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Seattle Center is home to Seattle's most famous land mark that being the Space Needle however there is a lot more there than just the space needle.
I didn't have much time to explore it all but will take more time next time around. Key Arena is there, the Experience Music Project, an amusement park, nice park areas and a massive fountain. Not the one seen in this picture. I would have showed a picture of it but on the day of my visit there was still no water in it. I guess where it was still spring and arasnosliw was so excited to show it to me :-) It is actually called the International Fountain built for the World Fair in 1962.
There are theatres, science center, skate parks and a lot more. At the web site I have there you can find a map of all the facilities.
Chances are if your in Seattle you will be spending some time in this area. You can get the mono-rail right to it.
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Feel Like A Kid Again
The Seattle Center is the civic heart of the city and it's most popular tourist destination - I include locals in this too.
The campus is modern architecturally. Built for the 1962 World's Fair, Seattle Center includes the new and spectacular McCaw Hall for the opera and ballet. Also, there is the Key Area for basketball and concerts. The fantastic Seattle Children's Theater is located here. Also, the Pacific Science Center maintains a huge presence along the south edge of the campus. There is a small ammusement park open April - September, and of course, the Space Needle.
The price to ride the elevator to the observation deck is totally ridiculous - and I still pay it when I have new guests in town. The view can't be beat, especially during the summer.
At the base of the Needle is the Experience Music Project and the new Science Fiction Museum. I love both! They are unique in the entire world - half museum and half ammusement park. I highly recommend these sights for anyone who grew up on the group Chicago, Jimi Hendrix, and Star Trek.
The heart of the The Center is the International Fountain. It's a great place for a picnic, people watching, and cooling off on a hot summer day. I hope you brought a towel!
The Seattle Monorail connects to Downtown at Westlake Center.
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Ride the Duck Tours: Land & Water Craft in 1.5 hrs
NOTE: As of September 27th 2015, due to a terrible accident suffered by one of the Ride the Ducks craft, operations have been suspended until the safety of the vehicles may verified and issues with the mechanism that failed resolved. As of 31st October 2015, operations continue to be suspended.
Starting from the far east side of the Seattle Center, on an odd triangle of land across 5th Avenue North from the Experience Music Project, you will find a home of surplus war equipment used to give brief tours of Seattle from both the road and from Lake Union.
While these tours do not give a huge amount of extensive history of Seattle, they do provide a great introduction to various parts of the city in only an hour and a half, from the unique perspective of a vehicle capable of moving on the water or on the highway.
Even people who live in Seattle seem to take the tour every once in a while. Most likely this is because each of the captains have a unique personality, and make the tour a fun adventure. The trips seem to be particularly popular with children, though adults are certainly willing, able, and invited (or maybe required would be a better word to use here) to participate in the mayhem as well. Depending on the location, you will find the captains / drivers wearing all manner of different hats, and playing any of various songs along the way.
On a clear day, you will be able to see Mount Rainier, downtown Seattle, and the Olympic Peninsula. One of the best viewpoints is from the top of the Washington Memorial Bridge.
While the "Duck" vehicles are historic craft of sorts, the reality is that from the frame up each has been completely rebuilt to serve its new tourist role.
See also the Seattle video I have of the craft driving down a boat ramp on the north side of Lake Union to enter the lake.
The schedule depends on the time of year, with less operation during the colder months. Trips operate 3 days a week during the coldest months.
One Word of Warning: Ride the Ducks does use tourist trap ploy of taking your photo as you board the craft, and then try to sell you the photo in a special album cover when you return - at a price that is fairly extreme for what it is.
- Family Travel
When talking about Seattle Center, most people probably immediately think of the big landmarks - the Space Needle, the EMP, the Science Center, or the Key Arena. Those things are nice, but the Seattle Center is so much more than that.
Our favorite spot is the International Fountain. The water is choreographed to music, dancing right along to Irish jigs, classical music, and more contemporary songs. It is an amazing sight to see in any weather, although summer is an extra treat with children and adults alike running around in the water.
In addition, Seattle Center is home to many festivals showcasing everything from food to music including all things in between.
At some point during your Seattle explorations, you might end up at the Seattle Center. The SC is located right by the Space Needle and is a popular location for prominent events in Seattle. The SC is a venue for concerts, festivals, performing arts endeavors. Other parts of the Seattle Center are the Key Arena (where sports and productions take place), the EMP (Experience Music Project), the Pacific Science Center (a hands-on science museum, great for kids), the Pacific Science Center IMAX, the International Fountain (another neat place for kids) and the beginning of the monorail. The Seattle Center is definitely worth a visit because of its wide range of fun things to do.
The Seattle Center is a remnant of the World’s Fair. Today, it resembles an amusement park complete with bumper cars, carnival rides, and a carousel. Its large open space is home to several special events. The Seattle Center is also one of the two stops on the monorail. The base of the Space Needle is located there. Both the Experience music Project and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame are found at Seattle Center.
