Sunday, August 16, 2009

Seattle Vacation - Photojournalism Style

So, you already know that we took a vacation. I posted a few photos, remember? Even though I didn't give away the details, you might already know that there's not a Cheesecake Factory in our hometown. I meant to post a better cruise photo, with something identifiable in the background, so that one wasn't any help - unless you gave some thought to the overcast skies. This one would have gotten you close, though, if you could identify the artist.

I don't think it's possible for me to tell you everything about our Seattle vacation. Instead, I'll show you a small portion. Then, I'll go burn my photos to CD - since I owe copies to everyone who vacationed with us! (Oh, and Folks We Vacationed With, please send copies of your photos. I'm missing Rachel the Pig, for starters...)

We got up very early to catch our flight to Seattle. We were on the road while it was still dark out, but that didn't stop the kids from waking up and watching the sun rise as we drove to the airport. They were very excited about the flight, and about seeing Grandma and Grandpa R, and staying with Uncle J and B! Oh, and playing Leapster for hours on end, including the two new games we bought for the flight. Big J sat with them for the first half of the flight, and I enjoyed some uninterrupted time to read (and nap a bit!).
We took a day to adjust a bit to the time change, then made cool, rocky Alki Beach our first stop. It was a great choice for our first day - something fun and relaxing with no waiting in line!

Mister J and Miss M enjoyed learning to skip rocks on the beach, which was covered in smooth rocks of all sizes. (They are much harder on the feet than you expect!) The water was cold - but that didn't stop the kids from getting wet! They had a great time playing with the sand, water, rocks, and driftwood.
(click to enlarge)

We spent the next day at the Seattle Center attractions, beginning with the Pacific Science Center. From outdoor water 'play' to the IMAX movie, we had a great time! (Have you ever taken a young child to an IMAX movie? Miss M kept trying to feed her popcorn to the fish in Under the Sea 3D.)
Fountain in the plaza outside of the museum.
That's me, in the purple, with the butterfly on my (white, pasty) arm. Mister J almost had one land on his bright blue shirt as we walked through the Butterfly House. We also got to watch as a volunteer released some new butterflies into the exhibit.

Mister J enjoyed this exhibit, which compares the relative sizes of the planets (& still includes Pluto). He was fascinated by many other exhibits, among them....
...a working cross-section of a toilet. This was a regular exhibit, and not a part of the Grossology exhibit (Animal Grossology was at PacSci while we were there). I have tons of other photos, some gross, some not, but I had to pick the highlights, y'all.

There were actually some much more fascinating water displays in the courtyard of PacSci - if you can call it a courtyard when it's basically a big pool with some platforms across the center. The outdoor exhibits were fun and fascinating for kids of all ages!

After PacSci, it was on to the Space Needle! The clouds had cleared a bit more than this photo (from earlier in the day) shows, and we had a nice view of the greater Seattle area.

Who's ready to go to the top of the Space Needle?
I am!!!

This is the top of a very cool building as viewed from the top of the Space Needle. The VCB (very cool building) is home to the EMP (Experience Music Project). We made a very quick stop here at the end of our day. No photos allowed, so we didn't get any snaps of the music history on display in the Guitar Gallery or of the kids rocking out on the keyboards, drums, and guitars in the sound lab. However, someone (not me) got a shot of this very groovy guitar sculpture, "IF VI WAS IX: Roots and Branches" (Trimpin).

In our hometown, sidewalk performers are not something we usually see unless there's a festival downtown, so they are a big deal for the kids. We let Mister J gave this performer a tip, and he got a special bit of music played especially to him.

After PacSci, the Space Needle, and the EMP, we returned to our car the same way we'd originally made our way to Seattle Center - on the monorail! This time, we got seats up front!

On day two of the downtown portion of our Sightseeing Adventure, Big J enjoyed driving into Seattle on the Viaduct, which dropped us right into downtown. He also drove through Pike Place Market. That was enough to whet my appetite - I could not wait to get out and start walking!
(This photo was not taken from the car - I was too wide-eyed during the drive through the market to even remember that I had a camera with me!)

Another street performer - a particularly interesting one, for obvious reasons.

