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Wednesday Wednesday was EMP/SciFi Museum and Pac Sci day.… 
31st-Jul-2009 10:59 pm


Wednesday was EMP/SciFi Museum and Pac Sci day. We skipped the EMP, since we'd both been through it before and were much more interested in the SF museum. The SF museum was awesome, especially the Jim Henson exhibit. But the rest was very nice - like a lot of stuff we saw this week, small but good quality. Lots of books, lots of Star Trek, no very recent stuff. There were no pictures inside, though, so.

After that, lunch was at Steamer's, where we split a delightful pile of fried seafood goodness. Fish and clams, noms.

I'd never been to Pac Sci, so it was a treat. I love science museums. It was crawling with munchkins, and I was a little tired, so I wasn't munchkin dealing very well - we kept getting run over and stepped on - but other than that, it was awesome. The highlights here were seeing a corn snake get its once-every-two-weeks feeding and the butterfly house and the dinosaurs. We were done with Pac Sci earlier than we expected, so we got some terribly indulgent chocolates and cold drinks on the waterfront. We bussed home, made pork steaks and roasted potatoes for dinner, and watched Dark City, and knitted.


The first thing on in the morning was a tour of Safeco Field. This has originally been my idea, but then I grew a little skeptical. Neither of us are baseball people, but we do like getting to go places that the general public doesn't normally. So we got on the bus and headed over and got off in the International District and hoofed it over to the stadium and were way early, so we wandered around the block and looked for the stadium train station and then wandered back and took pictures of the moose.

This tour ended up being one of the best things we did all week. The guide was a retired teacher, and very patient and funny without trying too hard. The stadium is an awesome building, whether or not you're interested in baseball, and really beautiful. And we did get to go lots of places in the stadium that mere mortals don't normally, plus a few they do: first up into the stands to talk about the field and stadium a bit, then a pass by some more art, then upstairs for an amazing view, then back towards the field to talk about the roof, then into one of the club boxes (nicer than my house, let me tell you), then to the press box and the box next to the press box, then to the visitor's clubhouse, then into the Diamond Club (club for crazy high rollers that I'll never get to go near again, and yes, it was very nice, but I didn't get good pics), and then holy crap we got to go down onto the field (well, the dirt next to it.)

Seriously, it was totally, totally cool, even if you're not a baseball person. The kids on the tour who were baseball fans were beside themselves with joy ("Where does Ichiro sit?")

So after the tour, we trotted over to the train station to try to take the train back into Westlake, since neither of us had been on the light rail yet. After finding out that the trains weren't running in the tunnel and having a conversation about my Orca card with the most dense Sound Transit employee I've ever dealt with, we caught a bus into the tunnel. We had lunch at the downtown McD's (quick, cheap), and headed off to the Underground Tour, which was pretty decent though the guide was pretty new. (Tip to people with little kids: if your kids are too young to get the innuendo about the sewing circles, and young enough to get scared when the guides talk about ghosts in the underground, they're too young for the UT). We caught the bus home, got Qdoba for dinner with Dan and Ari, and headed off to Ginger's Rainbow meeting (and it was nice to see what that was all about.) We got out pretty late, got in the tiny car, went home, and fell over.


The plan for Friday had been a tour of a chocolate factory and then the Woodland Park Zoo. However, when we called on Thursday for reservations for the tour on Friday, thinking we weren't going to have any trouble... they were sold out until 2pm on Monday. Whoops.

This ended up working out okay, though, as we just spent all day at the zoo. :) My made-of-awesome zoo membership got me in for free and Ginger in for half price, and we got parked and got our tickets and wandered into the zoo. One of the coolest things we saw all day was the peacock shown to the left, who was free ranging and so mild that, well, you can see how close he let me stand to take pictures of him. He was gorgeous.

We spent the morning checking out exhibits, including people feeding giraffes, tapirs, elephants, and monkeys. We ate our picnic lunch pretty early, so we could start attending talks. The penguin talk was pretty uninformative, but then we headed over to the lion enclosure for a lion and wild dog talk, where we were in for a treat.

