Well, it's time for me to pack up and head home! I can't believe how fast the time has gone by since I arrived here in Washington.
I don't know if you knew this, but Auntie M, the lady I've been staying with, is disabled and because some days she doesn't feel good or isn't able to walk well, we weren't able to do all the things she wanted to take me to do.
For instance, we never got to go to downtown Seattle.
We didn't get to go to the famous Pike Place Market, which has over 10 million visitors each year. Seattle's Pike Place Market is the top Seattle attraction for visitors to the city. But it is not just for tourists! It is also enjoyed by the local residents. The Pike Place Market is one of the oldest farmer's markets in the US, but it is much more than just a collection of fruit and vegetable stands. There are also fish stands (one where the fishmongers sing and throw fish!) and lots of little shops and restaurants. It is a window into the history and culture of Seattle. The market is what some have called "the soul of Seattle".
We also didn't get to go to the equally famous Space Needle. The Space Needle will be 50 years old in 2012. It looks a little like a large space ship hovering over the city of Seattle.
Construction crews broke ground on the Space Needle on April 17, 1961, just one year and four days before the opening of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, called “Century 21.” It was a remarkable feat to complete this one-of-a-kind, 605-foot tower in such a short amount of time. And there were plenty of challenges along the way.
It took 467 cement trucks an entire day to fill the foundation hole (30-feet deep and 120-feet across) — the largest continuous concrete pour ever attempted in the West. Innovative steel construction was required to raise the Space Needle, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River at the time (the Needle is fastened to its foundation with 72 bolts, each 30 feet in length.) And to top it all off, the Needle would feature one of the world’s first revolving restaurants. The successful completion of the Space Needle in record time, with no lives lost, was a source of immense pride to our community.
The Space Needle was built for just $4.5 million, and has had its share of milestones, including numerous weddings and a jump by six parachutists. During the World's Fair, nearly 20,000 people a day traveled to the top. The Space Needle hosted over 2.3 million visitors during the Fair and is still, over 40 years later, Seattle's number one tourist destination.
Some other things we didn't get to do was to drive up to the mountains so I could play in the snow. Auntie M and Gramma Cindy's house is surrounded by mountains!
This chain of mountains are called the Cascades.
One of the most famous mountain peaks that is part of the Cascades is Mount Rainier. At 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier is the most prominent peak in the Cascade Range. It dominates the landscape of a large part of western Washington State. The mountain stands nearly three miles higher than the lowlands to the west and one and one-half miles higher than the adjacent mountains. It is an active volcano that last erupted approximately 150 years ago. Mount Rainier has many glaciers on it. Carbon Glacier, on the north side of Mount Rainier, comes to the lowest elevation of any glacier in the lower 48 states at 3500 feet. It is also Mount Rainier's thickest glacier, one section being nearly 700 feet thick. A glacier is a large, persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow doesn’t melt for many years—often centuries.
The funny thing about Mt. Rainier is that sometimes it is so cloudy or foggy here that you can't see the mountain at all! In fact, people who live here will say that the "mountain is out" when it can actually be seen! Isn't that a funny thing to say? Because the mountain is always out even if it can't be seen!
We also didn't get to drive over to the Pacific coast (although I saw a lot of water around Puget Sound). Did you know that Washington is also famous for the Orca (or Killer) whales that are so often seen in the waters here (both at the coast and in the Sound). Lots of other animals travel through the Washington waters too: gray whales, Dall’s porpoise, harbor seals and California sea lions.
Actually, Washington State is full of things to do...here I am with the brochures of just a few of the attractions!
But don't you worry! I still had a lot of fun and Auntie M even has a whole bunch of things to send home with me: souveniers and brochures and coloring books and posters.
I'll be heading home with all my things soon! I really miss you and can't wait to get home and share all these things with you!