In the early 1950s, Prentice Bloedel retired early from leading his family's timber business and devoted all his time to the creation of his gardens. A pioneer in renewable resources and sustainability?Bloedel was the first to use sawdust as a fuel in his mills?he was deeply interested in how people fit into the natural world. Today, the Bloedel Reserve stands as a testament to that interest, a world-renowned public garden with 150 acres of landscapes and natural woodlands for guests to lose themselves in.
Here, visitors build bonds with nature simply by walking around, which is far safer than agreeing to a blind date with an azalea bush. During a stroll across the Reserve, visitors come upon the moss garden and its living carpet, stop for quiet contemplation at the reflection pool, and join a cast of wild critters at the bird refuge. Of all the property's features, though, the Puget Sound view might be most impressive. This panoramic vista to the northeast peers out across the Puget Sound, Jefferson Point, and the Cascade Mountains, giving a glimpse of the nature's grandeur.
It sounds just like a movie: a former Disney employee and a former mayor team up to run their own theater. That's exactly what Jeff Brein and Sam Granato did in 1988 with Bainbridge Cinemas, where they still spend Friday and Saturday nights tearing tickets and scooping popcorn. Besides Bainbridge Cinemas, their theater collection—Far Away Entertainment —oversees seven other local theaters, including the historic single-screen Lynwood Theatre. Opened in 1936, Bainbridge Island's first talking picture house now specializes in independent features and foreign films in which actors rearrange the English alphabet to make strange new sounds.
Over at the two-screen Admiral Theater, projectionists give newer Hollywood releases a second run, plus host screenings every year for the Seattle International Film Festival. Far Away's five remaining theaters, each with three to five screens, show digital versions of Hollywood's freshest celluloid. Lean back in the Anacortes' reclining seats, or scarf down an all-beef frank at Oak Harbor while taking in a flick or live screening of the Metropolitan Opera.
To learn about the wildlife of Puget Sound, you could go to your local library or pour through pictures online. Or you could see it up close during a trip with Exotic Aquatics Scuba and Kayaking. True to their company's name, the staff immerses adventurers in the scenic locale through SCUBA dives and kayak tours. While divers submerge themselves in dreamlike sites to look for octopi and rock fish, kayakers paddle across Eagle Harbor in search of otters and seabirds.
For the certified guides at AdventureTerra, having just another day at the office typically entails scaling the side of a huge rock, or ascending a towering tree. All told, the AdventureTerra team boasts a combined 30 years of climbing experience spread across 35 locations. It shares that wisdom during adventures around the Washington State area, as well as during climbing courses that place safety above everything else. The most popular of those courses, intro to rock climbing, focuses on essential techniques, including working with ropes, belaying, and rappelling. From there, students can build upon their skills in a number of ways, such as by scaling pyramid formations at local cheerleader competitions or by participating in one of AdventureTerra?s more advanced programs.
IslandWood’s School Overnight Program integrates scientific inquiry, technology, and the arts into an outdoor-learning experience that connects students with nature both physically and intellectually. During the four-day experience, students from low-income urban communities learn about the evolution of Blakely Harbor, collect data on local animals and insects, and stifle ticklish giggles as they calculate their ecological footprints. Traversing both land and water, kids can hold tree frogs and recite lines from Hamlet to pinecones as they engage in guided activities that focus on the arts, critical thinking, and problem solving. IslandWood provides its School Overnight Program to children from low-income communities at a reduced cost to their families, but the organization requires additional funding to cover program expenses including staff, outdoor gear, materials, meals, and lodging.
Meadowmeer Golf & Country Club’s nine-hole course takes golfers on a pin-hunting odyssey through fairways and greens nestled in the shadows of dense tree lines. The scaled-down layout boasts dual sets of tees, creating front- and back-nine experiences unique enough to convince near-sighted sand wedges that they are playing a full-length course. The course shares its grounds with a practice area for chipping, pitching, and driving, as well as a nine-hole practice green, which helps players get a feel for the speed of greens without having to bribe an earthworm.