Wednesday, 30 April 2014
This past Sunday a bunch of my friends and family went on our fifth Mystery Day Trip! What’s a Mystery Day Trip? Well, I’ll explain (if you already know, you can skip this part and go straight to the main event). In the morning you get together with a bunch of friends and family. Everyone brings a day trip itinerary: a small handful of things to do during the course of a day. Generally there are some restrictions, like the whole day can’t cost more than $20 per person, or your destination can’t be more than a two-hour drive away from your starting point, the whole trip can’t take more than about nine hours. Y’know, stuff like that.
All the itineraries get put in a hat or bag or whatevs, then someone (preferably a cute kid) draws an itinerary from the bag, and that’s the one that gets done that day!
This was the 5th Mystery Day Trip. The previous ones included:
- A Tour of Japanese Gardens in Seattle
- “Circle in the Sound” — Taking the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, then driving back to Tacoma down the peninsula, exploring on the way.
- Exploring the Issaquah area, including Cougar Mountain Zoo and Boehm’s Candy Factory!
- Exploring Olympia, including the Olympia Farmer’s Market, the Heritage Park Fountain, and Wolf Haven International
Of those four trips, THREE of them were designed by either me or Carrie. So we didn’t bring any itineraries this time; we like to let someone else have the glory now and then.
We met at Bluebeard Coffee at 10:00(ish) AM and randomly chose an itinerary. Mystery Day Trip #5 was a bit different than the others: it was an in-town day trip!
(Side note: all the photos in this article are embedded Instagram photos. If they’re not showing up for you, well, try using a different browser or something. I dunno.)
Mystery Day Trip #5: Artsy Tacoma!
Stop #1: WW Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Wright Park!
The WW Seymour Botanical Conservatory is a lovely (though small) arboretum in Wright Park in the Stadium District of Tacoma (just west of Downtown). This day they were actually having a very cool exhibit. Local schoolkids had designed animals that were then created in blown glass and distributed among the foliage!
There were also some real-life animals, in a little Koi pond in one corner:
And, of course, plenty of conserved botanicals:
This was my favorite kid-designed animal, though: The Slug-Butterfly-Firefly:
You can see the glass versions here, resting on the leaves:
And there were some pretty flowers…
And some pretty people! Especially those two in the middle:
Stop #2: Wayzgoose!
Wayzgoose is an annual gathering of printmakers that happens at King’s Books in Tacoma, kinda right between Stadium District and Downtown. Why is it called Wayzgoose? It’s some old-timey word. Anyway, there were printmakers galore, selling their prints and also having fun little activities where kids could make their own simple prints in a variety of simple ways.
There was also printmaking using a steamroller. Y’know. As there always is:
A couple of really cool prints came out from under that steamroller. One was of the old, defunct Never Never Land amusement park that used to be in Tacoma, and the other was of a giant octopus (and was labeled, helpfully, “Giant Octopus”).
By the way, the Never Never Land amusement park is a fascinating story in its own right, but not one for right now. You can see what happened to a bunch of the figures that used to be in the park, though. It’s kinda creepy.
The inside of King’s Books was a bit of a madhouse. It was P-P-P-PACKED. Especially packed was a line for the Beautiful Angle poster makers. Apparently you could make your own Beautiful Angle poster or something? I dunno, we had a bunch of kids with us so none of us felt like waiting in a line like that.
Also, Carrie ran into about fifty people that she knew.
Stop #3: Lunch Break at Freighthouse Square’s Food Court
Freighthouse Square is an old freight house (of all things) near the Tacoma Dome that was transformed a long time ago into a kind of shopping mall. I guess it’s kinda like a very small (and much lower-rent) version of Pike’s Place in Seattle, but without all the food & produce vendors. We didn’t go there to shop; we went there because there’s free, unlimited parking in the parking garage, and there is a food court where we at our lunches (though most of us packed our own picnic lunches).
And one other reason: Freighthouse Square is one end of the Tacoma Link Light Rail route, which we boarded after lunch to head to our final destination…
Stop #4: The Museum of Glass!
I’ve lived in Tacoma for almost 15 years. That’s longer than there has been a Museum of Glass, and yet I’d never been there before (except for a friend’s wedding reception that was held there, but that doesn’t count).
Once you get off the light rail Downtown, you have to walk over Highway 705 across the famed Bridge of Glass (above) to get to the museum.
The Museum of Glass isn’t just static museum; it’s a working museum. That big, weird, cone-shaped structure on the south end of the building is actually a functioning chimney. Inside is a real-life hot shop where real-life glassmakers ply their craft.
There are stadium-riser seats you can sit in and watch these crafstpeople at work, and a “narrator” of sorts tells you what’s going on and answers questions. This day they were making big (12″) glass balls in Seahawks colors for some sort of corporate gift. It was very interesting to watch, especially when of the people had a spare minute and decided to make a glass horse. Just because.
My favorite part of the museum, though, was the hallway in the back where (you’ll notice a theme here) kids had designed artworks, which were then recreated in glass! There were several good ones, such as a Loch Ness Monster with a pig’s head and a tank made out of candy. But this was my favorite: The Neon Green One Eyed Cyclops Pickle:
In the back of one of the exhibit rooms we stumbled upon the very cool “Look! See? The Colors and Letters of Jen Elek and Jeremy Bert” exhibit. In the very back was a whole wall of light-up letters that you could take down and arrange howsoever you saw fit. We just had to take advantage of that:
Finally, after exploring the museum some more the kids started bottoming out (and it was about 5:00). The Museum of Glass was the last stop on the itinerary. So we decided to call it a day and head on back home. On the way out of the Museum we were met with a lovely farewell:
This was a very interesting Mystery Day Trip in that it wasn’t so much a trip as it was just a tooling around town. But still, we did a bunch of things in our own backyard that we’d never actually done before. I’d never been to Wayzgoose or the Glass Museum before. But now I have. Thanks to Mystery Day Trip!
They’re really fun. All y’all should plan your own Mystery Day Trips. Or let me know if you want in on our next one. You never know where you’ll end up!