By Wednesday, our small family group expanded to include Dear SIL’s parents and brother and we all went off to the Vancouver Aquarium because dear daughter wanted to touch the stingrays. That is an odd goal that she has … to visit stingray tanks in as many zoos and aquariums as possible. So far she has Vancouver, Tacoma, Chicago, LA and Galveston, TX. The Vancouver Aquarium is justifiably internationally famous and some of our visit highlights included the jellyfish, the otters and seals (so playful), the educational shows, the frogs and that I got to be there when the penguins were delivered back to their habitat.
Afterwards we went to see the Totem Poles, which are also in Stanley Park. Interesting facts about totem poles can be found here.
Dear daughter and I went to revisit the Himalayan Blue Poppies at the Weyerhaeuser Rhododendron Gardens in Federal Way before they completely faded away for the season. In the United States, these poppies only grow in parts of New England, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, so we are lucky.
While we were they we checked out the adjoining Pacific Bonsai Museum, which we had been through a half dozen times. This time though there was a really great exhibit titled Natives. Per the brochure “each display in Natives is a composition of four artists — the bonsai artists, the kusamono artist (Young Choe), the ceramicist (Victoria Chamberlain) and the visual artist (Iuna Tinta)”. In case you don’t know (I didn’t) a kusamono artist creates potted arrangements of wild grasses and flowers in unique pots or trays. So each display has a bonsai, a companion kusamono (accent), the ceramic art (often using minerals from the depicted region) and a visual piece of art, all of which are centered around a particular place. It is a marvelous exhibit and worth some real time. The exhibit runs from April 8- October 8, 2017 and more information can be found here.
And, of course, there are some photos of the blue poppies and other foliage from the gardens.
Dear Daughter, home for her last Thanksgiving Break, needed to visit Mt. Rainier as part of her geology class. OK, fine, I like Mt. Rainier. I pack up my emergency backpack, extra blankets, water in case we hit bad weather and dear husband and off we went. Luckily there are many pullouts from the street near the mountain and DD got her photos. Not the full glorious mountain, of course, because it was raining and even snowing, but some close ups of rocks that seemed to make her happy. We got as far as Longmire and had lunch and checked out the small museum (the Longmire Museum at Mt. Rainier). I was so busy staring at the vicious face on this little weasel that I didn’t notice his poor prey until I reexamined the photo!
So here are the photos. Beside the Longmire Museum there are two shots of the Mountain taken on clearer days, a photo of the road going through the National Park, the porch at the lodge and the graffiti rocks approaching the park.
BTW, you need to have chains in your vehicle to enter the park after November 1st. It gets dark at about 3 pm in the winter (its all those trees!). There is no cell service on the mountain (at least the part we were at). Here is a link to Longmire. And Happy Thanksgiving.
In the early 1920s, during the presidency of Harding, our country was subject to the Teapot Dome Scandal, which revolved around oil reserves that were leased without competitive bid. There were two oil fields involved, the Teapot Dome fields in Wyoming and the Elk Hills field in California. The leases were investigated by the Senate and criminal charges were filed. Fines were paid, jail time served and the phrase Teapot Dome became synonymous with political corruption.
Well, in 1922, in the middle of the scandal, Jack Ainsworth, constructed his Teapot Dome Gas Station as a nod to the scandal. It is considered a roadside attraction and is open for visiting on the weekend for limited hours. Originally it was situated on Highway 410 between Zillah and Granger; however in 1978 it was scheduled to be moved to make way for Highway 82. Five days before it was to be moved, a car plowed into this tiny structure. The building, which is now on the historic register, was reconstructed by hand and moved to its current location at 14691 Yakima Valley Highway. It has its own parking lot, a public restroom building and is next to a memorial for fallen firefighters.
I got there about five minutes before it closed (I didn’t even think it might be open!) and got the tour (about 2 minutes). The volunteers were delightful. I read that there is a movement to relocate the building once again to downtown Zillah and to have it function as a visitor’s center. I was glad to have a chance to see the quirky building, though the light made it difficult to capture the image.
