Leavin’ On A Seaplane

I’ve lived in Seattle for a little over two years now, and I realized I still hadn’t taken any of the tours offered by Kenmore Air.  I knew the sun would be making an appearance this weekend, so I booked the Seattle Scenic Tour.  For $99, I was given a front row seat to the most beautiful city on the West Coast (in my opinion).  We took off from Lake Union and headed over to Lake Washington.  We were treated to magnificent views of Bellevue, Lake Washington, and Mercer Island.  Mount Rainier was ever present in the sky as well, as there were hardly any clouds.  In Seattle, when it’s sunny, we don’t say, “The sun is out.”  We say, “The mountain’s out.”  IMG_2053.jpg

We crossed back over the stadiums to Seattle proper, heading out over Elliott Bay.  I’ve seen Seattle from the Space Needle, as well as from Columbia Center (Seattle’s tallest skyscraper), and this view is by far the best.  Anything and everything happening in Seattle this morning was right outside my airplane window.  It was AMAZING!!!

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We flew over Elliott Bay, soaking in the sights of Puget Sound, West Seattle, Bainbridge Island, before heading north over Discovery Park (my favorite of Seattle’s parks).  We also had a great view of the locks.

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All too quickly, the flight was over.  Being my first seaplane ride, it was so bizarre taking off and landing on the water.  One of my biggest fears when flying internationally is crashing in the water, so that made this experience a bit ‘white knuckle’ for me.  I absolutely loved it, though.   Kenmore Air provides amazing customer service.

The planes are small, so space is limited.  Don’t expect a first class seat, but definitely expect first class service.  This will definitely be at the top of my list of attractions when I have visitors in town.

For more pictures, click here!

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Museum of Flight

Seattle is airplane country.  Boeing’s headquarters is here, which means any time you look up at the sky, you’re likely to see a brand new jet on its test flight.  You’re also likely to see hundreds of general aviation aircraft zipping through the skies, as well as the seaplanes that make up Kenmore Air‘s fleet.  I remember a time, before the threat of terrorism became too serious, that my dad and I would head out to the airport to watch the planes.  Back then, we could get up closer that you can now.  Planespotting was something my dad and I could always bond over.

Now, when I have the urge to be around airplanes, but don’t have a ticket to go anywhere, I can head over to the Museum of Flight.  The museum provides visitors with excellent exhibitions on the origins of flight, as well as an exhibit centered around space exploration.  Retired aircraft hang from the ceiling for everyone to enjoy. They’ve just completed their Aviation Pavilion, where visitors can get up close and personal with some amazing aircraft.  I just came from the Members’ Preview, and they have done am AMAZING job putting this all together.  The Aviation Pavilion opens to the public on June 25th.  Boeing’s first 747-100 is on display, which visitors can enter.  It isn’t set up like a passenger jet, as it only made test flights.  The same goes for the Boeing 787-8 on display.  Visitors can also step inside a retired British Airways Concorde, which was the fastest passenger jet ever in service.  Docents are always on hand to answer questions about the various aircraft on display.

I’ve been to the museum several times, and still haven’t seen everything yet.  Every time I go, I see something new and interesting.  If you live in the Seattle area, or visit several times a year, I suggest purchasing a membership.  It ends up paying for itself, if you are an aviation geek like me and would like to go back a couple of times.  I have the lowest tier of membership, and I can always bring a guest for free.  Members also get 15% off at the gift shop, and I never leave empty-handed.  If you haven’t been to Seattle yet, definitely put this on the top of your list of places to visit.