There are crows around the lion exhibit, you see, and most of the time, the lions leave the crows alone, which means the crows get complacent, and then the female lion grabs herself a crow. She had just done so when we got down there, and was carrying it across the enclosure by one wing, gathering a huge crowd. ("She's going to give it to him! [the male lion]" "No, she's keeping it for herself!" "It's still alive!") The zookeeper got there, took a look at the crowd, and said "Nothing I say to them is going to be more interesting than that, so, no talk." Ginger and I said "Ohho! You can talk to us!" and got a private fifteen minute talk with the zookeeper about the lions and the wild dogs (far beyond "How long do they live?" and into "I was reading a paper last week about the genetic changes in the dogs...") So. cool. Yes, we're geeks, so what?

Next up was the elephant talk, which was fun if noisy, and last up was the raptor talk, which was interesting, and with a keeper who obviously loves his birds. We wandered around to more exhibits. The river otters at Woodland Zoo were also asleep, as had been the river otters we'd been seeing all week. and once we'd gotten through everything, got back in the tiny car and headed for home by way of Crossroads, where we used my gift certificates for cupcakes, and hit Half Priced books, and Old Navy for a pair of $2 flip flops for me, since my beloved Chacos were rapidly giving up the ghost after over 4 years of faithful service.

Once home, we did the whole "What do you want to eat?" "I dunno, what do you want to eat?" thing until we finally decided on Chinese take-out, on the theory that it'd be nice to have leftovers for Sunday night, when I was supposed to be leaving. So we ate Chinese and watched Jurassic Park, which I hadn't seen in eons and which was more fun than I remembered it being.


So, Northwest Trek's thing, in addition to normal zoo type exhibits, is a tram ride through a 440 acre area where animals get to roam free. All of the species are ones that might normally occur in the Northwestern United States. This was also one of the coolest things we did all week. :) Baby bison! Moose Elk (to your left)! Very big goats! Caribou within 2 feet of the tram (that I failed to get a picture of.) It was seriously cool and great big fun, and if you live in the area, you should go. The animal exhibits themselves were excellent, too, though we spent much of the afternoon playing "Where's Waldo?" with sleeping animals (and then there was the wolf playing "one with the log"). The cougars put on a good show. The river otters were asleep (we managed to visit 4 institutions with animals during the week, and every time, the river otters were asleep.) We went to a fascinating talk with a skunk, and another with a opossum, and got to pepper the bird keeper with questions.

Once back home, we had pot roast that ironman4do had started in the crockpot that morning, and mashed potatoes and steamed carrots. We did a Cold Stone run and wandered Half Price books again, and then Ari went home, and rest of us fell over.


Sunday morning we had breakfast at Ruby's with nder, where Ginger and I split some terrific cinnamon roll French toast. Then he headed off for swimming and work. We hit Target (cheap duffel bag for me, since I was leaving with more stuff than I came with) and Ben Franklin's, and headed home so I could pack. We headed back out to grab Burger King for lunch, then back home where we knitted and watched The Chronicles of Riddick. We ate our Chinese leftovers in the middle of it. And then... I started getting phone calls from Jet Blue that my flight out was delayed.
1st-Aug-2009 03:17 am (UTC)

1st-Aug-2009 04:31 am (UTC)
(Also, your top-level pic for Saturday is an elk, not a moose :) )

Edited at 2009-08-01 04:31 am (UTC)
1st-Aug-2009 05:01 am (UTC)
I cannot imagine how you could have worked anything else into this trip. (And I totally get that it was not the 'meet new people' type of get away.)

Can you believe, I have never done one of those Safeco tours! I want to see where Ichiro sits!! I am going to do it. Thank you! It would have never occurred to me.
2nd-Aug-2009 02:17 am (UTC)
It was a lot of fun :) Also, if you have someone else you want to take along, I think I have a second BOGO coupon for it.