The original Starbucks. No, we didn't get coffee there, but we did stop briefly to listen to the very talented performers out front. Yes, there were sidewalk performers everywhere. We also saw a bride, a groom, and their photographer walking down Pike Street. Ask me what we didn't see - the list would be shorter! We also had some fresh Ranier cherries while we were there- yum!

The Market is just like you expect from books and photos - crowded and colorful - but with the added bonus of the sounds and smells!
(click to enlarge)

Did I mention colorful?
After a visit to the Seattle Aquarium (photos of which I somehow forgot to upload), we had lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory (I recommend the pasta with Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter). Then, because we hadn't worn out the grandparents or the hosts quite enough yet, we went on a harbor cruise. (We got them some coffee first, though!)
A view from Elliott Bay towards the Seattle PI building and the "Space Noodle" (as Miss M has taken to calling it).
Mister J getting a good view from the deck with Uncle J and B (above), and Uncle J and Grandpa R (below). It was cool and a little misty during our late afternoon cruise - a big change from the heat wave the week prior, but also unlike the weather during the majority of our visit.

On the day before Grandma and Grandpa R flew home, we drove down to Tacoma to visit the Museum of Glass. Our visit started with the Bridge of Glass (Dale Chihuly, Tacoma native).
Crystal Towers

Seaform Pavilion (click to enlarge)

Venetian Wall - that center photo really gives you a sense of the scale of these works!
(click to enlarge)

After experiencing the Bridge of Glass - yes, not just crossing, but experiencing - we headed down a couple hundred steps to the museum. The plazas on the way down were filled with more art, composed of metal, glass, and water.

Frolicking in the Water Forest (Howard Ben Tre') - and only getting a little bit wet!

The steps wrapped around this massive, shiny structure which we later learned was a working Hot Shop (follow the link for live web streaming 7 days a week - specific hours listed on the site).
See that viewing area with the two brave people standing on it? People who did not shy away from the intense heat emanating from the raging furnaces below? That's where we stood to watch the action. It kind of reminded us of the weather back home ((grin)).
We could have watched this for hours. It was amazing to see the artists shape the molten glass - bending and stretching and blowing with an assortment of tools (including wet newspaper!). However, even those of us used to the heat were getting a little, um, warm, so we moved on to the galleries.

Our last day of sightseeing took us on to another area of Seattle - Green Lake/Fremont/Ballard - I guess that's actually 'areas.' We had breakfast-for-lunch at Beth's Cafe, which has been featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives (opens with sound).

Click the photo - it's a link! Be sure to check out the yummy menu!

The kids colored while we waited for our meals, and then got to post their creations for all to see. (That's Mister J hanging his up, in case you were wondering). When our food arrived, I wasn't able to finish my Southsider, Miss M devoured her huge pancake, Mister J ate most of his Mini Breakfast (pancake, bacon, and egg), and Big J put a big dent in his... um ... hey, Honey, what did you eat?

Next, we were off to see the Fremont Troll - a public art project. Yes, that's a VW Beetle in his hand. Yes, those are my kids. The troll is big.

Last stop of the day was something I'll do again the nest time we visit. We took a quick walk through the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Gardens on our way to see the Hiram Chittenden Locks also known as the Ballard Locks). I could've watched this all day long (haven't I said this once before?), but we had one more thing to do! We went to the Fish Ladder to watch the salmon swim upstream. Pretty cool, but my photos of the fish (and we saw many!) aren't near as cute as this one of Miss M pointing out the way....

We had a great visit, and we are already looking forward to our next opportunity to visit Seattle (and Uncle J and B!) On our list for next time? Gas Works Park, Olympic Sculpture Park, a Locks Cruise, taking a ferry to a location yet to be determined, maybe a long weekend in Portland or Vancouver....


Heather said...

LOVED all the pictures and I'm so glad you had a good time. I'm a big fan of WA since I was born at Ft. Lewis!

Anonymous said...

Ryan Leigh, I LOVED seeing your photos! All of the places that you visited are some of our favorite places to go. There is SO much to do and see out here. Some of our faves: Ft. Worden (in Port Townsend), Salt Creek State Rec Area (west of Port Angeles -- great tide pools for the kids to explore), Olympic National Park, Victoria (BC), Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, Portland (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is AMAZING), Leavenworth (WA - very cute), and of course, the San Juans. You could come out here every summer for the next decade and see something new! :)