The Washington State Ferries

WSFerries

When we’re roadtripping around, we generally think of our activities taking place on the road, or at least on land. A little known fact though is that Washington State’s ferry system is operated by and considered a part of the Washington State Department of Transportation. It is the largest passenger and automobile ferry fleet in the entire United States, and the third largest in the entire world. Ferries arrive and depart from terminals in locations like Seattle, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Vashon Island, Point Defiance, Clinton, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Kingston, Keystone, Port Townsend, Anacortes, and all of the major San Juan Islands. You can get pretty much anywhere in the Puget Sound area aboard any of the Washington State Ferries.

Riding on the ferries is not only part of your transportation, it can be part of the fun. When you get on one of the longer routes, you have time to get out, walk around the decks, sit and enjoy the view, or hang out at the railing where you can enjoy the sound of the huge ship going through the water. There are all kinds of photo taking opportunities when you ride the ferry. I make use of that, probably a little too much, each and every time I get on one. There is seating available both inside and out, and depending on the weather, you can enjoy the ride from either spot.

Whenever possible, I love to add a ferry ride into a road trip I’m taking. The last time I did this, after a trip around the Olympic Peninsula, I took the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle. The weather was great which gave us some awesome views of Mount Rainier and the city of Seattle. There were a lot of other boats out on the water that day too and it’s always fun to check them out. Like every other time, it was a great time and so much more than a means of transportation. It was definitely one of the better attractions we experienced that day.

Olympic Game Farm – Sequim

I have to tell you, I was blown away by Olympic Game Farm!

Olympic Game Farm is located in Sequim, Washington. This fun little coastal town sits right on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and is a very nice place to visit. The Dungeness Spit is a big draw and something special. The Olympic Game Farm though topped that.

This special place has a special history that dates back to a time when many of the animals housed there were used in several Hollywood movies, including some made by the Walt Disney Company. All that is very cool information to learn, but the fun is in the drive through the park. We entered, fully armed with about five loaves of bread, and immediately headed up the hill to the first animals waiting for us. All of the animals entertained everyone in the car and were so eager to come and eat the bread, be petted and scratched, and put on a show.

Along the way, wandering freely around our vehicle, we encountered elk, zebra, prairie dogs, llama, yaks, bison, deer, and more. There were also bears, including some that would wave at you in the hopes that you would throw them some of your bread. The bears were safely behind fences though. I’m not sure how people would react to bears, even ones this friendly, walking up to their car.

OGF-Waving-Bear

Tigers, mountain lions, lynx, and lions were on display as well, but in pens located a bit of a distance from the vehicle. We happened by the tiger enclosure shortly after some fresh meat had been handed out there and that was quite a show.

One of the hits had to be entering the bison area though. Shortly after going through the gate, our car was surrounded by these huge and gentle (we hoped) beasts. It became extremely difficult to move the car and as we inched through the herd, big black tongues would slither in through the windows hoping to get a tasty treat.

After driving through the park we went and viewed remnants of old leftover movie props and equipment, a small petting zoo, and of course the gift shop.

Without a doubt, a stop at the Olympic Game Farm is a necessity when you are in the Sequim area. I think we’ll be heading back for another road trip on the peninsula soon.

Odyssey I Fun Center in Tacoma

On the constant look out for fun things for the kids to do during a road trip, we stumbled upon the Odyssey I, a fun center for Tacoma children when got off of I-5 on a recent road trip. After checking into our motel, we headed right over and the kids had an awesome time.

There is something there for kids of all ages. The Game Center is home to a lot of great video games and ticket dispensing games. They also offer a Jungle Gym Soft Play area for kids 10 years old and younger. Here they will be allowed to play by themselves or in groups on all the apparatuses that are there. They can climb through mazes bounce, swing, and jump to their heart’s content. Laser tag is also available at Odyssey I and the older kids really get a kick out of it. When you’ve exhausted all of those options, you can pick up a pizza, eat it there or take it with you, and call it a day (or night).

Odyssey I was the perfect stop for us. A fun way to get some wiggles out and burn some energy. Back in the truck tomorrow, we’ve got some miles to put on!

Seattle’s Space Needle

The most famous attraction in Seattle, and possibly in the entire Pacific Northwest, is the Space Needle. This amazing structure stands 605 feet tall and dominates the city’s skyline. When you go to Seattle as a vacationer, there are a few things that you seriously just must do, and one of them is go to the top of the Space Needle.

The needle is located at Seattle Center, adjacent to the city’s downtown section, and as part of a larger complex of attractions it is very easy to find parking. When you approach it, you can’t help but start to photograph it. It appeals to a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons. I like the Space Needle because of the angles of it and how it contrasts with the straight edges of the rest of the buildings that make up Seattle’s skyline. The needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and I guess I also like it for the sense of nostalgia that surround it.

The ride up to the top in one of the elevators can be a lot of fun. You will usually be accompanied by a guide who will tell you some details about the Space Needle and about Seattle. Feel free to ask questions, anything you’re curious about, these are very well trained and well informed people. Enjoy the view as you rise up. Keep taking photos too out the glass elevator windows because the scenery changes the higher you get.

Up at the top you will get the big payoff as you get to take your time to walk around the entire circular observation deck and enjoy the entire view that includes the city of Seattle, the mountains off in the distance, and the water of Puget Sound.

While the main purpose of the Space Needle is that of an observation tower, if you have the time, make use of the other purpose it has. At the top of this landmark is SkyCity, a revolving restaurant. Dining out at the top of the Space Needle is a special treat. One touch that I really appreciated was that the specialty at SkyCity is food of the Pacific Northwest. This adds to the experience of being in Seattle and dining high in the sky with the city far under your feet.

Our visit to the Space Needle was a hit, not just with me, but with the adults and kids I was with. Everybody had a good time, going up and down, and dining at the top. One of the nice things was as our visit to Seattle continued, every once in awhile each of us would look up at the Space Needle from different points in the city below and recall our visit up to the top.

Space Needle