The Museum of Glass fills a 13,000-square-foot canvas with indoor and outdoor crystalline artistry. The only museum west of the Mississippi devoted exclusively to the medium of glass, the museum hosts a coterie of contemporary exhibitions as well as elegant outdoor installations, including Martin Blank's Fluent Steps and the Chihuly Bridge of Glass. Rising 90 feet into the air, the museum's stainless-steel cone houses the Hot Shop a bustling glass workshop where artists blow life and animating kisses into molten figures. Interpreters stand by to explain the science, art, and history of the craft, and docent-led group tours personally introduce guests to the artwork, going over highlights and which pieces are and are not edible.
The handsome, 12,000-square-foot museum is home to four exhibition galleries and a permanent collection that focuses on the wealth of regional talent in the Northwest, in addition to housing Japanese woodblock prints and European paintings. Tacoma's own Dale Chihuly fills a gallery space with his permanent installation of playful and fantastical glasswork, much of it inspired by his love for the sea. Brush up on your goose-whispering skills at the Secret Language of Animals exhibit, a family-friendly flock of approximately 40 paintings, sculptures, and videos depicting rodents, birds, horses, dogs, crazy uncles, and more.
After opening their doors in 1986, the backyard beautifiers at Rosedale Gardens have continued to stock their full-service nursery with backyard essentials to keep homes lively year-round. The sprawling, 5-acre-plus campus boasts inspirational lawn arrangements and a vast inventory of accessories to help to foster budding green thumbs. Along with a panoply of blooming buds, the expansive inventory includes garden structures, ground coverings, and aquatic additions to help to realize the dreams of fish that always wanted to become garden gnomes. Skillfully shaped shrubbery inspires patrons to awaken their inner Scissorhands, and a range of bare-root trees stands as sanctuary for backyard birds. Upon leaving the nursery, each plant promises to be without disease or insects and totes along a one-year guarantee, which issues replacements for any flora that fails despite proper care.
An octopus gently pushes itself through crystal waters, sea otters twist and flip at the surface as they work through a crab, shore birds perch over pools, and between them all visitors smile in wonder. Seattle Aquarium has attracted millions of guests to its waters with such exhibits since it opened more than 35 years ago. By combining environments for fish, mammal, and avian species, the aquarium captures a slice of the Puget Sound ecosystem, inspiring guests to examine the breadth of life off their shores and how their daily actions impact it. Feedings and daily talks about the animals expand on the wealth of information, whereas touch pools allow many to experience life in the waters in a way they never have before.
In addition to being the ninth largest aquarium in the United States, the Seattle Aquarium is home to biologists who conduct critical research on northern sea otters, the giant Pacific octopus, and other Puget Sound species as part of efforts to contribute to the health of the local marine environment. Focused exhibits work to raise awareness about conservation by imparting an understanding of the threatened orca whale and the sixgill shark—the third-largest predatory shark in the world.
Yuen Lui Studios, a family-owned photography business specializing in individual and family portraits and wedding photography, creates photographic heirlooms in a tradition of quality it has upheld since 1947. With several area Yuen Lui studios available, each boasts a multitude of backdrop options for portraiture sessions, or photographers may take sessions outdoors to add natural scenery to the frame. Wedding and engagement shots come to life under the careful eyes of each photographer as they seize rare moments and trap them in frames to be displayed like trophies from a hunt. High-school, child, baby, and family portraits keep precious memories locked in time for clients, who can peruse an online gallery of their images after their session.
Within the century-old confines of Uptown Glassworks' warehouse, furnaces melt handfuls of kaleidoscopic frit into malleable shapes manipulated by a team of professional glass blowers. But these tradesmen don't just create works for the gallery; they also share their secrets with students in a variety of activities, from introductory courses on making beads and paperweights to advanced instruction that can be applied toward college credit or used to fix the pockmarked walls of glass houses.
During the shop's Blow-Your-Own sessions, participants apply color to clear, molten glass that has recently emerged from a 2,000-degree furnace, then blow their mixture into 1 of 20 different shapes. The next day, patrons can pick up their cooled and packaged creations, comparing their handiwork to the gallery's collection of products, which are made by more than 90 local and regional glass artists.