Ideas for enjoying the real life of Seattle (that often cost little or nothing).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Sculpture Park is Born

Seattle is all a-buzz about its new Olympic Sculpture Park, and for good reason. This public space in the Belltown neighborhood is the first in Seattle to have the potential for the grand quality of New York's Central Park, or the Tuilleries of Paris. It is a large space in the center of the city, designed for walking, that has beauty unto itself and shows off the beauty of the city that is its home. Entrance is free and it is open every day of the year.

Above: Looking west, past Calder's "Eagle," toward Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains - The park's name sake.

I say "potential", as the park in many ways is nascent. The landscaping is in its infancy, and the art collection (although already a great range of sculptural styles and concepts) remains small relative to the expanse of the nine acre site. In fact, although the park opened a couple weeks ago, parts remain under construction. Not only will the collection flesh out, but it will constantly evolve, with pieces appearing and others disappearing over time.

Above: Richard Serra's, "Wake"

Although there are aspects of the Park that are similar to the great urban parks of other cities, there are some significant differences too. The Olympic Sculpture Park is very modern, not classic, in its design. It was also not part of the original or early plans for the city. This place was reclaimed from industrial use and winds its way over and around both a major city street and train tracks.
Additionally, great efforts were put into environmental restoration of the site, including the restoration of part of the shoreline of Puget sound.

Right: "Split," by Roxy Paine

It seems every aspect of the park was thoughtfully considered, from the site, landscape, architectural, and collection design, to details such as the compostable serving ware at the cafe (which has a lovely selection of tasty, "picnic-able" food) and an acknowledgement of the displacement of homeless folks who had lived on the old industrial grounds.


2901 Western Avenue, Seattle

Click here

Holiday Closures:
Although the park is open every day, the Pavilion, which houses the gift shop, cafe, restrooms and garage, is closed on the following holidays:

Independence Day, Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Columbus Day, Monday, October 8, 2007
Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 22, 2007
Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24, 2007
Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25, 2007
New Year's Eve, Monday, December 31, 2007
New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Park Hours
May 1–September 30: 6 a.m.–9 p.m. daily
October 1–April 30: 7 a.m.–6 p.m. daily

Pavilion Hours
May 1–September 30 Closed MondaysTuesday–Sunday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.Friday: 10 a.m.– 9 p.m.
October 1–April 30Closed MondaysTuesday–Sunday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Pay parking is available in the Pavilion garage. The entrance to the parking garage is on Broad Street. Open Daily from 6 a.m.–10 p.m. No overnight parking.
Rates: 0–2 Hours $62–4 Hours $12All Day $22
Metered parking is available on Western Avenue and Alaskan Way.

Allowed on leash in the park, but not in the pavillion (except, of course, service dogs).

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, February 05, 2007

Weekenders: Mount Hood & Timberline Lodge

This post is part of an intermittent series on weekend getaway destinations that are 1/2 day or less drive from Seattle. There are so many options: seashore, islands, mountains, countryside, neighboring cities and towns. We will take a look at some of the best examples of each.

About an hour east of Portland, Oregon sits Mount Hood, the state's highest mountain. It is to Oregon what Mount Rainier is to Washington: a point of orientation, a comforting icon of home, an outdoor recreationalist's haven. The mountain is almost entirely National Forest land, with much of it designated as wilderness. Climbing, hiking, and skiing are all year-around activities there.

Mount Hood also has a treasure trove of history in Timberline Lodge, a gorgeous hand-built lodge constructed at the height of the 1930s depression by the WPA (Works Progress Administration). Forest workers and WPA artists worked long hours to complete the entire project in less than two years, from early 1936 to late 1937, and was dedicated by President Roosevelt.

Above: Outside of Timberline Lodge. Look familiar? The lodge was used for the outside shots in "The Shining."

The lodge, which operates to this day as an inn, was dedicated as a national historic landmark in 1978. It is also a "living" piece of American craft from woodcarving to wrought iron works, from weaving, applique, and painting to mosaic, carved linoleum, and stained glass.

Left: A pelican banister post leads to a stairwell paneled with a carved wood mural and lit by a hand wrought iron lamp.

Left: A mosaic illustration of Mt Hood wildlife is the back splash for the brass water fountain.

Since the mid 1970's the lodge has been maintained and restored by a dedicated group of volunteer artisans, called the Friends of Timberline, who work diligently to preserve, repair and when necessary replace craftwork in the same manner the original pieces were created.
Left: Note the loom next to the ranger's desk. Visitors can often watch artists recreating fabrics to replace worn out draperies and furniture cushions.

Many of the rooms in Timberline are dedicated to the lodge's history, from its creation to its famous visitors to the evolution of Mt. Hood as a destination for outdoor recreation.

Above: Pictures from early-day visitors.
Left: The story of how local Campfire Girls designed the insignia for the lodge. Campfire has long been an icon of Northwest living.

The video clip below provides a glimpse of the Lodge's great room.

