Daily Photo / Travel

Seattle: Chihuly Garden and Glass

Walking onto the grounds of the Seattle Center.

Walking onto the grounds of the Seattle Center.

I can’t even begin to describe how fun my trip to Seattle was. Every day had it’s own theme, and while we spent a lot of time in the downtown area, we also took a day-trip out to Port Townsend. It’s a half hour ferry ride out of Seattle, then about an hour drive from Kingston. But don’t worry, I’ll have more on that later.

While I love the sun, I love the dreary Seattle weather. I think it just makes the rest of Fall’s colors stand out more vibrantly. Plus I love wearing scarves — something you don’t get to do in Hawaii. Squirrels and colored leaves are also things that get me excited when I’m off island.

After recovering with a quick nap after a red eye flight, our first stop brought us to the Seattle Center. There’s so much going on there, make sure to check the events and show list on their website.

An exhibit inside Chihuly Garden and Glass.

An exhibit inside Chihuly Garden and Glass.

We started our first day in the city with a little bit of culture, beginning at Chihuly Garden and Glass. The word “museum” is quick to turn some people off, but these exhibits are sure to excite and inspire everyone. It’s not free, but it’s worth the money — trust me. If you buy your ticket online, it’s $2 cheaper than if you buy it there. (General admission is $18 online, $20 at the door).

We bought a package admission for $34 which got us our ticket inside along with a ride up to the Space Needle Observation Deck. You can see more on pricing and ticket information here.

The lights are low as you enter the Exhibition Hall, with only enough light to show off the brilliant colors of Chihuly’s glass work.

Glass ceiling.

Glass ceiling.

Inside the Glasshouse.

Inside the Glasshouse.

Dale Chihuly, born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. His work has since been included in more than 200 museum collections around the world. He’s also created more than a dozen well known series of works, one of those being Chandeliers (in the 1990s), a selection of which can be viewedΒ here in Seattle.

After you finish your tour through the Exhibition Hall, you’ll end up in the Glasshouse overlooking the garden. It’s probably one of the most beautiful exhibitions I’ve ever seen. Fiery glass flowers hang suspended above you in a glass dome where even more of Chihuly’s work can be spotted among the living plants outside. I love how Seattle’s overcast sky makes the glass look all the more vibrant.

There are professional photographers who work for the museum standing at certain photo-op points and they’ll take your photo for free — it’s part of what you get when buying a ticket. They’ll snap a photo, give you a ticket, and all you have to do is scan it at a nearby kiosk and email it to yourself.

Emily, Ayaka, and I

Emily, Ayaka, and I

You can even see the Space Needle!

You can even see the Space Needle!

I took a jewelry class in high school once and we had a guest artist come in for a week who specialized in glass. He taught us how to blow glass beads. I remember that just getting the shape and color you wanted at such a small scale was already difficult — I can’t even imagine working with glass on the level that Chihuly does. His pieces are massive, and incredibly fragile and delicate looking.

After seeing the scale and intricacy of his work, you may not be surprised to know that Chihuly has received many awards, including twelve honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Emily and Ayaka foolin' around in the chandelier hall.

Emily and Ayaka foolin’ around in the chandelier hall.

Once you’re through exploring the Exhibition Hall and the Glasshouse and garden, there’s still a gift shop to sift through! The hallway of chandeliers (photo above) will lead you to it. You can buy a smaller version of some of Chihuly’s glass sculptures here, but from what I saw the average price is $6,000. (Break out that check book!)

There’s also an interesting video where you can see how Chihuly physically makes his art. It involves a large furnace, a whole team of people, and big pieces of glass attached to a long pole — plus some heavy duty protective gear to keep them safe from the extreme temperatures they’re working at.

If you’re ever in the Seattle area, I definitely recommend Chihuly Garden and Glass. It’s a beautiful experience. You might as well stop by since you’ll more than likely be visiting the Space Needle, which is just steps away! Read more on our trip to the Observation Deck here.


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