The veteran athletes at Peregrine Expeditions nurture their already intimate relationships with Mother Nature during skiing and climbing excursions into the icy peaks of Mount Baker or jagged rock faces of Mount Erie. Backcountry skiing courses hone snow-skimming techniques, and intense skiing tours toe the border between the United States and Canada on two-day treks that embark each morning from a hut at base camp. Adrenaline junkies foray into Forbidden Peak for two or three days, conquering the ins and outs of navigating ice, performing mountaintop rescues, and backpacking in challenging conditions. Kid-specific expeditions tone tiny muscles and teach bird calls used to ask eagles the way to the nearest latrine as youngsters grouped by age engage in courses that span one to five days.
After a trek down the Panama Canal, visitors stop for a brief sojourn under the Matterhorn before journeying on to the Eiffel Tower. This trip around the world comes courtesy of All Fun Recreation Park's miniature-golf course, whose 18 globally themed greens are littered with water traps and austerely dressed customs officials. Elsewhere, eight cages hurtle baseballs and softballs toward batters at 40?75 mph, and drivers accelerate across a 1,400-foot go-kart track's over and under bridge or hug the turns of a smaller oval track designed for parents and youngsters.
For more racing action, patrons can head over to Western Speedway each Saturday night in May?September for stock-car competitions on an oval track or drag strip. Westshore Motocross rents entry-level dirt bikes to riding and racing novices, and 75 RV and tenting sites give guests opportunities to yodel freely in nature. Guests can then practice licking techniques on the flower-filled patio at Mr. Tubbs Ice Cream Parlour and Family Fun Zone, or explore the Swap & Shop each Sunday, where vendors dispense copious household goods and collectibles.
In the verdant Cowichan Valley, Pacific Northwest Raptors cares for a diverse flock of birds of prey?owls twist their heart-shaped heads curiously, and hawks look on with eyes like copper coins. The staff provides them a safe habitat while educating the public about their habits, hunting methods, and favourite brands of feather cosmetics. Eagles and falcons ride warm zephyrs overhead daily, searching for prey high over the canopy when they aren?t perched back at the centre.
Avian experts demo the birds? skills during walks, which include the opportunity for patrons to have a hawk or owl land on a gloved hand or already impressive jaw line. Intensive workshops and week-long falconry courses let guests settle in with the animals beneath the towering trees, which hush each other liltingly in the wind. Regular family events at the centre facilitate bonding with the regal raptors, many of which are trained in film work and pest control.
Project Climbing Centre satisfies grabby appendages with more than 9,000 square feet of climbing surface. The one-day bouldering pass ($13) outfits upwardly mobile bipeds with shoes ($5) and climbing chalk ($2) to surmount 13' boulder courses and fight territorial mountain trolls (no harness, ropes, or belays required). Upon reaching the summit, climbers jump or fall onto big, soft, cushiony mats. To the delight of visitors who buy five-pass packages ($60, does not include gear) and the dismay of those who fear change and its adverse effect on the coolness of their parachute pants, routes change monthly. Bouldering is known for its social camaraderie, so much so that Project Climbing Centre has dedicated Wednesdays as Ladies Night.
In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.
With some reaching up to 70 feet, Coastal Climbing Centre's more than 100 routes create a staggering sight as interweaving patterns of colourful foot and hand holds stretch from the gym's padded floors all the way up to its ceiling. Visitors needn't feel overwhelmed, however, as the gym's staff can help them climb step by step. During drop-in sessions, instructors handle all belaying, letting climbers focus on solving each problem. Alternatively, instructors teach students to belay for themselves and master more nuanced climbing techniques, including back steps and the backstroke.
Aside from the roped routes, approximately 80?100 bouldering problems challenge climbers in different ways. Devoid of harnesses and ropes, climbers must rely exclusively on a chalk bag and a firm grip. The gym's hang boards, rings, and H.I.T. Strips help build the required dexterity, and complimentary hot beverages can fuel visitors' steam-powered legs.