Mount Rainier National Park
Although the U.S. Geological Survey research lists Mount Rainier as one of the nation’s most dangerous volcanoes, there’s no denying that this soaring landmark is one of the must-see attractions while exploring the Pacific Northwest. Mount Rainier ascends to 14,410 feet above sea level, making it the highest mountain in the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest.
The park was named after Peter Rainier, a close friend of Capt. George Vancouver of the British Royal Navy, who observed the mountain during his Pacific Coast survey in 1792. Despite being an active volcano, Mount Rainier has become better known for its spectacular array of wildflowers due to the unique subalpine region to which it belongs. It remains the most glaciated peak in the United States, where it gives rise to five major rivers: the Carbon, Puyallup, Mowich, Nisqually and Cowlitz rivers.
The park encompasses more than 236,381 acres, welcoming active groups and travelers looking to immerse themselves in the inspiring landscape.
“It’s rewarding to hear the stories of the ways that people are inspired by and connected to this amazing national park,” said Kathy Steichen, chief of interpretation and education at Mount Rainier National Park.
From May to early October, the park is a playground for mountain climbers, hikers and bicyclists, with loads of trails for exploring, as well as great scenic drives for more relaxed exploration. The park’s rangers love to share their knowledge through guided walks, talks and campfire programs. They are also available for private group excursions.
What do Seattle’s iconic Space Needle, Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” and Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” all have in common? They all began as doodles on a napkin. As the story goes, the 1962 World’s Fair chief organizer, Edward Carlson, was traveling in Europe when he got the idea for what he believed could become an enduring symbol for his hometown of Seattle, and he quickly jotted his idea down on a napkin in a hotel cafe.
The Space Needle made its debut on the opening day of the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, proudly displaying its “Astronaut White” legs, “Orbital Olive” core, “Re-entry Red” halo and “Galaxy Gold” pagoda-style roof. Elvis Presley, Bobby Kennedy, John Wayne, Billy Graham and the Shah and Empress of Iran were among the first to experience the new space-age structure.
Last year, the Space Needle underwent an expansive $100 million renovation that replaced entire walls, barriers and floors with clear, structural glass to create a dramatic visual impact while offering never-before-seen 360-degree views of the city and the Puget Sound. The renovation included the world’s first revolving glass floor, called The Loupe, where visitors can gaze down on the architecture, elevators and even the city.
Groups visiting the Space Needle can take a 43-second ride up to the tower’s top level at the Atmos Café to enjoy light bites, wine, beer and amazing views from the tower’s open-air observation deck.