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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Trip to Seattle: The Seattle Center is a ripoff

This view, taken from Kerry Park (where, Kimberly and Paul informed me, all the picture postcards are snapped) had me curious about the Space Needle.

It's Seattle's most famous landmark, a Jetsons-looking thing built for the 1962 World's Fair.

Oh, wait, I forgot, some of you don't know the Jetsons. Here they are. Observe the lower right corner of the picture...

So when my hike in the Cascades didn't pan out, I came back to town and visited the Seattle Center. I parked near my hostesses' current site (she's an architect) and walked over to this tourist hub.

How much do you think it costs to go up in the Space Needle? $5, $7? No, try FOURTEEN DOLLARS. So I didn't go up. Why spend $14, when I can look down on the Space Needle from above for FREE?

While I was there, I saw a lot of tourists go up to the window, stare in astonishment at the price, and walk away. Seattle, you are shaking us plebes down mercilessly. Shame on you.

The Science Fiction Museum on the grounds was, obviously, designed by Frank Gehry. I can't report on what's inside - probably Yoda, etc. - because it cost $13 and again, shake-down.

So I circled around it from the outside.

OK, friends: This is the only free entertainment at the Seattle Center. This guy has some marionettes and a boombox. He slowly raises and lowers all the marionettes at the same time over and over while a very distorted recording of Stephen Stills plays loudly on the boombox. Well, you get what you pay for.

This picture sums up my experience at the Seattle Center. My advice: skip it.

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At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I think the Space Needle pre-dated the Jetsons. I moved to Seattle in 1961 and met kids in grade school whose fathers had worked on the Monorail and Space Needle construction crews. It wasn't always over-priced. People my age all over western Washington took field trips in school to see the Science Center and a number of other facilities built as part of the World's Fair. Up until that point, Seattle's main attraction had been the 'bookstores' next to the taverns, bars and hangdog hotels that catered mainly to sailors on 1st Avenue. The town had some character then. The appeal of the Queen Anne and Capitol Hill neighborhoods was that they were within walking distance of the bars on 1st Avenue.

At 1:22 PM, Blogger novelera said...

I believe you're mistaken about the Frank Gehry designed building. Yes it is his work, but no it's not the Science Fiction museum, but the Experience Music center, which I thought was seriously cool when I visited. Yes, you have to pay, but it was the highlight of my visit to Seattle. Paul Allen of Microsoft is a Jimi Hendrix nut and there were tons of stuff about Jimi and interactive music things. I also recall some sort of room that gave the impression you were moving with enormous videos while listening to James Brown! You could put on headphones and listen to all kinds of music for as long as you liked. You could sit at computers and write music, I believe, although I never could master reading music. Maybe next visit you'll give it a try!

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey mom it's really funny that you mention these, because I actually went to the experience music thing and the science fiction museum and then the seattle center where I saw the same guy with the marionettes!

I really enjoyed the museums, I felt like i was in a shrine in the presence of so many science-fiction artifacts and I had a good time at the music thing too

did you make it out to the San Juan islands at all?

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i visited seatle 3 weeks ago....18% tax on hotel and car rental. This is a rip off.


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