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!
The Lan Su Chinese Garden in the Chinatown neighborhood of Vancouver, BC. is a little piece of serenity in a very busy downtown. All of the garden’s materials were brought in from the city of Suzhou, Vancouver’s sister city and built by citizens of that city. I took the 45 minute tour lead by a wonderful docent while my other family members wondered off to find their own adventures. One of the interesting facts I learned is that the decorative windows in the walls are all different and they are called leaks because they lead in light and air. More information can be found here.
My dentist use to be kind of nearby, but she moved to a new office in Kent and I faithfully followed here. After my appointment, I wandered off to find a park that promised a pirate’s ship (that didn’t happen) and the adjacent Little Free Library. The historic home was just a bonus!
The Neely Soames House is located at 5311 South 237th Place, Kent in a residential area next to the Green River Trail. The house was constructed in 1884 making it the oldest standing residence in Kent. What I loved about the house was the amazing porch and wisteria. Looking at my photo, it looks like a one story house with abundant landscaping, but it is really a two story house with the wisteria almost completely covering the porch. More information including some interior photos can be found here.
The Little Free Library #8353 is around the corner from the Soames House was built by Orval Dealy at the request of the Kent Senior Center. It has a delightful paint job featuring children at the adjacent park. Inside there are about two dozen books, mostly paperback. The titles include The Fountainhead (which yes, I’ve read) in case you were on the lookout for a little light summer reading.
I found this interesting Pinterest Page with Little Free Libraries from around the glove.
On my way back from visiting dear daughter, I stopped at Olmstead Place State Park outside of Ellensburg (921 Ferguson Road, Ellensburg, WA 98926). I was pretty excited to be able to use my Discover Pass, but I didn’t spend too much time since I was worried (rightfully so) about snow on the Pass. The park has 217 acres and plenty of pioneer artifacts. Perhaps my favorite part was the red winged blackbirds. There was an entire flock of them on the overhead wires. More information can be found here.
While visiting Dear Daughter over my Spring Break we took a day trip up to Spokane to visit the Northwest Museum. It was really a lovely museum with a very interesting exhibit – 100 Stories – A Centennial Exhibition. The whimsical art around the grounds made us smile. The photos include Spokane Falls which we visited afterwards and the evening sky around Pullman.
I had a rare free afternoon on this lovely sunny Saturday and stopped to visit the Lakewood History Museum at 6211 Mt Tacoma Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98499. It is located in a small retail space in the Lakewood Colonial Center. It is small, but charming and I actually knew the woman who was volunteering there today. Since Lakewood is a relatively new city, incorporated in 1995, I hadn’t thought it had much history, but I learned a great deal. I hadn’t realized that the area had originally been called The Prairie and I was reminded of the fact that the Lakewood Town Center was on the site of a convent. And I enjoyed seeing the replica of an old fashion classroom and a log cabin interior. The post office boxes particularly fascinated me. Altogether I took in that although it has only been a city for 20 years, there is still an extensive past. I promised to bring my husband to the museum for a visit. The Lakewood Historical Society has a wealth of information about the museum and events in the area.
The Doll House Museum at 421 Bridge Street, Granbury, TX is really pretty cool. It had its grand opening on December 8, 2012 and per the owners has been gaining in popularity. The museum is on the main floor of the historic house. There are about 3,000 dolls at the museum with many of them on display. I don’t know much about dolls, but there were some lovely ones there. And the women (sisters) that were there when I visited were so nice, welcoming and devoted to their passion. Really, if you like dolls or history at all, it is worth a visit. And if all you want is an interesting place to get out of the Texas heat (over 100 degrees today!), it’s good for that too. More information can be found here.