Monochrome Monday in Seattle
It was another gray day in Seattle this weekend. Though the photo below is edited to black and white, it isn’t too off the mark from how things were looking in real life.
Since the start of the year, life has been pretty melancholy and monochrome for me. To shake my doldrums, my husband took me on a downtown Seattle adventure on Saturday. Our first stop was they city’s famous Pike Place Market.
The inclement weather meant Pike Place Market was slightly less crowded than normal. We visited some of our favorite spots (a record store, coin shop and a movie memorabilia shop). After some browsing it was time for lunch at The Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar.
The Athenian is a Seattle institution. The restaurant first opened in 1909 as a bakery/lunch counter. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and every seat has a spectacular view of Puget Sound. (My monochrome photo was taken from our table). The Athenian gained international fame when it was featured in a scene from the movie Sleepless in Seattle. Since 1993 countless tourists have visited just to sit at the same counter as Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner.
After lunch the sun started to shine! It has been a particularly dreary winter in Seattle. Seeing the sun and a hint of blue sky was soul awakening! Plus, it made for a pleasant walk from Pike Place down to the Seattle waterfront.
Our main destination for the day was The Seattle Aquarium. Something about seeing the fish, otters, marine mammals and seabirds is always so relaxing. Plus, being near the ocean always peps up my spirit.
The aquarium opened in 1977 and today houses six major exhibits. These include:
- Window on Washington Waters
- Life on the Edge
- Pacific Coral Reef
- Birds & Shores
- The Underwater Dome
- Marine Mammals
A $120 million expansion is slated to open in 2023. The new Ocean Pavilion will include a 350,000 gallon shark tank as well as a 20 acre urban park. This will be the centerpiece of Seattle waterfront renewal and is set to showcase Seattle as a worldwide center for ocean health and research.
A current “fan favorite” at the Seattle Aquarium is the Giant Pacific Octopus. Full grown these clever creatures can have a 20 foot arm span! Yet despite their large size the octopus can still squeeze its body through a hole the size of a lemon. These octopus are able to change color and texture depending on their surroundings and mood. They use their tentacles not just to feel, but also to see and taste! Octopus also independently evolved to have eyes like humans (even though we haven’t shared a common ancestor in 600 million years). When viewing the giant pacific octopus, you definitely feel him viewing you back. 🐙
The Seattle Aquarium is home to three handsome harbor seals - Barney, Hogan and Q. In the wild harbor seals live mostly solitary lives in a single area. They are not known to migrate except during breeding season if necessary. Harbor seals can grow up to six feet long and weigh approximately 300lbs. Their thick layer of blubber keeps the creatures warm and helps them float.
One of my favorite parts of the aquarium is the northern sea otter exhibit. Four sea otters currently live at the aquarium. Three were brought in as rescues who could not be rehabilitated and released, one was born at the aquarium. Sea otters are part of the weasel family and live approximately 20 years. Seattle’s three oldest sea otters are each around 20 years old. The youngest otter is five.
Our aquarium visit only lasted 1.5 hours, but it was great to be out and about. I loved seeing the sun and sea life. Lunch beforehand was lovely and quality time with my hubs was great.
Here’s hoping for more of THIS in 2020.