Travel Destination: Seattle

This is the post on the second stop on my vacation: Seattle

Seattle has some very nice attractions that doesn’t get much national attention, plus really good package deals on ticket prices.

The first day there we went down to the waterfront and I must say that Seattle has done a real nice job, its clean, friendly and easy to get to. It is also not far from the park area where the Space Needle is.

Our first stop was at the Seattle Aquarium where we purchased what is called the City Pass, which is a 6 attraction bundle at a much reduced price. Price for the City Pass is $59.00, separate admission to each attraction is $113.70 which is a savings of $54.70

This included not only the Aquarium but 2 rides to the top of the Space Needle in a 24 hr period, entrance to the Pacific Science Center which has many exhibits but also 2 IMAX theaters (one IMAX film per City Pass), One harbor tour by Argosy Cruises and entrance to Woodland Park Zoo. It also comes with what is called an optional ticket. What that ticket does is allow you entrance to either the The Museum of Flight 10 minutres from downtown or the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame which is in the same area as the Space Needle and the Science Center.

The Aquarium has two indoor exhibit halls, plus an outdoor viewing area for their larger attractions such as the Harbor seals. This was a very nice aquarium with easy access and plenty to see with fish from all over the world as well as species that live near the Northwest coast.

From there we trekked to the Pacific Science Center. The trip is not far by foot but it is uphill from the Waterfront district. The reason that it is uphill is that modern day Seattle is built on the remains of the original Seattle that was destroyed by earthquake and fire. Some of the old parts of Seatlle still survive and you can take a tour of this “underground Seattle” (unfortunately time constraints prevented us from doing this). Once at the Science Center we caught a showing at one of their IMAX theaters and then walked among their exhibits. They are similar to OMSI in Portland but with less focus on technology.

From the Science Center we used out optional ticket and went into the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. As the Name implies it is devoted to SciFi and it sits in one half of the building with the Music Project in the other half. In it they chronicle the history and evolution of SciFi and they have many, many artifacts including one of the original models of the Enterprise and Captain Kirk’s Command Chair.

Also they have Tweekie from the show Buck Rodgers, the robot “dagget” from the original Battlestar Galatica, R2D2.

While there I had to get myself a “Dead Man Walking” T-shirt that has a Star Trek security guard with cross hairs imposed over him and that saying next to it. This is based on how many times, usually in the first minutes of the episode, a security guard gets killed. This in turn inspired the term Red-Shirting for when a SciFi author uses a real life person in one of their books and kills that character off.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Redshirt

From there it was a trip to the top of the Space Needle for a view of the greater Seattle area.

After that we took a trip via a monorail which runs from the Space Needle to downtown Seattle. Matter of fact the stop for the monorail downtown is inside a multistory shopping mall. We then headed back down to the waterfront which took us through Pike Place Market which is an attraction in its own right.

Once back at the Waterfront we ended the day with an hour long harbor cruise. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate so we weren’t able to see and take pictures of the Olympic montain range to the west of Seattle.

What we did see was a French Destroyer in for a port visit as well as the 2 heavy Ice Breakers the Coast Guard operates in for work.

On the second day we took the Lakes Cruise, also offered by Argosy Cruise lines. This cruise is 1.5 hours long and takes you past Husky Stadium and the University of Washington campus, plus the famous houseboat homes that have been featured in films as well as the Sleepless in Seattle community. You also got to see where the uber rich live including Bill Gates home as well as the natural beauty of the lake area. Also on clear days like this one you get a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier. We also got to see small ‘bush’ planes of a small airline that uses the lake as their landing zone.

From there we spent the rest of the day at Woodland Park Zoo as shown in the following pictures. One thing I couldn’t get a picture of was the Bald Eagles nest that was not the pair of Bald Eagles belonging to the Zoo. Turns out that there is a lot of crows that hang around this zoo and in turn they attracted a pair of wild Bald Eagles. Due to the abundance of food in the area they made a nest there.

The third day was a travel/visit Mt. Rainier day. We had planned on stopping at the Sunrise Visitors Center while traveling through Mt. Rainier National Forest but the road to it was closed due to having 6 feet of snow on it.

While we were traveling the roads through the mountains there you could really see how they affect weather patterns. On the west side there was rain all the way up to the crest of the mountains, that turned into fog and low lying clouds and that turned into clear skies by the time we exited the National Forest on the east side. Also just prior to entering the National Forest we saw 1 lonely Elk munching away no more then a foot to a foot and a half from the road.

Overall I wished we had planned one more day for Seattle for we had to forgo some nice attractions such as the Museum of Flight, Underground Seattle and a tour of the Boeing plant.

The next travel destination is Yellowstone.

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