There I was at the Granbury Post Office mailing some paperwork to my niece. Looking for something else to do, I stopped at the firefighter’s memorial and from there I could see a plane! OK, that’s cool. I backtracked down the road and through the open gate of the US Veteran’s Museum. Just past the building, which was closed, I found the plane. A gentleman in a riding mower came to check out my intentions and told me that the museum had been closed for about a year. I found out later it had moved to nearby Glen Rose. I let him know that I was harmless and just wanted to snap a couple of photos, which I did while circling the plane on foot. The google map showed the plane complete, however, the wings had been removed and were next to the rest of the plane on the ground and the tail was missing. Since the museum is closed, I won’t suggested anyone else going to visit though a locked gate and/or no trespassing sign would have prevented me for seeing this kind of great plane. The riding mower man made sure I actually left and good for him for watching out for the property.
Stopped by the Tacoma Art Museum today to catch the Edvard Munch and the Sea exhibit before it slipped away on 7/17/16. While that was terrific and I learned a bunch about Munch, what I really loved was the Northwest Art Now Exhibit. There are some excellent, thought provoking pieces in that exhibit, included one of my favorites “Just be your selfie” by Dylan Neuwirth. I was at TAM on a brilliantly sunny day and this outside piece was difficult to see, so I did highlight it in blue in the photo (look at me learning Photoshop!) I need to go back in the evening to capture it glowing. More information on the Seattle based artist can be found here.
Below is the photo without my added blue box, Richard Rhodes’ untitled “stone wave” sculpture and a shot of the gallery (again playing with Photoshop).
The Tacoma Historic Society at 919 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402 has been at this location since March 2014 (two years) and today dear husband and I finally made it for a visit. I was eager to see the Tacoma Candy exhibit (Sweet Success) before it went away on March 26th. While it is not a huge museum like the Washington State History Museum, it is well curated and so very interesting. I really loved seeing the machine that makes ribbon candy. I thought it was a musical instrument at first! The Mission Statement of the Tacoma Historical Society is as follows “Tacoma Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation, promotion and presentation of the history of the City of Tacoma and its people.”
While the exact number of Tacoma Candy makers isn’t known, there was about 75 of them. The three remaining ones that I can think of are Brown & Haley, Johnson’s Candy and Emily’s. There is a press release about the exhibit here and the website for the museum and historic society is here.
For a year we planned to visit Historic Fort Steilacoom at 9601 Steilacoom Blvd, Lakewood, but they have limited hours (Sundays 1-4 during the summer and the first Sunday of the month from 1-4 from Labor Day to Memorial Day), and we have three different schedules, so it just took that long.
We thought it would be a small museum and perhaps it might be about Western State Hospital, but we were wrong on both accounts. The museum included several buildings and a two hour tour and was completely about the historic fort which had operated on the grounds. The tour guide was so incredibly knowledgeable and explained the fort’s history using the detailed model and in the other buildings to illustrate to us how the soldiers lived. I found it particularly interesting that the army would send representatives back east to meet new immigrants at the docks. The men would be offered transportation to the west coast and a job with room and board. Some eventually received free land. Such an opportunity. The fort’s history can be found on their website, but it is worthwhile to visit in person and go inside the actual buildings and talk to the terrific volunteers.
Talking about the volunteers, the green tint on the two gentleman is completely the fault of the lens! I was told that the lack of smiles is because people didn’t smile for photos in those days. They thought it made them look imbecilic.
Squeezing in a little last bite of summer, a bunch of us went to to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium to visit the jellies and the big cats. It was such a treat because one of the group of our happy group actually volunteers at the zoo and was able to tell us about the animals. I was so busy chatting with my friends, that I forgot to take many photos! Perhaps the dearest of the exhibits was the cloud leopards cubs even though they just slept there in a big pile of darlingness.
The LOTT WET Science Center at 500 Adams Street NE, Olympia was a pleasant find. LOTT’s WET (Water Education and Technology) looked pretty inviting with its outdoor water features, so I went in, asking if it was strictly for kids. The lady behind the counter assured me that I was welcome and I explored the space with great interest. The center is open 10-4 and is free. They even have things to give away like a shower timer and a small bag carrier (poo bags) that can be clipped to a dog’s leash. There is a variety of educational interactive exhibits and they even have a box turtle. There are often special events especially on Saturdays and school groups come by during the school year. They have a website and a Facebook page. They also have a Twitter Feed and a YouTube Channel!