Amazing Kids! Magazine

Adventures in Seattle – CityPASS Review

Editor’s Note:  The following review is the first in a series of Amazing Kids! Reporter CityPASS reviews in Amazing Kids! Adventures, featuring reviews of fun kid and family-friendly events and attractions in major cities in the U.S. and Canada in which CityPASS discount ticket booklets are available.  All reviews are done by kids!


Welcome to the adventure!

Fun Things to Do in Seattle!

An Amazing Kids! Adventure Review

by Anni, age 8, Contributing Writer


The sights, the sounds, the adventure, the CityPASS!

One of the many fun things I did this summer was going on an adventure in Seattle using a discount ticket booklet called the CityPASS (http://www.citypass.com). A CityPASS lets you go to exciting attractions in 11 major cities in the U.S. and Canada for less cost than it is to buy tickets to each attraction separately. When you start your adventure (in whichever city you use it in), you have 9 days to use it.

The CityPASS is a ticket booklet that is about the size of a checkbook.


The kids booklet is blue and the adult one is black.

This past summer 2010, they cost $59 for adults (a value of $111.60) and $39 for kids (a value of $71.45). Together, an adult CityPASS and a kids CityPASS for Seattle is $98.  You can purchase CityPASS booklets at the major attractions in each city where they sell them.  They currently sell them in 9 cities in the U.S. and in Toronto, Canada. Their website can tell you more information:  http://www.citypass.com

In Seattle, you can go to the Seattle Space Needle (two times in a 24 hr. period), the Seattle Aquarium, an Argosy Cruises Harbor tour (1 hour), the Pacific Science Center (including 1 2D or 3D IMAX show), the Woodland Park Zoo, and a choice between the Museum of Flight or the Experience Music Project/ Science Fiction Museum.


Argosy Cruises

http://www.argosycruises.com/
Open daily (check website for seasonal schedules)

The first day of our adventure, my mom and I went to the 1 hour Argosy Cruise touring the Seattle harbor. The tour guide was really nice, and he told us some interesting facts about Seattle and Washington State, many of which we didn’t know before. Here are a few that I thought were especially interesting:

  • Mount Rainer is the 5th tallest peak in the lower 48 states!
  • The Puget Sound water is cold…brrr…47 degrees in the summer!
  • The Columbia Building is the tallest building in the Seattle skyline!
  • There is an tugboat drag race in Seattle every May.

The view from the boat was really awesome. We sat on the top of the tour boat (called The Spirit of Seattle).

We took many pictures. Here are a few:

A view of the Seattle skyline with piers in the foreground

Seattle Skyline and American Flag seen from Argosy Cruises Tour Boat


SEATTLE SPACE NEEDLE

http://www.spaceneedle.com/

Open daily

The Amazing Seattle Space Needle

After the cruise, we went to the Seattle Space Needle. It is 605 feet tall and was built for the 1962 World Fair which had a theme of the “Space Age.” When we got to the top, we went out onto the observation deck. The view looking through the binoculars and telescopes was fantastic! We saw a 360 degree view of downtown Seattle and the surrounding neighborhoods, the Seattle harbor and the Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula, the Cascades mountain range including Mount Rainier, and the Pacific Science Center and the Experience Music Project 605 feet directly below the Needle!

It was amazing to be up so high and get to see things from a different perspective! Inside the top of the Needle, near the café, there were digital screens where you could learn facts about Seattle, hear interviews with local people, and take a peek at what the Space Needle’s view of Seattle looks like at different times of the day. Here are some fun facts:

  • The Space Needle is 605 ft. tall!
  • It was originally built for the 1962 Worlds Fair.

  • The Needle’s restaurant, named SkyCity, revolves, so you get a beautiful 360 degree view while you eat! (We ate at the café, so we didn’t get to eat at the restaurant, but I hope to go back again to try the SkyCity restaurant soon.)

THE PACIFIC SCIENCE CENTER

http://www.pacsci.org

Open daily except Tuesdays

The Pacific Science Center, Seattle

Reprinted from www.pacsci.org

Next stop on our tour of Seattle was the Pacific Science Center.  I love this place!  I’ve been here several times and I learn something new each time.  The CityPASS ticket to the Pacific Science Center includes a free ticket to their IMAX movies. (They also have laser shows and a planetarium show, but those are not included with the CityPASS ticket.)

We saw a documentary film called The Eruption of Mt. Saint Helens”. Mt. Saint Helens is an active volcano in Washington state.  It last erupted in 1980, but it is currently dormant (sleeping).  The film showed great close up views of the smoke and ash from the volcano shooting up thousands of feet up into the sky.  I was amazed to learn that within three minutes, the powerful eruption flattened every tree within 230 square miles!

There are several other IMAX movies to choose from too, like Avatar, Hubble 3D (see Amazing Kids! Reporter Olivia’s review of that film here: http://mag.amazing-kids.org/2010/08/27/an-imax-movie-review-hubble) The Living Sea, and The Wildest Dream, a film about climbers who climb Mt. Everest.

The Center has fun and fascinating new exhibitions throughout the year.  When I was there, I saw an exhibit called Circus!  Science Under the Big Top.  Their exhibits always have a lot of fun, hands-on activities that kids can try.  For example, in the Circus! exhibit, kids could actually get to walk on a high wire (with lots of safety cables hooked up to a harness they wore), or try out a cool bungie cord trapeze, in which you can do somersaults and bounce up high into the air, attached to the harness and bungie cords.  Both looked fun, but the lines were too long, so I didn’t get to try it.

