Bainbridge Island is reachable by ferry from Seattle and is known for its beautiful nature, historical and cultural heritage, and stunning views. For those who enjoy getting out into the great outdoors, you will find plenty to do, with beaches, gardens and forest trails all ripe for exploring. Be sure to call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.
25 Best Things to Do on Bainbridge Island, Washington
- Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Photo: Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
- Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, Bainbridge Island, WA, Photo: Bainbridge Island Historical Museum
- Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, Photo: Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
- Bainbridge Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of sylv1rob1 – Fotolia.com
- Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport, WA, Photo: Naval Undersea Museum
- Suquamish Museum, Suquamish, WA, Photo: Suquamish Museum
- The Harbour Public House, Bainbridge Island, WA, Photo: The Harbour Public House
- Tillicum Village, Port Orchard, WA, Photo: Courtesy of EvgeniiAnd – Fotolia.com
- Bruciato, Photo: Bruciato
- Blake Island State Park, Manchester, WA, Photo: Courtesy of David Webber – Fotolia.com
- Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, Washington, Photo: Courtesy of Knim Adobe Stock – Fotolia.com
- Fay Bainbridge Park, Bainbridge Island, Washington, Photo: Courtesy of Laurens – Fotolia.com
- Fort Ward Park, Photo: Courtesy of vrabelpeter1 – Fotolia.com
- Heydey Farm, Bainbridge Island, WA, Photo: Heydey Farm
- Illahee State Park, Bremerton, WA , Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank – Fotolia.com
- Kids Discovery Museum, Bainbridge Island, WA, Photo: Kids Discovery Museum
- Mora Iced Creamery, Bainbridge Island, Washington, Photo: Mora Iced Creamery
- Bainbridge Distillers, Bainbridge Island, Washington, Photo: Bainbridge Distillers
- Bainbridge Island Brewing, Bainbridge Island, WA, Photo: Bainbridge Island Brewing
- Eleven Winery, Bainbridge Island, Washington, Photo: Eleven Winery
- Battle Point Park, Photo: Koxae/stock.adobe.com
- Manchester State Park, Port Orchard, WA, Photo: Courtesy of Chris – Fotolia.com
- Gazzam Lake Preserve, Photo: Planetina/stock.adobe.com
- Doc’s Marina Grill, Photo: Doc’s Marina Grill
- Blackbird Bakery, Bainbridge Island, Washington, Photo: Blackbird Bakery
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Photodesign-Deluxe – Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Naval Undersea Museum
Located in Keyport, Washington, the United States Naval Undersea Museum is one of 10 official naval museums operated by the Naval History and Heritage Command, offering a variety of exhibits related to Naval undersea history and science. The United States Naval Undersea Museum was formally established in July of 1979 by the United States Secretary of the Navy. In 1980, the Naval Undersea Museum Foundation nonprofit organization was formed for the purposes of constructing a permanent museum facility for the new museum.
Construction on a 68,000-square-foot facility began in 1985 and was officially completed in 1994, though museum exhibits were first opened to the public within a preview center in 1991. Following the 1994 completion of the museum’s Jack Murdock Auditorium, the museum was officially opened as a fully operational public facility. Until 1993, the museum operated under the supervision of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport. In 2003, museum operations were transferred to the supervision of the Navy Region Northwest, and in 2006, all official Naval museums were placed under the authority of Washington, D.C.’s Naval History and Heritage Command.
Permanent Exhibits and Collections
Today, the Naval Undersea Museum is owned and operated by the Naval Undersea Museum Foundation nonprofit organization, under the supervision of the Naval History and Heritage Command. The museum received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2001 and presents the largest collection of naval undersea history and science artifacts of any museum in the United States. Over 39,000 artifacts are held within the museum’s collection, which are displayed within 18,000 square feet of exhibit space and held in an additional 19,000 square feet of archival collection space.
A variety of permanent exhibits are showcased at the museum, focusing on aspects of naval history, technology, and marine science. An Ocean Environment exhibit uses hands-on activities to teach visitors about ocean physics concepts such as buoyancy, heat transfer, salinity, density, and pressure, while a Torpedo Technology exhibit chronicles the development of major United States naval weapons such as Howell, Whitehead, MK 48 ADCAP, and MK 50 torpedos. Mine Warfare is examined in an exhibit, which traces the technology’s development and implementation from the Revolutionary War through the present day. Ballistic missile submarines are the focus of the Preserving Peace: The Navy’s Strategic Deterrence Program exhibit, which details the technology’s beginnings during the Cold War and showcases a Trident I (C4) missile payload section. Saving Submariners: Submarine Rescue and Escape examines the history of submarine rescues in the 20th and 21st centuries, while a Greeling Control Room exhibit allows visitors to step inside a preserved submarine control room and explore submarine equipment and technologies.
