To get some fresh air, Bellevue residents could take a stroll around their neighborhood. Or they could head to one of the nearly 100 parks in the area for a game of baseball, a tennis match, or a lesson on botanicals. The extensive park system beckons locals to take advantage of the wide array of green spaces and activities in the area, many of which are free. It also holds regular events and leads programs that range from nature film viewings to crime prevention forums aimed at addressing delinquent squirrels.
In 2005, a group of avid badminton players finally pinpointed their favorite part of the game: community. Springing from this insight, they opened Bellevue Badminton Club, inviting members to mingle or hide from exes behind their rackets on 11 courts open 24/7. The club’s coaches, including Israel's 1998 national champion and a seven-time national collegiate title winner, lead private lessons and classes. For juniors and adults alike, classes range from laid-back to competitive based on pupils' abilities and goals.
When learners vacate the courts, members and nonmembers have free rein to play drop-in matches or trace outlines of each other in chalk. Round-robin doubles and singles leagues cultivate atmospheres of amiable competition, enabled by top-shelf Yonex equipment found at the pro shop.
Dizzy’s Tumblebuses both look like bright yellow school buses, yet they have never taken a kid to school. They don’t even have seats inside. Instead, their interiors are stocked with tumbling equipment, ball pits, and slides, and they make stops at schools, where they augment gym classes. These traveling fun-buses were invented by founder and mother of three, Dizzy, who has spent the last 10 years growing her company, trying to find parking spaces big enough for her buses, and testing out lesson plans with her own eager kids.
And in addition to the busses, Dizzy also created Dizzy’s Bus Stop, the company’s stationary facility. Despite its immobility, the facility hosts a bus structure inside that recreates the fun of the company’s popular Tumblebuses. Kids can clamber up a pint-size rock-climbing wall, jump on trampolines, and join in activities from dress-up to play dough sculpting. To accommodate a variety of little ones, the center offers drop-in day care, parent-supervised open play sessions, or preschool for tykes ages 2-5.
Situated upon 12 acres of idyllic pastures, Cougar Mountain Stables is the proud home of owners who live onsite, overseeing the actions of all steeds at all hours. Here, under nature’s verdant gaze, aspiring riders learn to trot in summer-camp sessions or lessons tailored toward either Western or English styles. During times of inclement weather, lessons move to the 60’x120’ indoor arena. When the sun is shining and the thunderstorms are busy bullying faraway tide pools, riders and their horses can explore the Cougar Mountain trails, located just a horseshoe’s throw away from the stables.
With plenty of soft playground equipment and ample room to run, WiggleWorks kids pushes tots to burn off energy and develop motor skills through social play. The indoor play center's design is based on BLD Oriental's kinetic Yu Kids PlaySystem, and most of the padded structures incorporate motions that mimic natural activities. On the playground floor, toddlers and preschoolers can clamber atop multicolored climbing structures, and find seats on spinning carousels. The facility also features a separate seating area and changing room.
Flung from the concert stage by the drummer of T-Rex, a single drumstick caught by eighth grader Donn Bennett began a lifelong passion for collecting rare and celebrity drum sets. He began selling and trading equipment from his home, and eventually his constantly expanding collection prompted him to open his own shop in 1977. Today, as recorded by King 5 Magazine, more than 50 signed snares hang from the store's ceiling above a show room circled by 15 sets previously used by drummers from bands such as Green Day, Aerosmith, Kansas, and Cheap Trick. Snares played by The Who's Keith Moon and Kiss' Peter Criss, a signed drumhead by The Beatles' Ringo Starr, and feline whiskers fashioned into drumsticks by Josie and the Pussycats round out Donn's extensive exhibit.
Along with the displayed celeb drums, Donn dispenses new and used drum gear to customers along with vintage snare parts and major-brand replacement parts for sets in need of repair. Stocked with two professional drum sets and a Roland electronic drum tutor, soundproof learning rooms shelter pupils and instructors during private 30- or 60-minute lessons for all skill levels. Along with annual rock camps and clinics, Donn's staff leads specialized classes in diverse drumming topics such as mastering the techniques of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham and the cymbal-smacking techniques of Animal from the Muppets.