Vacation memories: ‘Planet of the Apes’ highlights visit to Seattle Sci Fi and music museums, Space Needle

Seattle Sci fi museum

Part of an ongoing series reviewing past trips:

I am a “Planet of the Apes” fanatic. I readily admit it. I have all the movies, even the horrible remake with Marky Mark. I watched the TV series as a kid. So, imagine my surprise when we visited the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle and saw a great exhibit on Cornelius and the gang!

In 2010, we visited the museum, which – along with the Experience Music Project – is part of the EMP Museum on the Seattle Center campus. The famed Space Needle is also part of the complex. The EMP Museum is a non-profit museum created by Paul Allen of Microsoft fame. He has also donated a lot of the items on display.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Cornelius from Planet of the Apes

The “Planet of the Apes” collection offers someone like me an amazing look into the science fiction series. In the original movie, three astronauts are somehow transported into the future, on an Earth where apes now rule and humans are more like animals. Apes talk, while humans make grunting sounds. The astronauts get tangled into a hunt by the apes. One is killed. One later gets a lobotomy, likely because he talked. Charlton Heston, as Taylor, keeps his mouth shut for as long as he can. But, eventually, he talks. I would say hilarity ensues, but nope. Check out the movie, if you have not yet. The recent movies are actually prequels, and I LOVE them!

Seattle Sci fi museum
Planet of the Apes was a favorite movie series of mine as a kid

The museum had a display including Cornelius (portrayed by Roddy McDowell) and Dr. Zaius (portrayed by Maurice Evans).

A newspaper was featured in the display, and includes a story about a human round-up.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Planet of the Apes

Heston’s character Taylor was also on display.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Apes’ human

The museum is more than the “Planet of the Apes.” It truly is homage to the science fiction industry. Included is a timeline, identifying when science fiction really got its start and dates on key events, such as the ruckus over the radio show “War of the Worlds.” Some people overreacted and thought Martians had actually invaded Earth.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Great science fiction history

As you enter the museum, you first see a huge glowing ball hanging from the ceiling. It features footage from movies, as well as pictures. It was really cool.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Sci fi

The museum is home to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Ray Bradbury, HG Wells and Isaac Asimov are among the names honored.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Hall of Fame members

It was fascinating to walk through the history of science fiction on film. The Alien from the 1951 classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is on display.

Seattle Sci fi museum
The Day the Earth Stood Still

The robot from TV’s 1960s “Lost in Space” is in a collection of other robots. Anyone remember the famous line “Danger, Will Robinson?”

Seattle Sci fi museum
Danger, Will Robinson!

“Star Trek” fans would love seeing the Bridge’s engineering panel, staffed by Chekov and Sulu.

The three main stars – Capt. Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy – are featured along with key items they used during the series.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Star Trek

Put your Phazers to stun with the display of different Phazers used during the series.

Seattle Sci fi museum

And who can forget Comm Specialist Lt. Uhura’s uniform?

Seattle Sci fi museum
Lt. Uhura

Teleporting to more recent science fiction – Star Wars, anyone? The museum has quite a bit of memorabilia from the movie series.

R2D2 hangs out at the museum with his robot buddies.

Seattle Sci fi museum

A 3D model of the Death Star is on display.

Seattle Sci fi museum
The Death Star

The “Terminator” has a few items of display, including a skull and hand.

Seattle Sci fi museum

I was a bit shocked to see a model of “The Living Tree” from the movie “The Fountain.” Lisa and I looked forward to seeing this movie, because it featured Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. It’s the only movie that we have walked out on before it ended. The kicker is that we saw it for free. We didn’t care for it, and it was difficult to follow. Oh well.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Tree of Life

The police car from the movie “Judge Dredd” hangs above the museum’s lobby area.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Judge Dredd car

In addition to the world-class science fiction museum, the EMP Museum features the Experience Music Project. It covers the pop culture of music, and includes a lot of special exhibits.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Jimi Hendrix at EMP Museum

During our visit, we checked out a lot of music from the 1960s. Jimi Hendrix playing his guitar on stage was featured on a huge screen. It was pretty heavy, man.

A broken guitar of Hendrix’s was featured on display.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Hendrix guitar

I think everyone has heard the song “Louie, Louie.” It was performed by the Kingsmen, and was featured in a display.

Seattle Sci fi museum

Paul Revere and the Raiders had an exhibit. “Indian Reservation” was likely their biggest hit song.

Seattle Sci fi museum
1960s rock – Paul Revere and the Raiders

A cool exhibit at the museum is the musical “tornado.” Or, at least it looks like a tornado. IF VI WAS IX consists of 500 instruments and computers to make a tall structure, featuring guitars, banjos and keyboards. People can actually plug headphones in to the display to hear music.

Seattle Sci fi museum
A funnel of music

The exterior of the EMP Museum is an attraction itself. It has a futuristic design, featuring stainless steel panels, reflecting a variety of colors. It is a must-see when in Seattle.

Seattle Sci fi museum
EMP Project Museum

A short walk from the museum is the famous Seattle Space Needle.

Seattle Sci fi museum
Space Needle

We took the elevator ride up to the observation deck. The view from the top was amazing! You can see for miles on a clear day. The view ranges from the city’s skyline out to the islands across Puget Sound. It was all beautiful.

Seattle Sci fi museum
View of Puget Sound

The Seattle Center features other attractions that focus on families, including the Seattle Science Center.

For more information on the EMP Museum, please check out the website at

For more information on the Space Needle, please see

For more information on the Seattle Center and all of its attractions, please visit