17 April 2010

Woodland Park Zoo

Seattle's public zoo, the Woodland Park Zoo is located just south and west of Greenlake, at the intersection of Fremont, Ballard, and Greenlake.

While it's not the largest zoo in the US, the Woodland Park Zoo has done a good job of providing a habitat for a wide variety of animals in an urban, pacific northwest setting. When we last visited, the giraffes and penguins both seemed to be out and about despite the cool-ish weather. The hippos seemed pretty content to just lay on the ground, though when we went by the second time, one had mysteriously slid into the water...

Mighty O Donuts

Organic, vegan donuts which are also very, very tasty! While probably not "health food", these donuts are free of cholesterol (only occurs in animal products) and trans-fats, and are made locally in Seattle. Oh, and they have about two dozen great flavors, ranging from simple chocolate with a dusting of sugar (Chocoloco) to Pumpkin Spice, (seasonal) Don(ut) King (chocolate with coconut topping), and Grasshopper. (which tastes like the drink, chocolate and mint)

15 April 2010

Pike Place Market

One of Seattle's better-known tourist sites, the Pike Place Market is home to both a number of permanent merchants and a large space of booths filled on a daily basis by farmers and craftspeople. In addition to the main floor of the marketplace, the shopping area actually extends for 2 levels below the farmers' area (with used book sellers, collectables, at least one asian market, and 20+ stores) and across the street into the permanent shops for the 3-4 blocks between 1st and the main market building.

If you end up needing cash, there's one Chase ATM near the broze statue of Rosie the pig, and several more from other banks in the main building on the lower levels.

14 April 2010

Seattle Aquarium

Located along the waterfront behind Pike Place Market, the Seattle Aquarium is actually a collection of buildings built on a pier over Puget Sound. Inside the main entry building, they have a typical selection of tropical and semi-tropical acquatic creatures. (An octopus, jellyfish, and a number of interesting-looking fish in ~30 or so tanks)

An outdoor area and the second building host the aquarium's pacific-northwest related exhibits. Those exhibits include birds, seals, otters, and the like outdoors, and an underwater section devoted to fish native to the Puget Sound. An afternoon-visit sort of length, it's also a popular spot for school trips.

12 April 2010

Ride the ducks!

Adjacent to the Seattle Center, this 90-minute amphibious tour travels through the sights of downtown Seattle and then along Aurora to to Fremont and Gasworks Park, out onto the water to see the houseboats on Lake Union before returning to Seattle Center.

11 April 2010

Golden Gardens Park

Located just north of Shilshole Marina on the western side of Ballard, Golden Gardens Park is a nice beachfront area with picnicking areas, sand, fields and a few secluded ponds near the north beach which held ducklings when I visited there earlier today.

In addition to playing frisbee or romping through the sand, Golden Gardens has incredible views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains beyond on clear days. You'll also see a number of small sailing ships from the aforementioned marina, and possibly also large container ships heading towards the Port of Seattle from the entrance to the Puget Sound.

Some pictures I took from earlier today:

From Golden Gardens Park, Ballard, Seattle

10 April 2010

Seattle Center - Seattle Opera

The northern end of the Seattle Center is home to a number of performing spaces, including ballet, theatre, film and opera. We recently attended a production of Falstaff in February; the opera was entertaining and well-done, with translations from Italian to English projected on a small screen over the stage. The intermissions between the acts were a bit too long for Emily and I, I think, but if you planned on grabbing a bite to eat or a drink from one of the cafes or bars set up outside the theatre, it would probably have been about right.

09 April 2010

Seaplane rides

Lake Union is not only a functioning marina and home to a number of houseboats, it's also an airport for a number of small seaplanes which are mostly based out of the south-western side of the lake. Walking along the shore between South Lake Union and Eastlake, you can find a couple of signs advertising seaplane flying lessons and seaplane tours of the city.

We haven't been up in any of the planes yet, although the idea of being able to fly out of an airport that's a 15-20 minute walk away is definitely enticing...

08 April 2010

Ballard Locks

Officially known as the "Hiram M. Chittenden Locks", this pair of boat locks are some of the busier locks in the country, as ships traveling between Puget Sound and Lake Union or Lake Washington must traverse these locks. There are two locks; one for large ships and one for small ships, in addition to a salmon run to allow salmon to climb the 22 feet between sea level and the level of Lake Washington.

In addition to the locks themselves, the northern side of the locks (which includes about 50 spaces of parking) also hosts the Carl English Botanical Gardens.

07 April 2010

Pacific Science Center (and IMAX)

The southwest corner of the Seattle Center hosts a kid-friendly science museum and IMAX screen, though adults may also enjoy a lot of the material presented. The featured exhibit seems to change seasonally, for Feb-May 9 2010 it seems to be a series about human travel to Mars. Permanent exhibits include a butterfly house, robot insects, 3D technology and a planetarium, among others.

The IMAX screen shows a mix of current movies and science films including 3D films. As a warning, popular films will sell out in advance on the opening weekend.

Exhibit information

06 April 2010

Gasworks Park

Gasworks park is a very nice small park at the north end of Lake Union, accessible via the Burke-Gilman trail or by car (about 50 parking spaces or so are at the north end of the park). The old machinery has been repainted in primary colors and there is a covered picnic area on the east side next to the former Gasworks. In addition to the old buildings and machinery, there are great views of Eastlake, South Lake Union and Queen Anne hill from a walkway around the south end of the point.

05 April 2010

Discovery Park

This is a great park on the west edge of Magnolia. It has great views of Puget Sound and nice walking trails with a variety of loops for different distances and exertion levels. On the north side is a small Navy station, and there are some great birdwatching opportunities on the west side near the lighthouse. The west end also houses a sewage treatment facility, but it seems well-run and is reasonably-well concealed in the forested section along that coast.
View Larger Map

04 April 2010

Seattle Center - SIFF

SIFF is the "Seattle International Film Festival" at the Seattle Center.  They have a number of art and foreign films, sometimes also including popular films in the mix.