Reviews & Photos
April 21 2016
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World of Speed Museum
27490 SW 95th Ave. ,
Today we drove down to Wilsonville to check out the relatively new World of Speed Museum. I say relatively because tomorrow they celebrate their first anniversary! Exciting!
I have a couple of Top Gear fans in my house and my husband likes to drive around tracks and coaches racing, so we thought this would be right up our alley. The Museum is really nicely laid out and has a little something for everyone.
My favorite thing was the wall of sound.
My husband's favorite things were the midgets (type of car).
My son's favorite thing was how inclusive everything was, especially for kids!
There is the Kids Start Line Club right at the front doors and it is designed for kids play. Inside the room they have a GT that has been retrofitted with a screen that talks about driving on the track and the kids get to play as much as they like inside. There are also books to read, cars to build, walls to draw on, mini-simulators to ride, and other self-propelled "vehicles" too! It is great!
In the main exhibit area they have a large collection of vehicles on display. The main focus of the museum is to highlight the various drivers and clubs from the Pacific Northwest, which not only includes cars of all types, but motorcycles and boats too! In the main exhibit hall we saw drag racers, classic cars that had been lovingly restored and cars that have broken land speed records. There were also cars that have a more famous focus (outside of the Northwest). Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have cars in the museum also! There are midgets and Formula 1 cars as well as a pretty amazing banking wall that really shows how much of a slant those drivers race on!
As you continue along, you will see loads of different old TVs, turn tables, jukebox, and radios. We were able to introduce our son to an 8-track player and we listened to different music inspired by driving. They even have one of Gene Simmons Axe guitars on display (#160)! Kids and adults are allowed to play with them as much as they like! So cool! The other really interactive space is in what they call the "Power Plant". They have interactive displays teaching about fuel injection and supercharges. The boys both thought this was super cool!
There is a replica shop called Bucky's Speed Shop which gives one an idea of what things looked like for folks looking for parts (my husband says he still sees shops like this one in operation!).
I really liked the focus on female drivers as well. There is a display featuring several women who have been exceptional drivers from the Northwest. Michelle Miller, a rally champion, has car is on display too and will be giving a talk at the museum.
The motorcycle display features Portland's famous Sidewinders' track and club. They have original posters and jackets and a good number of bikes including Denny Edwards' Triumph Motorcycle. He was the Flying Irishman, and it appears he may be coming out of retirement to jump again!
Lastly, the simulators were another of my son's favorite things. They are $10 for 10 minutes of driving. The cars are actual race cars that have been retrofitted with large screens and a bit of feedback for the driver. My son was a bit small, but with a nice block and some instruction from Mike (the man working there) and my husband he did just fine.
The museum focuses on education and building knowledge through several programs and speakers. Groups are invited in and taught in state of the art class rooms. We saw a Girl Scout Troop coming out as we were going in! There is also an archive room that holds a great collection of paraphernalia and treasures!
The museum also has a really nice cafe attached run by Elephant's Delicatessen and there is a really nice gift shop as well.
This was a fun couple of hours out and we found it really interesting. When you add entry with simulator fees, it can get a little expensive in our opinion. We would recommend making the trip to the World of Speed though!
Many thanks to the World of Speed for hosting our visit! As always, the opinions expressed here are our own and we were under no obligation to leave a positive review.
April 11 2016
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California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive,
We went to the Bay Area for a wedding last year and had a couple of days to explore. One of the day's we headed over to the California Academy of Sciences. We LOVE a science museum and this really sounded like it was going to fit the bill. It did not disappoint. Our only disappointment was that we ran out of time and didn't get to see everything!
We loved checking out the earthquake exhibit, and the Aquarium. The colorful tanks with fish from all over the world looked healthy and happy. We were able to have a look at fish from the Philippines, which was fun because we had a trip planned there. The touch tank was great and students were doing experiments with an octopus, so we watched that for a bit. She was studying social habits of the octopus, which was really interested.
One thing we loved was going up to the upper floors and we had a look at drawing skulls and learned about various species.
The next time we are down, we will definitely head back here to explore more. We really loved this and would recommend it highly!
April 11 2016
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Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
2300 Expedition Way,
"Can't really recommend it"
We have been to aquariums all over the world. We have seen some really amazing things. This aquarium left me feeling depressed.