How To Get There

From Seattle, take I-5 south to I-205. Continue south on I-205 to I-84 east. Heading east on I-84, take exit 16 and follow signs to US-26. Continue on US-26 to Timberline Highway, which takes you right to the lodge.

Where To Stay

You would be cheating yourself if you stayed anywhere other thanTimberline, especially in the wintertime. Given the beauty and historic significance of the lodge, as well as the ski lifts being right out the door, the prices are very reasonable ($90-$255). However, if you can't get reservations or prefer to camp (summer only) the local chamber of commerce can point you to other places to stay.

Where to Eat

Again, really, the place to be when you visit Timberline is Timberline. The lodge has a fabulous fine-dining room in the Cascade Dining Room. The Ram's Head Bar is great for lunch with a view of the skiers. The Blue Ox Bar is another option.

Down the mountain in Government Camp, the Huckleberry Inn is the place for breakfast. The huckleberry pancakes are a must. Further on, in Welches, is a great little Mexican joint called El Burro Loco.

Above: The view to the slopes from the Ram's Head Bar.

Where to Play

For the snow sports:
Timberline, of course, has a very nice ski area that takes you far up the mountain onto its famous glaciers. The largest (and nicest) area is a bit further east at Mount Hood Meadows
Ski Bowl is the least expensive... for a reason.
Snow Bunny is a long-standing inner tubing site for snow-loving non-skier.

For summer activities, the Mount Hood Information Center has lots of great info and links on camping, hiking, climbing, fishing, festivals and more.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Getting out with the Kids

Without benefit of having kids herself (but regularly acting like one), Cascadia Girl tries her hand at ideas for outings with the kinder-folk:

Woodland Park Zoo

A "park within a park" in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle, the Woodland Park Zoo is a comfortable and fun affordable outdoor family outing:

Per their website: "Woodland Park Zoo encompasses 92 acres and features more than 1,090 individual animals representing nearly 300 species. The grounds are divided into what are known as bioclimatic zones, the unique habitats around the world, from tropical rain forests to the frigid climes of the Far North."

The grounds are well designed for the wanderings of humans and animals alike. The bioclimatic zones give a feel for the natural habitat and species mix in the large area. (But, no... no lions in with the gazelle... only species that play well together.)

Pacific Science Center

The Pacific Science Center is an interactive, hands-on museum of physical science. Exhibits teach about everything from astronomy to dinosaurs to insects (the butterfly exhibit is my FAVorite). PSI also houses Seattle's IMAX theater.

The Science Center is priced about the same as the zoo, so a family of four would pay about $35 for the day.

Seattle Aquarium

Another great hands-on experience, with thirteen, ever-changing major exhibits and frequent special events, there is always something new here.

Try to time your visit with one of the talks or feeding times.

Cost for a family of four is a bit more here: approximately $40.

Seattle Children's Museum

Quite literally a creative playground, the SCM "challenges visitors to work in teams, manipulate objects, role play, problem solve and develop eye-hand coordination with a variety of unique exhibits and programs."

With 8 permanent exhibits and many other child-sized venues for learning, the Museum transports kids to other parts of the world and history through its programs and activities.

The most affordable of the outings listed, a trip to the Museum for that family of four will cost $30.

Seattle Children's Theater

With a mission to provide children of all ages access to professional theatre, with a focus on new works, and theatre education, SCT has "developed and improved the caliber of plays available for young audiences in the United States and abroad, developing and producing over 90 new works."

Each play is rated for the age-range that would most enjoy the performance. Currently, "Goodbye Moon" is playing, which is great for ages 4 and up.

More expensive than the museums (but well worth the cost), ticket prices range. For a family of four, an evening at the theater would be around $85.

Thistle Theater

For a different type of theater, try Thistle. Thistle Theater, "brings together professional puppeteers, artists and musicians to create unique & diverse puppet theatre productions for the entire family. They specialize in a form of Japanese puppetry called Bunraku. The puppeteers dress in black and operate the puppets from behind.

Thistle performs at more than one venue, so families can often attend a show close to home. Ticket costs for a family of four would be approximately $33.

Museum of flight

More for the older (and much older) kids is Boeing's Museum of Flight, which chronicles the history aeronautics, including many historic planes that visitors can step into, including an Airforce One and a Concorde. There are workshops for the little ones. Cost for a family of four is about $33.

Experience Music Project

Another place for kids of all ages, EMP is part music history museum, part interactive music lab. You can teach yourself to play a guitar, mix an album, or scratch. You can learn about the history of Northwest rock, the evolution of the guitar, or the life history of Jimi Hendrix.

The most expensive of the museums, and understandably once you "experience" it, EMP will cost that family of four $70.

Labels: , , ,

Travel Blogs - Blog Top Sites
A Note Regarding Links: A few of the links from this site are to sites that sell products or services. Please note that, although I may receive a small compensation for the link, I only link to these sights when I genuinely like/recommend them. Also know that these third parties may serve content and/or advertisements and collect information directly from visitors and may place or recognize cookies on visitors' browsers.