Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seattle Extravaganza!

I had a voucher to use up for Amtrak, so I invited a mama friend and her son to go up with us for a few days. I have only been to Seattle once, very briefly and have always wanted to explore it more. Being with two kids and no car was a little limiting, but we did OK! The hotel had a shuttle that did pick ups and drop offs just in the downtown area, so we really lucked out there.

Guess I didn't take any pictures on the train, but here is Akasha in the afternoon sun on our bed. Peekaboo!
So we went over to the Science Center in the morning, and... it was CLOSED! Apparently they are temporarily closed on Tuesdays right now. What the frack man? So, what to do? Scamper around the area in front for a few minutes at least. No idea what was going on here LOL!
Orion loves to have his picture taken with flowers.

His idea to make a fish face with the fish.
Then wander around the Seattle Center. I took a ridiculous number of pictures of the Space Needle surrounded by fall leaves. We really had amazing weather at this beautiful time of year!
Orion on one of the balls in front of the Space Needle.
He didn't stay still long enough for me to get this framed and lighted to my liking, but you get what a great picture it *could* have been LOL.
I think this is my favorite SN shot.
We talked about riding the monorail and walking over to Pike Market, but Orion was really opposed to it for some reason. He had fallen down and scraped his knee and was pretty much getting into an "I want to go back to the hotel" mood, but we somehow wandered into the Food Court instead. He got some Fish n Chips, and we met a local lady named Velvet taking care of her grandbaby, who was about Akasha's age. It turned out there was a play area upstairs, so we chilled there for awhile and discussed our options. We thought about the Aquarium or Zoo, but it was getting kindof late. So what do you do when you are at the Seattle Center and only have a couple more hours til your shuttle pickup?

Ride the Ducks!
I was worried it was going to be too long and/or too loud and/or too something, but it turned out great! Orion especially liked when the driver would point out a Starbucks, and everybody in the Duck would yell back "Chaching!"

Deja vu from the Alaskan cruise!
Our silly driver, who kept changing hats.
Some art at the Seattle Center, which is supposed to look like bamboo.
We circled back around and got a view of the duck depot.
Seattle street art.
Orion took the camera for awhile, and I guess he thought his dirty foot was a great subject. :) Which seems like a great time to say, Orion spent the entire three days barefoot! Nobody said a single word to him (or me) anywhere we went!
Then Mama Rachele took the camera for awhile, which was good because my hands were full of baby. We look like we are all blowing over to the side here.
Cute picture? What is with the claw hand? Am I kissing him or strangling him? You decide!
This picture cracks me up because of the look on Orion's face! I don't remember him being grumpy. I think it was just a random catch. Akasha was ready to nurse and nap, so it turned out great timing.
This is as close as we got to Pike Market this trip.
Close up from a picture Rachele took of a funky little wig shop.
Extreme Kai closeup!
View from some bridge we crossed.
Driving into the water - will it float?!
It did, it did! This is one of the boats from The Deadliest Catch, so I told Rachele to take a picture of it for Ron, who loves that show.
Hey, another Duck going in the other direction!
Panorama skyline.
Gas Works Park, built around this facility which was built to turn coal to gas. Man, do I want to go back here and take about 100 pictures.
We were out on the lake for awhile....
No more "Chaching"ing. Guess he got bored.

I believe this would be Kai watching Orion play the DS.
In Fremont - street art and what we were told is knows as an Art Attack.
A few more Chachings on the way back, and there you have it, the Seattle Duck Tour. Oh, and a two ducks purchased at the Duck Store. Orion picked the groom duck (in a tux) and I picked out an angel duck for Akasha.

Early start next day, and straight to the Science Center! OK, this place lived up to my expectations and more! It looked amazing on the website, and it was! I was a little worried we had scheduled too much time there, but no way! I figured we would be done in a couple hours, tops, but I think we could have spent the whole day there and come back for more. There were a couple buildings we never even made it to! That's cool, though, more for next time. Ron is ready to take a weekend trip up now after hearing me rave about it.

