Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fort Worden State Park

One of the moms in our homeschool group posted a meetup at a beach near Fort Worden State Park.  It was for beach combing, and she mentioned that that particular park was known for finding agates and sea glass.  I also noticed that the park was located on a street bearing our last name.  I mentioned it to my husband.  He wanted a photo of himself with a street sign.  Mikaela is really into sea glass.  And I knew the boys would like exploring the bunkers at Fort Worden, so we planned a family outing for the next day.

Our first stop was the lighthouse.  We walked around around the outside as it was not open to visitors before heading to the beach nearby.

Exploring at the beach is a popular activity with my kids.  Maddie usually walks around looking at various things and picking up rocks.  Josh's favorite thing to do is rolling away rocks to see if he can find anything living.  Mika was looking for sea glass.

We only found a few small critters.  We found several of these things that looked like a large (over an inch long) relative of pillbugs.  We also found dozens of  pillbugs and one sea anemone.

Many of the rocks were covered in vegetation that made them look like they were wearing a bad toupee.

Some of the rocks just had some really cool mineral deposit stripes.

We all helped Mika look for sea glass.

Just as we were about to head to the next place.  This freight ship headed through the straight.  It was the biggest thing we saw out there.

On our walk back to the car, I spotted this caterpillar.  I'm surprised I saw it given that it is the same color yellow as the flower.

There were some rather tall grasses too.

We headed to another parking lot and found a picnic table for lunch.  We found one overlooking a beach and watched the water as we ate.  Little did we know that we'd be heading to a beach on the other side of that hill later.

We found this trail that came out on top of Battery Kinzie.  I don't think the kids realized how much they would like where we were going.  Of course, I forgot to bring flashlights, and Maddie wasn't thrilled with the dark.  Scott quickly downloaded a flashlight app on his cell phone, and I discovered that I could use my camera's light by pressing the button half way.

Here we are on top of the battery.  Going down those stairs are a bit freaky without a railing.  We took extra care with Maddie and told the kids to hug the wall.  It was a long way down for a fall.

This is the first tunnel we entered.  This was before we had light.  It was fairly dark in there, but the narrow tunnel to the right of Scott was pitch black.

The kids just had to climb the ladder.  Scott made sure the littles were safe.  The hand reaching down is Mika's, waiting to help pull Maddie up.  Scott and I found out that the opening was a bit too narrow for us to even try going through, so we took the outside stairs and met the kids at the top.

Here's Sam at the top of the stairs.  Scott's shoulders were wider than the opening they crawled through.  He might have made it through with some maneuvering, but it wouldn't have been comfortable.

Here's the front of the bunker.  I headed to the restrooms while the family went the back way to get the car.

One the way, I admired the wind-swept trees.  I love how the look.

I also found a couple of crows who were not afraid of me.  They reminded me of the movie, Dumbo.  I imagined them having conversations about those crazy people over there in their houses on wheels.

The next stop was the Natural History Museum in Fort Worden.  It costs $5 for adults, $3 for youth, and is free for kids under 6.  The museum is a single small room that had a few neat things in it.  There was a small table with things for kids to look at with a plastic hand lens.  There were samples of rocks and information about them, a wall of sands from around the world, a river otter pelt and skeleton, a seal pelt, and a few other things.  The fee also got us into the Marine Science Center on the pier across the street.  The marine science center had a few tidal pool tanks and a few fish tanks.  Honestly, I would have been frustrated at the waste of money had we not happened upon the marine science center at feeding time.  That made it worth it!

Mika is feeding a sea anemone a piece of fish in this photo.  You tickle their tentacles with the food and they grab it from you.

Here's Josh giving a sea urchin its lunch of seaweed.  You place the strip between their spines, and they work it down to its mouth.

 Scott and Sam are watching crabs fight over food.  They watched as a crab wrestled a clam from a starfish (we fed them too) and then a flounder stole the clam from the crab.

After a while with the sea creatures, he headed back to the car to visit North Beach Park.  This was the place we learned was known for sea glass.  We all were hunting for glass.  I think blue is the prettiest.  There's bright cobalt blue and a lighter blue.  I think we found a couple of tiny red pieces, a tiny purple glass, and a single yellow one.

The tide started coming in too far so we headed back to the car for the drive home.  We stopped at Chipolte's Mexican Grill (our favorite) for dinner on the way home.

Everyone had a great time.  Everyone wants to go back, especially Josh, who already asked if we could go back tomorrow.

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