School Tours Information
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center
CLOSED THROUGH MAY 4, 2020
Scheduled group tours are canceled through May 31, 2020
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is closely monitoring the developments with the global spread of COVID-19. King County Public Health officials released a statement recommending mitigation measures and encouraging workplaces to maximize working from home. As a health-focused organization, we feel it is important to be aligned with the practices recommended by our local public health departments.
We are encouraging Foundation employees to work from home and therefore the Gates Foundation Discovery Center will be closed at least through May 4, 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates as we have them.
We appreciate your understanding.
We offer a general tour and a growing selection of workshop experiences with specific themes. Self-guided visits are also available for groups with early learners or that prefer to explore the Discovery Center independently.
Visits can be scheduled at least two weeks in advance using our online booking system at the bottom of this page. Tours booked online show real-time availability, we encourage you to have a range of dates in mind prior to booking. All tours and admission are free. Bus subsidies are available to schools with demonstrated need; please inquire when you submit your tour request.
Special Exhibit: We the Future Student Experience
This 90-minute experience engages students in dialogue around the social justice issues featured in the We the Future exhibit. Explore action projects and activities to foster critical thinking and build community.
- Grade 6+
- Available Tuesday and Thursday mornings
- Groups of up to 30 students
- Note, this experience does not include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s global work. You are welcome to explore the galleries on your own afterward.
Discovery Center School Tour
Our 60-minute general tour is available to groups of all ages and can be tailored to fit your group’s interests. Tours explore all of the galleries in the Discovery Center, including the special exhibit, and incorporate hands-on activities, dialogue, and exploration of a range of global topics. We encourage you to plan for an additional 30+ minutes of time to explore the galleries on your own.
- Grades 1 – 3; up to 40 students
- Grades 4 – 8; up to 72 students
- Grades 9 – 12; up to 80 students
- College/Adult; up to 100 guests
- Available Tuesday-Friday, all ages welcome
Short on time? Bringing younger students? Have your own plan? Consider setting up a self-guided visit. Receive a friendly greeting, then explore the Discovery Center galleries and exhibits.
- PreK & Kindergarten; up to 40 students
- Groups of two or more visitors
- Available Tuesday-Saturday, all ages welcome
- Travel and Transportation: We do not have designated bus parking, although our tour scheduling staff can share possibilities for parking near Seattle Center. Most school buses use the turnaround area near the Museum of Pop Culture at 5th Ave N & Harrison St. to drop off.
- Parking: There are several parking options nearby including an adjacent garage at 5th Ave N. & Republican St. See our Getting Here page for information.
- Food: The Discovery Center does not have a lunch area, but many visitors choose to use Seattle Center, located across the street.
- Photographs: Guests are welcome to take pictures in our space.
- Standards of Respect: We have a policy of respect that we ask all our guests to follow.
- What if we are late? Traffic and life happen. If you are late, please let us know, and we will adjust as well as we can when you arrive. We may not be able to extend your visit beyond the originally scheduled time, but our staff will adjust the activities to accommodate the group in whatever time remains.
The Discovery Center can provide transportation subsidies to visiting Washington State schools with demonstrated need. You can apply for a subsidy of up to $300 when completing the registration form below.
Please schedule your school tour at least two weeks in advance using the form below.
Maximum group size
(based on age or grade level)
Large Group Tours are offered on Tuesdays & Wednesdays
- PreK-3rd gradeUp to 40 students
- 4th-8th grade:Up to 72 students
- 9th-12th grade:Up to 80 students
- Adults:Up to 100 participants