One of the first things Orion spent quite awhile on - a little space capsule, complete with all sorts of switches that turned lights on and off and an audio countdown if you find the right button. (Note the bare feet. :) Nobody even glanced at them all day!)
The bug area! A hit with both kids. Akasha is very into "buggies" right now.
The live hive was so beyond cool! I didn't get a picture of it, but there is an acrylic tube that leads to the outside. The bees actually come and go, collecting nectar and going about their business as if they aren't in the middle of a giant museum.
Orion was very taken with this display which had several different place settings, each with a different insect delicacy displayed.
Lots more live insects!

OK, this one isn't really alive, although the sign might have you think otherwise.
Also in the bug area.
The highlight for me was the live butterfly garden. I just adore these places. Could have spent all day there. Orion was afraid to go in at first. The driver of the Duck had made some joke about keeping your mouth shut if you go in because butterflies do not taste like chicken. Hrm. I had a feeling it was about that, but I didn't push it. I asked Rachele if she could keep an eye on him while I took Akasha for a quick spin. She loved it, and Orion ended up deciding to go in later. Then he loved it too! But first, he told the guy at the door the joke from the Duck. Yep, that is exactly what was on his mind. Anyway, here are a few pictures!

Orion took a bunch too, and some video, but they are on the camera with the busted downloader thingie, so they will have to come later.

The place also has a touch tank! I am telling you, amazing!
This area also had live reptiles, a huge naked mole rat colony and a large play are for wee children that included some pretty neat water features. Somehow I didn't get pictures of any of this, mainly because I was nursing Akasha while trying to follow Orion around. But then a miracle happened! She was clearly in that nursing flutter while asleep stage, so I tried to put her down in Rachele's stroller, and she stayed asleep!!! First time ever asleep in a stroller!

She looks flopped out like a pro!
So Orion and I played a game of chess! These figures were made out of wood and quite heavy! Right after this, he noticed how the board was set up incorrectly and fixed it.
Then he wanted to play Wizard Chess style lol. (We watched the first Harry Potter a short while ago.) Every time he took one of my pieces, he wanted to knock it over with his. I didn't think the Science Center folks would appreciate the idea quite as much, so we toned it down a little.

Random shot at the giant table. Gene Simmons, eat your heart out!
We decided to have lunch at the Food Court since it was so close. I got some "Thai food". LOL, not horrible, but not recommended if you are fan of the real thing. The big fun was all the plastic cars they had set up in the eating area. This one was perfect for Akasha to sit in and get pushed. Orion was pushing her FAST. Just on the edge of my comfort zone I must say, but she LOVED it. He mostly prevented her crashing into things haha. There were a few gentle bonks and a couple harder ones she didn't like, but I kept reaching for positive expectations, and she mostly squeeeeeed with delight.

On the way back to the Science Center, Orion takes a few minutes to appreciate the fall leaves.
The big plan for the rest of our time was to see the animation exhibit. This display rocked! It took several photos against a silly background over a stretch of time, then played them back on a TV screen at superspeed. Orion did this, oh, at least 5 times, maybe more LOL. Good thing it was a slow day!
Stop animation station. OK, this thing was so beyond cool I can't even describe it. To make it simple, I said to one of the employees, "I want one of these at my house!" I made a very simple sample for Orion involving rotation, and he completely got it and went to town. What a blast!
Akasha was a bit more demure in the giant photo booth.
Phew! We made a quick visit to the store, and Orion picked out a hilarious R2D2 potato head. Then off to our shuttle pick up (the driver from Comfort Suites ROCKED - stored our luggage then brought it to us at our pick up and took us to the train!) We had an interesting train trip back. It got off to a rocky start, but then we met this awesome family sitting across from us. I would love to write a bit more about both train experiences (including the famous camel poop book) but I am running out of steam.

Orion also took a bunch of great pictures with the small camera, and I took some video, but we lost our downloader for that one, so I will have to add them later!

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