Edited at 2009-08-02 02:17 am (UTC)
2nd-Aug-2009 02:21 am (UTC)
That's very kind of you! But, I think probably what I will do is slip down there one afternoon when I have a break in work and just take it in by myself.
2nd-Aug-2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
Hey, susandennis forwarded me links to these entries, and I'm so glad she did! I live on Capitol Hill in Seattle, have lived in Seattle for 11 years (Belltown for 6; First Hill for 2; about three miles from downtown [in Fremont] for 1.5; Capitol Hill for 1.5 -- I don't like to be far from where the action is!), and I have always fancied myself a permanent resident tourist in this city. I love doing all the things you described in this entry.

My brother lives in Eastern Washington -- where I spent nine years growing up; I got the hell out of there and he didn't -- and he has five kids, all of which I have come and visit me for a weekend by themselves every summer, starting the year they turn 10. I do lots of these kinds of things with them, and I am always looking for new ideas for fun things to do with preteen/teenagers. To date I have only had the two oldest, who are girls, visit, but next year the oldest of the boys starts to come -- and I think a tour of Safeco Field sounds absolutely perfect! I certainly never would have thought about it myself, as I am not into baseball, or any sport for that mater, but I am always interested in architecture and building design. That tour sounds great, both for an adult interested in buildings and for a little boy likely in awe of a sports facility. I'm adding it to the list!

It's too bad you couldn't fit the Theo Chocolates factory tour into your ridiculously packed visit. It's one of the things I now recommend most highly to visitors, as it's so very cheap (five bucks!) and so very fun, and features an unlimited amount of chocolate samples. If you ever make it back, I highly recommend putting it on your list of places to visit -- but, yes, call and make your tour reservation well in advance.

Incidentally, my oldest niece comes for her eighth visit this Wednesday, and I'm doing some of the same things with her that you did on your visit too! I found out she's crazy for animals a couple of years ago when I took her to the Olympic Game Farm (again, highly recommended for any future visit -- a hefty drive up the Olympic Peninsula but well worth it; it's much like Northwest Trek only you drive your own car among the animals and can hand feed many of them through your windows!), so this year's "finale visit" is basically going to be Big Animal Weekend for her. She told me her favorite animal is a seal, so I'm taking her back to the Seattle Aquarium, which I took her to 6 years ago when she was 11 but she doesn't really remember that now, and which I haven't been to since before they renovated. Another day I'll take her to Northwest Trek, and another day I'm taking her on a day trip whale watching boat tour through the San Juan Islands. She's going to flip, and it's going to be great fun.

I find that hosting visitors forces me to go out and do all these fun things much more often than I ever make time to do on my own time anymore, and they're great for local residents as well. So, in closing to this kind of long comment, I'll tell you that you should do the locals here a favor and visit more often!
3rd-Aug-2009 01:43 am (UTC)
That tour sounds great, both for an adult interested in buildings and for a little boy likely in awe of a sports facility. I'm adding it to the list!

Totally. It was one of my favorite things of the week, and I'm not a baseball person. It's a BEAUTIFUL building, though, baseball park or no.

Olympic Game Park sounds awesome. *adds to future list*

If you end up with some time one summer and an animal loving niece/nephew around, might I also recommend the Vancouver aquarium? It's a hike, to be sure, but it's really, really awesome. We visited several years ago.

I was really bad about getting out and doing things when I lived in SEA, and it was nice to get to finally do some of this stuff. I think it's so cool that you have your nieces and nephews come visit like that - learning the joys of travel early like that has me jealous. ;)
3rd-Aug-2009 01:49 am (UTC)
Oh, and if you haven't already, if you're going to do touristy stuff, I might recommend getting an Entertainment book. I'm not affiliated with them, it was just damn handy. We had buy one get one coupons for the harbor tour, aquarium, the Pike Place Chowder Shop, Steamers, Pac Sci, the EMP/SciFi Museum, and the Safeco tour. I'm not sure what else is in there, but those are the things that were immediately useful to us, and saved something like $70 just in those coupons.
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