outdoor area, to wait for your admission time to be called.

© Stuffed Suitcase

When you admission time is called, you show your tickets to the attendant and are loaded into a line up at the entrance to the exhibit. A worker then gives you a bit of backstory about the terracotta warriors. This lasts about 10 minutes. You’re then allowed into the entrance of a building where you’re offered a chance to buy the audio tour again. Now, you move to a hold at the entrance to the exhibit.

What is the Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor Exhibit Like?

When you enter you’re asked to hold at the entrance to watch a 2 minute video that pays across two tree cutouts that are screens. This movie gives you a brief history of the First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors.

Story screens at start of Terracotta Warriors exhibit © Stuffed Suitcase

After the movie you enter the exhibit as a large group. Our timeframe entrance had about 30-40 people I would guess. You first come upon a warrior soldier statue. It’s lighted on a red backdrop and a gorgeous welcome into the exhibit. Then you turn the corner and here’s where the audio guides drove me nuts.

EVERYONE starts at the first exhibit and you’re all crowded around hearing everyone’s handheld phone (the audio tour device looks like a cell phone from the 90s) telling them about the items in front of them, but all at different paces. It was frustrating as someone who wasn’t listening to a device. But this also would mean that a family could use one unit and take turns listening to the tour information.

Exhibit space © Stuffed Suitcase

After the initial crowding around the first displays the crowd spread out a little more. There are 10 warrior soldiers on display and then many other artifacts that have been found in the pits. The ground floor is really the crown jewel for the exhibit, but you can continue upstairs to another section of historical artifacts and history information.

Is the Terracotta Warriors Exhibit Good for Kids

I went with my 10 year old and my 13 year old, and both really enjoyed the exhibit and of course they love Pacific Science Center. After about an hour touring the lower level, they were pretty much done and by the time we reached the upper level exhibits they were ready to get to the science center exhibits.

There are some hands on activities that my girls really enjoyed, but they’re limited and kids will probably have to wait for a turn for some of the activities. There was a soldier building activity down below, a digital touchscreen learn more table at the ramp to the upper level, and a face building activity on the upper level. I think a scavenger hunt would have been a great option for families.

Kid at the Terracotta Warriors exhibit in Seattle © Stuffed Suitcase

I should also mention that the soldiers are not behind glass cases. They ask for no touching and any bags have to be kept in front of you, not behind you. This means if you have young kids, you need to plan on keeping an avid eye and hand on them at all times.

What about the IMAX Movie – Mysteries of China

If you have a love of history, the Mysteries of China IMAX movie is excellent. It’s 40 minutes long and really helps you understand the story of the Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor. If you are going to do the movie, I recommend you arrange to watch the IMAX film first then go through the exhibit. I think you’ll get a better understanding of the exhibit if you’ve seen the film first. Be sure to time the movie and exhibit admission properly for this.

However, I will say that the 2 minute movie that is played at the entrance to the exhibit contains much of the same important information about the warriors. Of course, perhaps a 2 minute movie cannot do the history of the First Emperor the kind of justice it deserves.

The Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor exhibit is on display through September 4th, 2017, so now’s the time to hurry and plan a visit. I can say that for travel lovers, you might end up dreaming of planning a trip to China afterwards. :)

Special Hotel Ticket Packages Available at These Hotels:

(affiliate links)

Inn at the Market

Terracotta Warriors – Pacific Science Center Package includes:
• Overnight accommodations
• Valet Parking
• Two round trip Monorail tickets
• Two front-of-the-line VIP tickets with audio guide to the exhibit and Pacific Science Center
• Complimentary WiFi
• Valet Parking ($39 value)
* Additional VIP tickets available for purchase at the Front Desk for $34.75. ($65 value)

Mayflower Park Hotel

Package includes:
• Classic or Deluxe Accommodations
• Two front-of-the-line VIP tickets with audio guide to the exhibit and Pacific Science Center
• Valet Parking ($35 value per day)

Renaissance Seattle Hotel

Package includes:
• Accommodations in a Deluxe Room
• Overnight self-parking for one vehicle
• Two (2) VIP, front of the line access tickets with audio guide to Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor exhibit at the Pacific Science Center (includes general exhibit admission for two to the Pacific Science Center)
• 10% discount at Lobby Court or Maxwell’s
*Additional VIP tickets may be purchased at the Navigator’s Desk for $50 each ($65 value)

Warwick Hotel

Win a Warrior Package includes:
• Choice of Room* for one night, including taxes and fees
• Two VIP Passes to Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor
• Additional room package VIP Passes available at $50.00 per ticket
• Daily Continental Breakfast for two
• 30% off dinner in Margaux
• Complimentary Wi-Fi
• A chance to win a full size Terracotta Warrior – on display now in our lobby

Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor exhibit in Seattle - my best tips for planning your visit

Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor exhibit in Seattle – my best tips for planning your visit

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Pilot Mark

Thursday 17th of August 2017

Fascinating - museums these days are often overlooked and incredible acts of history can be forgotten or misted. Its so important to keep this tradition alive with the kids. Thanks for sharing!