Friday, January 29, 2010

Maritime Education Initiative

My biggest disappointment on this visit to Seattle was that the Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center had closed. It's under new management, mostly used as a rental facility, and now called the Maritime Events Center. The exhibits are still there, but the museum is only open when they have corporate sponsorship for school visits. They'll be open several Mondays in the spring of 2010, but were closed all of our vacation. Their schedule should be listed at

The museum has some of the best interactive exhibits I've ever seen, and as a museum professional, I have seen many. They have a sea kayak with ores. As you move the ores, a video travels across Elliot Bay. They have a model crane to move containers on from the ship to the train. My daughter's favorite is the Water Table with pegs and panels to create your own dams and model locks. I learned more at that museum than at any other pair of museums worldwide, mostly because the information is clear, not overwhelming, and limited to the natural and human specifics of Puget Sound. It's located right next to the aquarium. I highly recommend a visit, if they're open.


Bremerton Ferry

When my best friend moved from Denver to Seattle, I figured I'd only get to see her every few years, and then only when she came to Colorado. Instead, it's worked out that we've visited her several times. Every trip, I make sure to get out on the water.

I've taken the Victoria Clipper to Vancouver Island, a trimiran sailboat up the locks into Lake Washington, and three of the local ferries.

This December, we rode the ferry to Bremerton. Since the point was to get this land-locked Colorado girl on a boat, and time was short, we sailed across, drove off, looped the long block, and drove right back on for a very pleasant, relaxing and enjoyable two hours.

The timing was perfect. We left Seattle in daylight with Mount Rainier barely visible through the haze, and returned to the brightly lit city. The orange sunset reflected in the ferry's wake. Gulls cruised above us. The unique smell of Puget Sound tickled my nose. All three mountain ranges appeared through the mists - Rainier, the Olympics, and the Cascades. And the boat rocked along, simultaneously soothing and stimulating.