Even in the middle of "new ride season" it's always nice to take a break from the extreme and check out a bit of culture. Although some of you may find this pretty extreme.
Gary from Coasting with Culture is back with another amazing update from the Pacific Northwest, this time less coaster and more culture. Be sure to give Gary's page a like!!
Written by Gary Taylor
(click any picture below to see a larger version)
In 1962, Seattle would see the opening of a tower that has served as an icon of the Pacific Northwest since. The tower has worldwide recognition and is a must for visitors of the Emerald City. While several buildings may resemble it, there is only one true Space Needle. And now after over 50 years of operation, this classic tower has been undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation project that they are calling the “Space Lift”. It had been about a year since my previous visit to the observation deck, and with the combination of a day off with a beautiful sunny day, it seemed like a great time to come and see the progress on the building.
The project had initially begun towards the end of last summer and is scheduled to be completed by June. The Space Needle remained open for most of the renovation work, with only a few weeks of closure during the weekdays in the slower winter months. One of the big components of the project is for the rotating restaurant that the needle is known for in the lower half of the observation deck. The plan is to replace the floor of the restaurant with glass, giving visitors of the restaurant the ability to see the ground about 500 feet below. At this time, it is surrounded by scaffolding, thus we are not able to see this change at the moment, but I imagine that this will truly change the dining experience.
Due to the nature of the renovation project being focused to the observation portion of the tower, much of the area at the base is fenced off for the staging and storage of equipment and supplies for the project, as well as providing some protection from the potential of falling objects. This has led to the need for some detours getting into the Needle as well as around it to some of the other attractions of the Seattle Center area.
Due to the use of the main outer entry ramp to the Needle elevators, the line to enter has temporarily been rerouted through part of the gift shop. While they were able to make it work for the last part of the summer season and through the fall, winter and spring thus far, The Space Needle can get quite busy in the summer with the heart of Seattle’s tourism season, and this layout can get quite crowded on the busier days. Hopefully they will be able to finish the project in time.
One part of the Space Needle experience that will remain from before is the displays and models that were installed around the 50th anniversary of the Century 21 Exposition (also known as the 1962 World’s Fair) with information about the construction of the iconic tower as you lead up to the elevators that take you to the observation deck.
Upon arrival to the top of the Needle, you could see that there is still quite a bit of work being done for the indoor portion of the main observation level. When completed, people will have a more open view than before thanks to the larger windows that are now from ceiling to floor, as opposed to the previous version which had a barrier about waist high. While the original snack bar has been closed, they have provided a temporary one for visitors to enjoy a snack or beverage while taking in the views.
With the work that is being done, not all of the outer portions of the deck are available for viewing. Because of the work going on, the South and West sides of the interior have limited space for viewing that is fenced in, however, you still get to enjoy an excellent view of the Elliot Bay waterfront and the skyline of Seattle.
You could see that there still much work to be done, and as seen that day the workers were still hard at work to try and make the June scheduled completion. There was also still plenty of scaffolding and equipment still around for working on the deck.
While about half of the deck is blocked off for renovation work, the East and North sides of the outdoor deck are open for viewing. For those who have not been to the Space Needle before, the outdoor deck barrier used to be a concrete wall that would come up about waist-high, and then horizontal steel wires would serve as the barrier to keep people from going over the wall. With the renovation, the wall and wires have been replaced with glass.
The new glass windows really open up the view for those on the inside and the outside areas of the observation deck and will make for great photos, especially on days like today when the sun is out.
As a tour guide who works for a company that offers a tour with a visit to the Space Needle included, getting a preview of what’s to come has me really excited to share with our passengers what they can expect from the new and improved view. Once the renovation is complete, we’ll bring you another update to share the new Space Needle experience.
Last week Scott and his wife headed out to The Queen Mary to experience Chill 2017. The event looks to have undergone some more changes for 2017 but one constant is the holiday cheer.
Let's check it out
Written by Scott Linder
Welcome to Chill 2017!
Lots of lights to be seen around the ship
And of course Ice Skating
Welcome to the North Pole
Ice Cube? =)
Lots of places to explore
Tubing is awesome!!
It wouldn't be a Queen Mary event without a bar
Welcome to Germany
Let's head over to Switzerland
Lots of cool lights
Sup weird looking tree things
We hope you enjoyed this look at holiday fun at The Queen Mary.
For more information on Queen Mary Chill click here.
Last weekend we headed to Las Vegas to celebrate our 22nd Wedding Anniversary, we also were excited to check out one of the preview rooms for the upcoming MGM Life Hotel (new name for the Monte Carlo).
We ate all the food, saw an amazing show and had a fantastic time.
Written by Gregg Condon
First, let's take a look at the fancy new MGM Life Rooms
The rooms are great. They've definitely gone with a more "modern" feel.
Spacious bathroom and shower
If we had to be a bit nit-picky, this is the only "dresser" in the room. Which is fine for a weekend stay but if somebody is staying longer than that, they will still have to live out of their suitcase, which is weird.
The only other very small thing we noticed was there was only 1 small trashcan in the room, and none in the bathroom. Could have just been an oversight in our room.
But other than those VERY small things, we loved it. The bed was very comfortable, we couldn't hear our room neighbors AT ALL and it was all in all a very pleasant stay. We can't wait until the entire hotel finishes it's renovation!!
Oh, and the view wasn't bad either.
After freshening up a bit after our drive we headed over to Aria to have a fantastic meal with our friends from Is It October Yet?.
Seven Magic Mountains display!! We decided we'd stop at the actual one on our next trip.
We ate at Javiers at Aria ,and it was simply fantastic.
After lunch it was just a quick tram ride over to Bellagio to check out the glorious holiday decorations.
Lots of bears for our bear fans
They always do such an amazing job here
We hadn't been to the Mirage in about 10 years so we figured we were overdue for a visit.
Our original plan was to see Beatles Love for our anniversary but sadly it was dark last weekend.
Because the Rodeo was in town, cowboy hats were everywhere. Even on the Dolphins.
The Venetian, always one of our favorites.
We played some computerized (kind of) blackjack that had an actual dealer, everybody got the same card and then there were "community" cards. It was weird. If anybody knows how it works, let us know!!!
One thing I want to give Kudos to all the casinos we visited this weekend is the elimination of cigarette smoke. Not sure if it's less people smoking or if they've finally found a way to effectively recycle air, but as somebody with asthma, it was greatly appreciated!!!
After sun went down we headed back to Bellagio to check out the fountain show
Hi Paris, we didn't come visit you this time, sorry.
After a quick rest in our hotel we headed over to NY/NY for dinner ... Zumanity has me.
We ate at the Burger Bar ... and it was quite yummy
Like seriously yummy
Next Morning was Anniversary Day that was kind of filled with our Vegas traditions. First up, the buffet at Flamingo since they are Kristi's Favorites.
I promise I didn't do anything ...
Since we got married at Circus Circus we had to go pay it a visit.
This property is very #sad. It really needs to just be imploded at this point.
After heading back to our hotel and playing some at NY/NY (where we've already decided we are staying next time) we headed over to Rio to see Penn and Teller.
It was a totally amazing show, we recommend it highly!!
Oh, and if you ever do see the show, stick around and you may just meet the stars!!
After sleeping in a bit on Sunday we headed over to MGM Grand and had brunch at Avenue Cafe, highly recommended!! We will definitely be back.
And that's that. Another amazing Vegas weekend in the books and we are already talking about our next trip.
Hope you enjoyed!!!