Monday, September 28, 2015

Chittenden (Ballard) Locks

Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks)  were built in 1917 as a passage way for commercial and recreational ships between the salt water of Puget Sound and the fresh water of Lake Washington and Lake Union.  When I heard about the locks, I knew we had to visit. We studied the building of the Panama Canal last week.

Upstairs, in the visitor cente, are several hands-on exhibits of both the locks and the life cycle of Salmons.

Moving ships through locks - great exhibit
Guided walking tours are well as a self-guided tour of the Carl English Botanical Gardens. We watched a 12 minute video which reviewed the concepts of Locks and gave us the historical background of this specific site.
Next, we headed out to see real boats/ships navigate the Locks. It was a beautiful, sunny, fall day  - perfect for watching ships.


Another feature of the Ballard Locks is a FISH LADDER.  We'd heard it wasn't the right time to see many salmon - but we saw several.  We enjoyed the underwater viewing section.

This display, illustrating the first 99 days of the life of a salmon, was fascinating.

We found FALL!

It was achingly bittersweet when we intersected a tour group of Japanese school girls from Tokyo. (I asked).  Hearing the language, seeing the tour guides, the uniforms and the giggly girls....Stacia asked if I thought we'd ever get back to Japan. I cried. Our hearts are in Japan - God knows the specifics of the future. "Let go my soul and rest in Him, the waves and the wind still know His name."

We finished off the trip by stopping at the historic,  90 year old  Lockspot Cafe.  We highly recommend the fish and chips - and they have a garden burger too.

This was a great day of Road Schooling. It cemented the information we'd studied last week. I love it when it things work like this.  The Ballard Locks, Salmon Ladder and Botanical Gardens are all FREE.

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