Laurie was done with class at noon Tuesday so we decided to do a couple of touristy things: The Seattle Aquarium and Chihuly Garden and Glass. The Chihuly exhibit is in three parts: the exhibition hall, the glass house and the garden. According to their website, the glass house was going to be closed at 5 p.m. for a private event. They don’t give you a third of the price off in those events, so if we wanted the full experience we’d need to get there before 5.
By my calculations this meant punting lunch. So the boy and I slept late and then gorged on the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Or rather, Andrew did while I drank lots of coffee and had a couple of pastries and some bacon. It would get me through.
Lar met up with us and we once again trekked down to the waterfront. The Seattle Aquarium is nice but I’ve been to better ones. New Orleans, for example, and the one in Charleston. And Chicago. They also have a decent one at the Mall of America. But of course not everyone is as well-traveled and experienced in aquariums as I am. It’s a perfectly decent aquarium. It was very crowded that day which may have colored my opinion.
They had an octopus, who didn’t move, and a neat display of illuminated jellyfish. A big display where you could touch starfish. Not sure why anyone would want to do that. The highlight is a dome-shaped room underwater where you can sit and watch the fish swim all around you. It would’ve been a bigger highlight if not for the two busloads of kids visiting that day, all running around and screaming and getting in the way. Chaperones: Do Your Job. It was so bad even the staff person with the microphone trying to describe the fish finally had to give up due to the cacophony. We didn’t stay long.
We left the aquarium around 3 p.m. which gave us plenty of time to catch the monorail to Seattle Center. It was a short ride to Chihuly. Everyone told us to go at night when they light up the garden but I didn’t want to miss the glass house which closed at 5 p.m. We went to buy our tickets were informed that the glass house would not be closed at 5 p.m. Stupid website. Fortunately they were having a deal where one ticket would get you in all day/night.
For the Chihuly-impaired, Dale Chihuly is a Washington artist who specializes in blown glass. Yeah, I know, it doesn’t sound impressive until you see just what he can do with blown glass.
You know how at most museum you go to an exhibition and it will have one, maybe two, WOW pieces and then the rest is like, George Washington’s shoe or Napoleon’s pajamas? (I was actually at an exhibit that displayed Napoleon’s nightgown.) Now while those objects may have historical value, they’re still just a shoe and sleepwear.
At Chihuly, every room is full of WOW. I’m not usually one to gush, but every room was just one amazing piece of art followed by another. Our crappy camera does not do them justice. Go to the website. Or better yet, go there in person.
From the exhibit hall we made our way to the glass house, which features one massive piece suspended from the ceiling. Then we walked through the garden which was equally impressive, but it was clear we would need to come back after dark.
The problem was we were 4-5 hours away from darkness. Now, Seattle Center is home to a variety of attractions. In addition to Chihuly it’s home to the Space Needle, the EMP Museum, the Armory, the Pacific Science Center, the International Fountain and a few other things. We were going to do lunch at the Space Needle on Thursday so we didn’t need to visit there but we did stop inside the gift shop area to find the restaurant entrance and confirm our reservations.
Walked past the Experience Music Project (EMP) museum where they were hosting a variety of interesting exhibits. They were about to close so we decided to stop there Thursday after lunch. Had dinner at the Armory, which is just a giant space housing a food court. Watched the dancing waters at the International Fountain.
By this time I was feeling pretty good about Seattle. Multiple comic shops, the best weather we’ve ever had at a LawyerCon (despite its reputation, it never rained once the entire time we were there), some really nice museums. Still, something was missing.
Eventually night fell and we returned to Chihuly, walked through the exhibition hall again and back to the glass house, where the massive flower piece was now ablaze in light and color. The gardens were even more impressive when lit up.
If someone had told me the highlight of my trip to Seattle was a visit to a glass blowers’ museum, I would have laughed. But there you go.