Friday, August 23, 2013

Vacation, Day 5: Lunchbox Laboratory and MOHAI

Day 5 was a spectacular day. Sun was beaming, blue skies all around. So we headed north to Seattle. Because of timing, we ran a few errands in town and then went up and started with lunch. Lunchbox Laboratories ( was on our to-do list, but we weren't sure if it would be during Vacation Week or next month's quick anniversary trip.

We drove up, found it, found a great parking spot and went in. The place has a fun look to it, neon test-tubes and burgers and the area between the bar and restaurant had a wall above the booths that was made of classic metal lunch boxes suspended on horizontal metal rods. They even had the yellow Snoopy lunchbox. I have the red one from when I was growing up and I've seen plenty of yellow ones on eBay, but never a red one. Anyhow, I digress.

One of the things that sold it for me was "Dork Balls" - fried balls of duck+pork. They were gone so quickly I wasn't even able to get a photo. Lori and I shared two great burgers - The Smoker (beef, havarti, bacon) and Truffle Love (beef, swiss, bacon, black truffle mayo) and Rachel had Grilled Cheese. Rachel had fries (shoestring, very crispy), I had sweet potato fries (so good) and Lori had tots. Rachel and Lori shared a Reese's Peanut Butter (substitute chocolate for vanilla) Shake and a I had a Crunched-Up Kit Kat shake. Both shakes were tasty.  I would like to go there again.

MOHAI was a late-add to our list of options for the week. Lori didn't know they had opened their new location in South Lake Union but when she found out, we penciled it in. It was a struggle to get to and from due to construction plus typical Seattle traffic, but parking was easy enough, a nice short walk through a park, and the museum. When you walk in, it feels open, possibly sparse. Along one wall are a number of Seattle icons, such as the Eddie Bauer stuffed cougar, the Rainier Beer and Ivar's Clam costumes from their ads and the Rainier beer's "R" from its old brewery. (You'll see a "T" there now as you drive north into Seattle for Tully's as a nod to Rainier.)  You also see the Lincoln Toe-Truck (a pink tow-truck shaped like a foot, used for years in parades and advertisements) and the Huskey helmet car, also from parades. And then a 1924 Truck from the Kenworth Truck Company.

Along two walls are a draped section that will be the Bezos Innovation display eventually. Right now if you peak around behind the curtain there's nothing there yet. Jeff Bezos could probably just kidnap famous people from around Seattle and just make them mill around in the space greeting people.

The second floor is really where most of the stuff is, and they really pack a lot of stuff in. You can't tell until you start exploring, but there's a lot of really awesome stuff. Lots of photos, explanations, videos and interactive displays. One interactive display has buttons to press and it lights up different lights to indicate where the naming came from - there are four main influences - Spanish, British, Native American and American. Russia also explored a lot in the area, but apparently didn't "name and claim" any areas. There's also a display that shows how early settlers reshaped the area, from straightening rivers to the Denny Regrade. As you press buttons, pieces of hillside lift up on wires or new land (from the fill) drop down onto the 3D map, very cool.

There's sections on Microsoft (from very early computers and manuals to Bob to one of the prototype X-Boxes shaped like an X) and Amazon (an early Kindle and, seriously, some shipping boxes. There's other pioneers - the genesis of the modern day wheelchair lift on buses and the ultrasound machine were invented here. There's also a big exhibit on Seattle in the movies - both its former movie houses and all of the movies filmed here or at least claiming to take place here. Also in there is a recreation of Frasier's living room and a section on TV shows that were set in Seattle.  And of course a section on sports and music, though I kind of expected a little more from the music section.

On the third floor is an exhibit on house boats. It tells about the different neighborhoods and the history of houseboats and of one couple who have declared their houseboat to be an independent archipelago and their own country.

The fourth floor is a small maritime museum co-curated with another historical society and has models and information and a periscope.

Outside are a number of boats (we didn't have time to look at) including the Arthur Foss, one of the Foss family's tugboats.  We closed down this museum, too, one of the last people out when they closed for the night. I know there's a lot we didn't get to see. It's probably one you want to do in 2 or 3 partial-day visits instead of trying to get to all of it in a day. Especially with children. We didn't get to see most of the movies, but the movie about the fire is a musical which is both silly and inspiring at the same time.

Afterwards, we stopped at the park on our way back to the car and just enjoyed the sunshine.

A really wonderful day. Took a *lot* of photos.

Vacation 2013:

Post a Comment