An upcoming exhibition for this Fall and Winter 2010 is a new Harry Potter exhibit!  Like many kids, I enjoyed reading the Harry Potter books, so I am excited about going to see this new exhibit!  This traveling exhibit makes its final stop here in Seattle at the Pacific Science Center on October 23 and will be here through January 30th.  It’s one exhibit I know Seattle Harry Potter fans won’t want to miss!

Another new exhibit will be Mindbender Mansion, which starts  on Oct. 2 and runs through January 2, 2011.  It will feature all kinds of puzzles and brain teasers to challenge you and test your brainpower.  I love this kind of challenge, so I can’t wait to see this exhibit too!


SEATTLE AQUARIUM

Seattleaquarium.org

Openly daily except holidays

The Seal Tank at the Seattle Aquarium

A few days later on our Amazing Kids! Adventures, we went to the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59 on the waterfront next to the Seattle harbor.  The aquarium features large and small tanks filled with sea life from both the local Puget Sound waters, and the world’s oceans.  There is one huge 120,000 gallon tank called “Window on Washington Waters” that has an amazing variety of fish and sea life found in Washington.  You can talk with divers who dive into the tank three different times each day. There are hands-on “touch tanks” where you can gently touch a sea urchin, sea anemones, mussels and other amazing sea animals (but you can’t pick them up, to help keep them safe).  There is also a big dome visitors can stand underneath to watch the fish swim by. We even got to see the biologists feeding the fish while we were in the dome.

Giant Pacific Octopus

One of the most memorable experiences was seeing the Giant Pacific Octopus.  It is huge!  It had scrunched itself up into the corner of the tank, in a gooey mass of tentacles and skin.  It was white, which means it was sleeping.  I learned that octopi can change colors (called “camouflage”) and when they are white, it means they are sleeping.

Blue Beauty at the Seattle Aquarium


Seattle Aquarium has many educational programs for kids and adults and conservation programs too. I learned from first-hand experience that they have a really fun summer camp program which I got to attend this past summer!  I really recommend it for Seattle kids to do in the summer.  You learn so many cool facts about the ocean, that my mind was bursting with information when the camp was over!  Kids who love the ocean and sea life will love the camp and could become inspired to become an oceanographer or marine biologist someday.

Feeding Time at the Seattle Aquarium

For example, I got to meet an Orca expert and other ocean biologists who taught us about the importance of water in our lives and its role in the conservation of sea life.  I didn’t really know about their jobs before the camp, so it was a great learning experience and fun too!  Campers also get to go to field trips outside the Aquarium, so we got to visit the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Pacific Science Center during camp too.


EXPERIENCE MUSIC PROJECT and SCIENCE FICTION MUSEUM (EMP/SFM)

http://www.empsfm.org

Openly daily except holidays

Amazing Kids! Reporter Anni in front of the Experience Music Project

The Amazing Architecture of the Experience Music Project

Another view of the Amazing Architecture of the Experience Music Project

The Experience Music Project (or EMP) and the Science Fiction Museum (SFM) are both in the same building in the Seattle Center, the area of downtown Seattle that is a complex of arts facilities and gathering places for Seattle residents.  The EMP/SFM building was designed by world-famous architect Frank Gehry and was funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.  Its design is unique and really stands out in the middle of downtown Seattle!  The outer walls are made of metal that curve in interesting shapes (one shape looks almost like a robot wearing a skirt) and are a combination of  metallic and bright colors that reflect the light in different ways depending on the time of day and the weather.

There are many exhibits including a tribute to Jimi Hendricks, the famous Seattle guitarist and an exhibit about other Pacific Northwest musicians and bands. There is an exhibit with more that 50 costumes worn by the Supremes, as well as some other costumes from more recent all-girl singing groups.

One of my favorite things to do at EMP is getting your hands on musical instruments in their Sound Lab, to create your own music.  There are video screens with tutorials that teach you how to play the instrument.  There are also recording booths where you can record yourself singing.  It was a lot of fun and we spent the most time in this lab.  (My mom liked it so much we didn’t get a lot of time to visit the other exhibits!)

Sitting in front of Seattle’s Science Fiction Museum

After we finished visiting the EMP exhibits, we went to the Science Fiction Museum.  There were exhibits teaching about the history of Science Fiction, there were copies of books from famous Sci-Fi writers and movie memorabilia from popular Sci-Fi movies (but not the most recent Sci-Fi movies like Avatar, at least, not yet!) My favorite part of the SFM was the full sized replica of the robot from the Terminator movie.  There were other robots from movies like Star Wars and old TV shows.  There is also a book store with fun science fiction books and other products for Science Fiction fans.

One of my other favorite exhibits showed videos of space ships from Sci-Fi movies, going back to the very old Sci-Fi movie Flash Gordan.  It was funny to compare the old movies and their not very technically advanced special effects and designs with the newer movies.


WOODLAND PARK ZOO

http://www.zoo.org

Openly daily except Christmas

Fun with Friends in Front of the Woodland Park Zoo Sign

Last stop on my CityPASS Seattle tour was the Woodland Park Zoo, in Greenlake, Washington, just a short drive north of the Seattle Center.  This is one of my favorite zoos I’ve even been to because it has a lot of interesting animals and a fun kids’ play area.  I have been here many times with my family and friends.  The zoo is divided up into different areas of the world, with animals from those areas.  For example, the African Village area has zebras, giraffes, lions and ostriches.  It has a replica of a real African Village and school.  One of my favorite animals at the zoo is the snow leopard.  I’ve always loved big cats and the snow leopard is my favorite big cat.  It is endangered though, so scientists are working on ways to help preserve these magnificent creatures.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed my CityPASS adventures and look forward to telling you about more fun things to do, from a kid’s point of view, very soon!

Happy travels and see you soon!

Anni, Amazing Adventure Seeker

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