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Seattle Science Center
The Seattle Science Center is an interactive exhibit great for kids and families. The center consists of several connected buildings which host unique scientific exhibits. Inside are all kinds of scientific hands-on displays, perfect for an afternoon with the family.
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Strolling through Seattle downtown
Strolling through Seattle downtown was such a pleasure, even more so since I've been on a visit with my wonderful lady friends, which showed me around. - Because it is surrounded on three sides by water, built on six hills, and divided into numerous neighborhoods, Seattle can be a very confusing city to visitors. Most of Seattles' top attractions are located downtown. Get tourist informations on the city's layout, its neighborhoods, and the basics of how to get around, to explore the real Seattle.
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Stop at Seattle Center
Seattle Center is near the Space Needle. Experience Music Project is located here. The building looks amazing, so many colors and shapes. It is an interactive music museum featuring popular music and rock 'n' roll, is one of Seattle's newer attractions. There is also a small carnival just next to it, I'm not sure if that's year round though. Also, just down the pathway, there is a great looking fountain where you can run down to the bottom or listen to music that's playing on the loudspeaker while you watch the water. Next to the Space Needle, there are lots of souvenir shops and an arcade as well.
The Seattle Science Center
Seattle has a somewhat impressive Science Center that would be really cool for kids. I went an saw an IMAX show because I had a free admission ticket, other adults may find it quite boring, just like other science centers. Though, they do have free internet service if you need to check your email. There are two IMAX theaters, a large one, and a smaller one. Both are good and show a variety of shows throughout the day. The cost to enter the Center are as follows; Adults: $9.00, Kids: $6.50, under 3 is free. Open 10-6 during the summer, during school year, hours are 10-5 on weekdays, 10-6 on weekends.
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The Seattle Science Center...
The Seattle Science Center is a must see. It is directly next to the Space Needle so you can see it all in one day. Not only that but there is everything from Theaters to Cafe's to anything you could possibly want, all with in walking distance.
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I was trying to avoid Seattle Center, specifically because I had no interest in the Space Needle and expected everything around it to be just as kitchy. Luckily for me, we ended up parking at Seattle Center ($5 all day) and cutting through Seattle Center on our walk downtown. Seattle Center turned out to be a great park. My favorite part is the fountain - the spray is coordinated with music and about every 5 minutes there is an explosion of spray and much screaming and running around of kids playing in the water, which triggers much laughing from adults sitting around the edges of the fountain. There is also a skate park - very cool to watch the talents of the skaters in their element. Wandering around, we discovered lots of quieter smaller landscaped areas, public art, and play areas. My ever-present dog was terrified of the amusement-park rides and didn't care for the explosions from the fountain, but she enjoyed viewing all the activity from a distance, and I had a great time just relaxing, exploring and people watching.
Lost in Space
The Space Center is probably Seattle's most recognizable landmark. Built for the 1962 World Fair (the World Fair seems to be the progenitor of many tall towers), the Space Needle stands 605 feet tall. The complex has been turned into an amusement park which may or may not be what you come to see.
However, nearby is something you should not miss. The Experience Music Project is housed in a Frank Gehry-designed structure that resembles a modern-art sculpture more than a building. Mere mention of the name of the brainchild of the Bilbao Guggenheim museum and other eye-popping buildings should give you an idea of what to expect.
The sleek steel-and-glass structure resembles crumpled metal. Its smooth sides of riveted steel plates are reminiscent of the metal skin of an aircraft, but its writhing shape creates the eerie impression of a monstrous creature that's very much alive. There's no right angle to be seen anywhere. And if this is to be the representation of something organic, you'd be hard-pressed to tell which end is the head and which is the tail...
Seattle Center / Space Needle
This is where you'll find the Space Needle... at Seattle Center, home of the 1962 World's Fair. Here you'll find rides and a few shops, and of course the Space Needle. I didn't actually go up in it because of the price, and I'd been to the top of other towers and such across the U.S. anyway. However, I'm sure there's a wonderful view from up here of the city and Mt. Rainier. I've heard night is a nice time to see the city (although you'll miss the mountain).
Also found here is the Experience Music Project. a large building that's supposed to be in the shape of a human ear. Anywho, check the outside out at least. When I was here in 2000, they were having a huge concert with lots of major names appearing.
Lastly, you have to ride the monorail. It's less than $2.00 one-way, and it zips you over to Westlake Center Mall, downtown, in a matter of minutes. My advice is to go to Seattle Center first, which is slightly northwest of downtown, where there are excellent parking rates in the nearby public lot, and then take the monorail into downtown so you can see Pike Place and other things.
This was disappointing for me, as the fountain wasn't even switched on. Maybe I needed to visit the fountain at particular times of the day to see it in all its glory. Hence, my photos looks rather weak too. :(
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