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Tours and Special Activities

"The field trips were wonderful. The sessions
were fantastic."
-Attendee of the 2009 SHOT Annual Meeting

Note: All tours will depart at the times listed below.  Please do not count on your tour guide waiting for you if you are late!

Thursday, 30 September:

Waterfall in Mount Rainier National ParkMount Rainier
National Park
Established in 1899 as the nation's fifth national park, Mt. Rainier National Park not only preserved more than 240,000 acres surrounding the 14,410-foot glaciated peak, but also an ongoing civic controversy and a number of important technological stories. The controversy: while Seattleites tended to prefer the name "Rainier," Tacomans were committed to "Mt. Tacoma" (or a variant, "Tahoma") in a controversy that has lasted over a century.  SHOT remains neutral; the tour to the Park's Paradise Visitor Center will focus on these elements, in addition to the natural alpine beauty of the site: the intersection of technology, consumerism, and ideas about authentic wilderness experiences, focusing on Rainier's commercial climbing culture (with Chris Johnson, University of Washington); the juxtaposition of architectures at the Paradise site, with special attention to the WPA-era Paradise Lodge (with Matt Sneddon, a consulting historian and veteran of the Historic American Building Survey/Historic American Engineering Record); and the way in which the visitors' experience in the National Parks has adapted to the automobile age, with Dave Louter (National Park Service historian and author of Windshield Wilderness).

Lunch will be on your own at Jackson Visitor Center. The cuisine features pizza, deli sandwiches, hot dogs, soup and salads, rotating hot entrées, desserts, soft-serve ice cream, milkshakes, and espresso. Paradise Inn's Website has information about the offerings for a sit down lunch in their Dining Room.

Tour specifics: Thursday, 9.45 am - 4 pm Cost is $20 per person which includes bus and entrance fees, but not lunch. The bus will depart from in front of the Murano. Limited to 50 guests. The time of the return is an estimate as it will be affected by traffic and weather.

Dress attire: Comfortable walking shoes, pants, and rain jacket recommended. Dress in layers to keep cool at lower elevations and stay warm as you near spectacular Paradise. Weather patterns at Mount Rainier are strongly influenced by the Pacific Ocean, elevation, and latitude. Be aware that mountain weather is very changeable. Wet, cold weather can occur anytime of the year. Although late-July and August are generally the driest and warmest times of the year, summer can also be wet and cool. Snow will remain at the 5,000-8,000 ft elevation well into mid-July.

Port of Tacoma
Get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Port of Tacoma operates.  Guided by Port staff, you'll see the monster machines that move cargo and learn how Port activities impact the region's economy. A major gateway to Asia and Alaska, the Port of Tacoma is a leading North American seaport, handling more than $36 billion in annual trade and nearly 2 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent container Units) in Port of Tacoma2008. The Port is the seventh largest container port in North America. Located on Commencement Bay a natural, deep-water harbor in Southern Puget Sound the Port of Tacoma is an independent municipal corporation.  Created by Pierce County citizens in 1918, the Port has 2,400 acres (972 hectares) used for shipping terminal activity as well as for warehouses, distribution, and manufacture.  More than 70% of the Port's international import container cargo heads east via rail to major markets, such as Chicago, Indianapolis, New York and Boston.

Tour Specifics: Thursday, 1.30 - 4 pm. Cost is $10 per person. The bus will depart from in front of the Murano. Limited to 55 participants. Photo identification is required for participants over 17 years of age. Acceptable forms of identification include: State-issued driver's license, identification card issued by a government agency, or a passport.

Friday, 1 October:

Tacoma's Industrial History, Adaptive Reuse and the University of Washington-Tacoma
Professor Michael Allen, a founding faculty member of the University of Washington, Tacoma, will lead this tour focusing on the preservation of a warehouse neighborhood reflecting Tacoma's past as a rail center and major port, and the integration of these structures within a new campus for the University of Washington. The neighborhood retains a number of cafes and taverns formerly oriented toward the blue-collar workforce, and now supported by the new campus. UW-Tacoma served as a linchpin of the city's downtown redevelopment, which encompasses the campus, the Murano Hotel, a clutch of museums, and the historic Pantages Theater.

Tour Specifics: Friday, 1 October, 2-4 PM. No charge but please indicate on the registration form if you are planning to take this tour.  The tour will leave from the lobby of the Murano.  Good walking shoes are recommended.

Historical Walking Tour of Downtown Tacoma
You will be guided through lovely downtown Tacoma, learning the history, art, changes and little-known facts about our wonderful city. There is a renaissance taking place in Tacoma, and you can learn where Stereograph of Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA, 1907 - LCICK FOR MORE INFORMATIONTacoma is heading in the future by seeing where it has been in the past.  You can expect a tour detailing the History of Tacoma including Antique Row, unique shops, the Theatre District, and the many Museums in downtown Tacoma. Led by trained Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau (TRCVB) volunteers, the tours feature fascinating cultural, historical and architectural details about the downtown core between the Museum District and Theater District.

Tour Specifics: Friday and Saturday, 1 and 2 October, 10.30-12.30 AM. Cost is $10 person payable at the time of the tour.  The tours depart from the Tacoma Regional Visitor Information Center located at 1516 Pacific Ave. (on lower level of the Courtyard by Marriott). The walking tour covers approximately two miles and takes about two hours at a casual pace up and down gentle slopes. Good walking shoes are recommended.

Saturday, 2 October:

Maritime History at Foss Seaport
Foss Tugs is the regional leader in tug, towboat and barge service in the maritime regional economy, which extents to Alaska and the South Pacific.  The family-owned company has preserved, updated, and continued to use vessels over a century, and sponsors this museum in a former wheat warehouse on the Tacoma waterfront.  This tour will discuss some of the problems of preserving and interpreting maritime history on a working waterfront.  Maintenance schedules permitting, we will have a historic vessel at on site to demonstrate the workings of the marine tow industry. Maritime heritage expert Diana Hennick of Northwest Seaport will serve as guide. 

Tour Specifics: Saturday, 2 October, 2-4 PM.  The group will meet in the Murano's lobby and then walk 20 minutes to the Seaport.  No charge but please indicate on the registration form if you are planning to take this tour.  Good walking shoes are recommended.

Historical Walking Tour of Downtown Tacoma
See Friday tours for information about the subject and route.

Tour Specifics: Friday and Saturday, 1 and 2 October, 10.30-12.30 AM. .  Cost is $10 person payable at the time of the tour.  The tours depart from the Tacoma Regional Visitor Information Center located at 1516 Pacific Ave. (on lower level of the Courtyard by Marriott).

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