In October, the Upward Bound staff and 30 students traveled to Seattle. After resting from a five-hour flight, we started with a tour of the Boeing manufacturing plant. We toured the huge facilities, in which many of today’s commercial and military aircrafts are built. We visited the Future of Flight Aviation Center, where we learned more about aviation and the new advancements in air travel. After lunch, we traveled to the Museum of Pop. The exhibits explored many aspects of popular culture: music, art, film, gaming, and science fiction. Some of the featured exhibits included Prince’s “Purple Rain,” along with artifacts from the sets of major movies and television shows such as Alien vs. Predator and The Walking Dead.
Later, we went sky high into the iconic Space Needle. The downtown Seattle skyline, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Elliott Bay, and surrounding islands can be viewed from the top of the 520-foot-high observation deck. Next was a visit to Chihuly Gardens. These were no average botanical gardens! The “gardens” featured glass sculptures imitating actual plants. We also had the chance to watch glassmakers create new sculptures.
Most of Tuesday was spent at the historic Pike Place Fish Market where we learned about the history of Seattle. One of our students, Gerson Quevedo, caught a fish by hand; this is one of the biggest attractions at the market. The stories behind the first Starbucks, the large totem pole in downtown Seattle, and the infamous Gum Wall were bizarre, yet fascinating. Lunch was on our own, so we explored the various cultural restaurants near the market. After visiting the Museum of Flight, we then had some downtime to visit a local mall.
On Wednesday, in typical Pacific Northwest fashion, we donned our umbrellas and raincoats to visit the University of Washington and explore the historic campus. After our tour, we traveled by ferry to an island off the mainland for lunch and exploration. Our last stop for the day was to the top of the Skyview Observatory. Who would have thought a thunderstorm would look so peaceful at almost 800 feet in the air?
Our Seattle trip was STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) focused, and most of our experiences revolved around innovation and scientific advancements. The trip was a great getaway for students and staff. We look forward to our next merit trip!