Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, Seattle’s Space Needle has become the international symbol for the city. People are known to base their directions using the Space Needle as the starting point.
The Space Needle stands more than 600 feet above the ground. It was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River when it was built in 1961. Now, it’s the fourth or fifth tallest building in Seattle.
The Space Needle got its unique design as a compromise between two men. Ed Carlson sought to have the attraction look like a tethered balloon. Architect John Graham sought to design it as a flying saucer. A third man – Victor Steinbreuck – introduced the hourglass design.
About 2.3 million visited the Space Needle during the 1962 World’s Fair. Today, more than 1 million people visit annually. It’s one of the most popular attractions in the Northwest.
It takes about 40 seconds to travel from ground level to the observation deck at a speed of about 10 mph. The speed can be adjusted due to strong winds.
Known for its 360-degree view of the area, the Space Needle’s observation deck is 520 feet tall. For someone who is not a fan of high places, I was proud of myself for walking around the exterior portion a few times during my visit. You short yourself if you don’t go outside. I usually feel better having another person with me.
The view is beautiful! You can see for miles and miles. The skyline of the city is impressive from the deck. As I looked around, I thought to myself, “I walked from that end of the waterfront to that end of the waterfront.” The things that pop in my head.
Puget Sound is an amazing body of water. Watching the ships, ferries and tourist boats roaming about was fun. A ship I saw in the Sound the day before (while on a harbor tour) was unloading its cargo near shore.
I love the view of the EMP Museum from atop the Needle. The colors snap through the safety bars on the deck.
The view of Lake Union and its surrounding area was nice to take in. The entire area is beautiful, so the 360-dgree view is impressive.
I did see a new building from the observation deck. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation complex consists of two V-shaped buildings. The complex includes a visitors center.
Back on the ground, the area surrounding the Space needle has some nice attractions. A totem pole is among the sculptures or art pieces in the park.
In addition to visiting the observation deck, visitors can dine at the Sky City restaurant. The Needle also has a nice gift shop.
Some fun facts about the Space Needle via www.spaceneedle.com:
• Purchased in 1961, the Space Needle was given a record-breaking goal of being built in a little over a year, to be featured at the opening of the World’s Fair. When construction was successfully finished in 400 days, US Steel dubbed the Space Needle “The 400 Day Wonder.”
• There are 848 steps from the bottom of the basement to the top of the Observation Deck.
• The Space Needle sways approximately 1 inch for every 10 mph of wind. It was built to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour, doubling the 1962 building code requirements. When winds around the Needle reach high speeds, 35 mph or higher, the elevators are designed to reduce their traveling speed to 5 mph for safety reasons. During the 1993 Inaugural Day storm, wind gusts reached 90 mph and the top house was closed for an hour and a half.
• The Space Needle had the second revolving restaurant in the world. The first one was in the Ala Moana shopping mall in Hawaii. There are now hundreds of turntable structures throughout the world.
• In 1966 11-year-old Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft co-founder and former chairman, won a dinner at the Space Needle restaurant offered by his pastor. Gates had to memorize chapters 5, 6, and 7 of the Gospel of Matthew, better known as the Sermon on the Mount, and he recited the sermon flawlessly.
I enjoyed my second visit to the Space Needle. I’m looking forward to the next visit in the spring when Lisa and I return to the Northwest to visit our daughter.
For more information on the Space Needle, please visit www.spaceneedle.com.
Disclaimer: My visit to the Space Needle was courtesy Seattle CityPASS. However, all opinions and views are mine.