Day 4 was a rainy, overcast day. A perfect day to be inside. We headed south to the Tacoma Waterfront, to a new museum. Tacoma has a large port, but over time, it's moved to its new location. The older port areas along Ruston, Dock St. and Schuster Parkway have mostly given over to museums, parks and restaurants. There had been an old port building, over a mile long. Part of it burnt down and what was left was probably going to be torn down as well, until it was saved. They shaved off the front and replaced it with a wall of windows, removed the pier and flooring and replaced it with concrete and now it's a new museum. They also fortified the structure itself with new steel beams. The testament to steel, there aren't a lot of beams, so you are still left with this rich, wonderful, cavernous space with lots of intricate wood beams. To enter in, you can tell it's still a bit of a work-in-progress, but there's still plenty to see. You start with a history of the building itself which is really pretty cool. Then there's a section of models and ships in bottles. There's lots of salvaged boat signs and mechanical stuff, some of which I'd be hard-pressed to even explain. If you look out the windows, you have views of the water, the trains, the hillside and the freeways hung from it and all the buildings of downtown up on top of the hill.
There are boats to look at, a boat to play on, lots to read. There are some interactive displays and a children's area complete with areas for pushing around boats (container boats and boats full of cars) and loading onto trucks (a mini-port, if you will) and a section on building bridges using K'NEX. Rachel would have liked to have spent quite a bit more time there. There's also a section that contains a bunch of ancient and contemporary tools so you can compare - like a massive metallic lamp with red glass and a tiny little red beacon (to mount on the side of your vessel) or a giant company and a tiny GPS device. That was pretty neat.
There's a bit of information on the Foss family themselves, but it doesn't have the prominence it deserves and will probably ultimately receive. (Thea Foss started a business renting boats and she and her husband Arthur turned it into a much larger business that eventually was heavily into tugboats and whose design is the design used by most tugboats these days.)
Ben was getting restless, so we probably moved through the museum a little quicker than we'd have liked. Like days 1 and 5, we took a lot of photos on day 4. (You can see the ones that don't include our faces on our Flickr site. If you're friends, the ones with our faces should also show up if you visit that site.)
For lunch, we had intended to go to Sonic, but it was drive-through or old-style car-hop service and that wasn't going to work so we went to Carl's Jr. We hadn't been since the wedding in Oregon and since our trip to Disneyland years ago, so it was going to be a treat. Except it wasn't. The place looks like it was forgotten in the 80's (though it was opened in 2007) and the food was underwhelming and didn't agree with some of our bodies.
We went back home and found Lori's mom there (we knew she was going to be there) - she was helping it feel more vacation-like by cleaning our home so there was less for us to do during that week. That was pretty awesome.