Walking through I was underwhelmed with the exhibits. Many were broken and not functional. Information seemed to presented in really large chunks, which left children just passing right by them. It is a university Aquarium, but the Climate Change exhibit was difficult for adults to focus on as well (and I love learning about that stuff). The thing I found most interesting was the exhibit about coral and how it was dying.
Outside is a little play area and the water table was packed, but nothing else was really being used. The sharks were out there with a few rays. They were beautiful to look at, but knowing how much space sharks need, it felt so small for the number of animals in the tank. They laid on the floor, in a line, just looking at us, which seemed so strange to me.
They had a touch tank with a few animals (2 sea stars, a few urchins, 2 sea cucumbers, and a few anemones). We waited to be able to have a look and touch them, but it felt like it was really lacking.
The Sea Dragons were probably my favorite thing. I find them amazing and this was one case where I felt like the tanks were large enough. For instance the moray eel didn't look as though he could even turn around in his tank, the octopus took up most of it's tank, and the tank with the Alaskan King Crab didn't have enough floor space for the 5 crab and the 2 flounders (the flounders stacked on top of each other because they had nowhere else to go).
I will say I found the staff very friendly, although many weren't able to answer questions we had. I would have really appreciated that.
For $17 per adult I was expecting so much more, and was really hoping the fish would have habitats that would be more fitting of their needs. Because of this, I can't really say I recommend this activity.
April 11 2016
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San Diego Zoo
2920 Zoo Drive in Balboa Park,
"One great zoo...even in the rain!"
We headed down to San Diego for a bit of sun and the rain followed us. You're welcome California! We decided that if we were going to spend the day in the rain we should get to the zoo!
As we have experienced in Oregon, our zoo is far more active on rainy and cool days and that was the case in San Diego too. I haven't been to the San Diego Zoo in about 12 years, so I didn't remember as much as I thought I would, and there had been several changes since the last time as well. I don't remember a guided bus tour, but that is what we did first. Our tour guide, Wendy, was hilarious and I learned so much about the zoo and several of the animals. I would not miss that.
My son is absolutely in love with jaguars and has been for a number of years. Since he wasn't with me I was able to take some video for him of the baby jaguar (he is a year old now) swimming and roaming around the enclosure. This might have been my favorite thing.
For the most part the zoo does a good job with giving the animals as much space as they can, and their environments are similar to what they would be in the wild. Their Geriatric Elephant center was very interesting too.
The next time we get down there with my son, we will definitely be taking him to see this and hopefully we can get out to the Safari Park as well.
Oh, and one last thing, this year the zoo is celebrating it's 100th birthday! Happy Birthday San Diego Zoo!
April 01 2016
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Experience Music Project-EMP
325 5th Ave N,
"Loved it for so many reasons!"
This interactive museum is really unique in that it not only gives you the history of music and artists, but helps you learn how to play or use various instruments. In their Sound Lab folks learn instruments via computer programs and then can go into a sound-proof room and "jam" with various bands loaded on the screen, or you can rock our on your own. The instruments they have to learn on include guitars, drums, keyboard, and bass. There are also sound rooms where you can learn to 'Mix' songs and teach the person how the songs end up sounding like they do on the radio. Once you have all of that mastered head over to the "On Stage" area and pick the song you and your group want to perform. Folks outside and can view your performance through CCTV. Get to this exhibit early in the day as it is very popular and there will be long waits despite the time limits.
Additional exhibits include:
"Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction" where you can have a look at a Dahlik from Dr. Who, the Proton Packs from Ghostbusters, and props from Terminator 2.
"Can't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Films". I am not a horror film fan but the boys loved Gizmo from "Gremlins" and a suit from the zombies in Michael Jackson's video "Thriller". There were videos from the directors about the movies and several interactive exhibits including a scream room!
"Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic" where costumes from the "Princess Bride" had me swooning and take a look at the 6-fingered glove! For Harry Potter fans, you will get to not see Harry's cloak of Invisibility (because it is is invisible!).
Indie Game Revolutaion was awesome and was such a difference from the current gaming exhibit on display at OMSI we visited recently. These are games are created by small independent groups and are not marketed on the larger scale. They were really fun. The Seattle area has more programmers than Silicon Valley these days and they are coming out with some really inspired products including some of the most beautiful graphics I have seen in games.
Hello Kitty exhibit was very good and I learned so much about it and how crazed so many people are over her. I was never into the craze, but I have a better understanding now, why her creator invented her.
Definitely worth stopping in and the playground outside is OUT OF THIS WORLD awesome!!