The Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville is the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium. It is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. We visited this aquarium and had a behind the scenes look at a sea turtle hospital as well as all of the wonderful conservation work being done. We spent the night here and I didn’t think that I’d be able to sleep on the air mattress, but really it was no problem!
The first day we went to the Rain Forestation Nature Park in Kuranda. Link is here. There were kangaroos and koalas (I got to hold one!) and crocodiles (oh my!). There was a WWII amphibious duck (DUKW) boat which toured the tropical rainforest and the plunged into a lake. It seems like everything the guides pointed out could kill you, including the plants!
It was very hot the other day and dear daughter, our two pups and I decided to visit the 373 acre Swan Creek Park. The creek itself was delightfully cool and the dogs walked right into it. There is also a pond at one end that had a couple of kids floating around. The link for the park is here.
On Memorial Day I stopped in the park area next to the Lobster Shop that was displaying a traveling memorial by the Veteran’s for Peace dedicated to the men and women who have died in Iraq since March 2003. Despite the rainy weather people were respectful wandering through the display of headstones, considering the very real cost of war.
The Bellevue Botanical Garden (1200 Main Street, Bellevue) is really lovely and has the added bonus of being free. I explored some of the gardens today and it was tranquil and smelled good. I strolled through various gardens with my favorites being the kitchen garden and the border garden. I also wanted to see the ravine and suspension bridge, but I turned right instead of left. Oh well, next time! There is some significant construction going on and new delights are promised for next year. I’m already looking forward to visiting again! There website is here.
In 1960 my dad was part of the crew of the USS Triton, a Navy nuclear-powered submarine that was the first vessel to circumnavigate the world submerged. The trip, which followed the first circumnavigation of Ferdinand Magellan, began on February 25, 1960 under the command of Captain Edward Beach. The voyage covered 26,723 nautical miles and took 60 days with an average speed of 21 mph).
On Sunday dear daughter and I stopped at the USS Triton Submarine Park in Richland, Washington. The purpose of the park is “to establish a permanent park in north Richland in recognition of all the decommissioned reactor cores off-loaded at the Port’s barge slip, transported and stored at the Hanford Site”. The park, which was dedicated November 10, 2011, features the conning tower of the Triton.
I needed to drive dear daughter and her dear friend up to Seattle for an anime convention this morning and thought since it was such an incredibly beautiful day that I’d finally check out the Olympic Sculpture Park at 2901 Western Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121. The park has its own parking garage (how cool is that?!) and for $10 I could stay all day. There are two building in the park. The first is the PACCAR Pavilion, which has restrooms, a small gift store and several exhibits including the wonderful mural pictured below (Encontro das Águas (Encounter of Waters) by Brazilian artist Sandra Cinto). The second building is actually one of the permanent sculpture pieces, Neukom Vivarium by Mark Dion. That piece features a 60′ nurse log in an 80′ greenhouse building that simulates the original forest ecosystem.
There are 18 sculpture pieces altogether, some permanent and some temporary. Alexander Calder’s The Eagle (1971) is perhaps the most striking sculpture, with its strong lines and vibrant red color showing nicely against the blue of Elliott Bay. Also distinctive is Typewriter Eraser, Scale X by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen (1998-1999). I’ve also included Richard Serra’s Wake (2004), Louise Bourgeois’ Father and Son (2004–2006) and Roxy Paine’s Split (2003). And just because she is so cool, the performance artist at Pike’s Place Market.
There are plenty of chairs in the park and people were sunning, reading, walking, visiting, admiring and jogging. Really, it was a happening place!
Ben Gilbert Park, located where St. Helen’s and Market Street in Tacoma is a relatively large pocket park. The park is pretty cool with native vegetation carefully planted and labeled, a fun owl mural and a stupendous mural showing a gathering of baseball fans in 1926 Tacoma. The fans were there to watch the results of the seventh game of the World Series between the New York Yankees (Lou Gehrig) and the St. Louis Cardinals (Babe Ruth). The park was dedicated on August 14, 2010. The interesting history of the park can be found here http://www.tacomahistory.org/SpecialProjects/Ben_Gilbert_Park.html#
Borst Park in Centralia was really chilly when I went there on Friday. It is a pleasing park with a small trout lake, a dog park, a picnic area, sports fields, a 1889 fort building and a children’s play area. Wikipedia says “After the Indian Wars, Joseph bought the blockhouse from the government for $500 and used it as a granary. Originally the blockhouse was located on the Chehalis River just beyond the mouth of the Skookumchuck River in front of the Borst House. In 1919 it was moved to Riverside Park and in 1922, to the present site in Fort Borst Park.”
I had an all day class at Park Avenue School at 6701 Park Avenue. The school was built in 1912 and Heath & Gove were the architects. There were additions to the original building in 1918, 1920, 1949, 1959. There is a photo of the building from 1928 here http://search.tacomapubliclibrary.org/buildings/bldg1image.asp?j=1&o=1&n=22846&i=4827#text