The museum’s outdoor exhibit area displays a number of large artifacts, including the Mystic (DSRV 1) rapid-response submarine rescue vehicle, the Trieste II (DSV 1) deep submergence vehicle, the sail of the USS Sturgeon (SSN 637) Cold War-era fast attack submarine, and the end bell of the Sealab habitat. A variety of temporary rotating exhibits are also showcased within the museum, highlighting topics connected to naval history and marine science. An onsite research library is offered, holding more than 6,500 volumes on topics related to undersea history and operations, including a complete set of submarine war patrol reports from World War II and oral history interviews from the United States Naval Institute’s collection.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to standard visitor admission, the Naval Undersea Museum offers guided group tours for groups of 15 participants or more, including curriculum-incorporated field trip opportunities for elementary and secondary school students. Groups requesting guided tours must schedule at least two weeks in advance of desired tour date. A variety of onsite educational programming is offered at the museum for students of all ages, including a weekly Summer STEAM Days program focusing on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics concepts. During the fall, winter, and spring months, Science Saturdays events are hosted on the first Saturday of every month, offering hands-on activities for children and families. A STEM For Students workshop may be scheduled for school groups attending the museum, and a Showcasing STEM outreach program may be booked for community events and local classrooms.
Annual public special events at the museum include a Discover E Day science discovery event, held annually in February as part of National Engineers Week. The Keyport Fest in September is a community festival offering concerts, special exhibits, and STEM-focused activities for children and families. Navy Band Northwest concerts are presented monthly at the museum, featuring performances by brass bands, jazz combs, and woodwind trios. The museum also participates in the city’s annual Seafair festival.
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1 Garnett Way, Keyport, WA 98345, Phone: 360-396-4148
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Attraction Spotlight: Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
Located on Bainbridge Island in Kitsap County, Washington, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is an contemporary art museum offering a variety of rotating exhibits and public art educational programming. The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art was the vision of Cynthia Sears, who formed a nonprofit organization in 2009 to oversee the creation of a contemporary art museum to serve the Puget Sound region.
A location for the museum was secured near the island’s Highway 305 in the town of Winslow, located near the island’s ferry terminal, and the museum’s founding board of trustees entered into a partnership with Island Gateway to create a combined campus for nonprofit and commercial space. Funding for the project was secured in 2010, and the museum’s first executive director was chosen. The museum’s campus, which was designed by architect Matthew Coates, completed its first phase of construction in 2011, with second-phase construction completed for an official public opening in June of 2013 with the premiere of a group art show entitled “First Light.”
Exhibits and Facilities
Since its 2013 opening, the museum has attracted more than 90,000 annual visitors from throughout the Puget Sound region and beyond. The museum is renowned for its unique environmental design, which earned the facility LEED Gold certification, the first art museum in the state to achieve the rating. As a cultural and educational resource for the Puget Sound community, the museum is committed to showcasing the works of upcoming regional and national artists and engaging Bainbridge Island residents with current topics and voices in the contemporary art world.
Due to its mission to raise the voices of new and upcoming voices in contemporary art, the museum’s galleries are dedicated to rotating temporary exhibits. Major exhibitions rotate approximately three times a year, with up to 20 new shows presented annually. Past exhibitions showcased at the museum include Ulrich Pakker’s Visions Rendered, Patty Rogers’ Joys Within Reach, Catherine Alice Michaelis: Imprinted and Unbound, and the group shows Women in Photography, Revering Nature, and Native Hands: Indigenous Art of the Salish Sea. The museum is also in the process of developing a Permanent Art Collection in conjunction with the Art Acquisitions and Exhibitions Committee, consisting of fine art donations from multidisciplinary artists throughout the Puget Sound region. Submissions for consideration for the collection may be inquired about by contacting the museum directly via phone or email, and pieces donated may be used by the museum for other purposes if not selected for permanent collections.
In addition to collections and exhibitions, the museum also is the home of a number of community cultural spaces, including the George and David Lewis Roof Garden, constructed as a riverscape of sustainable plantings and landscaped boulders. Pieces on permanent display from past exhibits include Harmony by William O. Walcott, which blend realism, humor, and narrative elements to depict regional landmarks. A 68-seat theater is offered for film showings, live performances, and event presentations, showcasing a state-of-the-art projection system and acoustic specifications. The BIMA Bistro offers light breakfast and lunch fare from chef Melinda Lucas, the founder of the island’s Café Nola. The campus’ Museum Store also offers a wide variety of handmade artisan works and gifts, including one-of-a-kind pieces and exhibition-related items.
Ongoing Programs and Events
As a community educational resource, the museum offers a wide variety of educational opportunities for local youth and students, including curriculum-incorporated field trips for elementary and secondary school students. Art classes and workshops are offered for participants of all ages, including an After School Art Club for students in grades 5-8, a Summer Portrait Sessions workshop, and a Looking and Drawing series. An annual summer camp offers hands-on work with multidisciplinary art forms, and a variety of family drop-in events are offered throughout the year, including Art In Action events and regular Family Parties.
A variety of public programming is presented by the museum, including the Art Museum Encounters podcast series, which features interviews with artists and conversations about current and upcoming exhibitions. All podcasts are archived on the museum’s website and available for listening and downloading. The museum’s Book Arts gallery and program is one of the largest of its kind in the country and offers periodic book talks with book artists and illustrators. Several local film festivals are hosted at the museum’s auditorium, including the Port Townsend Film Festival and Manhattan Shorts, and regular trunks shows and craft fairs are hosted at the Museum Store. Other public special events hosted by the museum include gallery artist meet-and-greet programs, artist and author lectures and readings, and food tasting and dining events at the BIMA Bistro.
550 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA, Phone: 206-842-4451
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