Pat Johns may have earned a spot in Seattle’s Bowling Hall of Fame, but that doesn’t mean his work is done. These days, he runs Hiline Lanes, which welcomes casual bowlers and Junior Gold competitors alike in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Visitors can revel during Rock-n-Bowl sessions on Friday and Saturday nights, when glow in the dark balls ease on down the center as top-40 tunes and classic rock croons blast on the sound-system. Nearby, the 11th Frame Restaurant cooks up classic club sandwiches, milkshakes, and Italian sodas. Shoppers in the Hiline shop might even spot a TV-bowling celebrity, stopping by to get Pat’s insight into next season’s bowling shoe trends.
As visitors wander among The Museum of Flight's more than 150 historic aircraft and spacecraft, they can chart humanity's flight path from the earliest balloons to the latest space shuttles—and marvel at how aviation has changed everything from warfare to transportation to rescue operations. Celebrity planes include a supersonic SR-71 Blackbird, built for a Cold War mission and capable of zipping from Los Angeles to New York in just 58 minutes, and a former Air Force One Boeing 707 that served as a flying oval office for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. After visiting a retired supersonic Concorde—one of only 20 ever built by the British—guests move from the airpark and the great gallery of planes to the museum’s other exhibits. Here, thousands of artifacts—uniforms, engines, and even a carved white elephant that astronaut Michael Collins carried into space on the Apollo 11 mission—enlighten as they lead groups to a kids' flight zone and a collection of to-scale plane models. Visitors can also walk through the Red Barn, the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Company.
The museum's numerous interactive exhibits give users a more visceral sense of what it was like to fly the machines that surround them. The X-Pilot simulator lets visitors practice flying a classic WWII fighter or a modern jet rather than the saddled pigeons they’re used to. Space: Exploring the New Frontier extends your reach to galactic horizons as you play Mission Control to a landing space shuttle or explore a replica of the International Space Station's Destiny Research Laboratory. Here, inventions such as the Apollo 17 lunar module ascent-stage mockup wow aspiring astronauts alongside a contemporary technological duplicate of Sputnik 1, likely made by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
From three locations, Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle's Restaurant foster lifelong memories for kids and their caretakers as they bond over bouts of miniature golf, laser-tag shootouts, and bumper-car derbies. Visitors taller than 58 inches challenge each other to go-kart races, while smaller thrill seekers practice Napoleonic siege techniques at the indoor fun fortress. Outside, human slingshots hurl visitors safely through the air in harnessed flights, and indoor rollercoaster simulators re-create the twists and turns of amusement-park rides or malfunctioning monorails. After perfecting swings at 18 holes of mini golf or 25-pitch batting cages, visitors chow down at the Bullwinkle-themed restaurant, feasting on crowd-pleasing park fare such as pizza, burgers, salads, wraps, and corn dogs. Attractions vary by location.
Firmly belted into one of two models of Sodikart go-karts, racers work on smoothly navigating turns and straightaways as they travel at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. SyKart Indoor Racing Center encourages visitors to embrace the adrenaline rushes and the g-forces of a competitive race, but safety remains its number-one priority. The staff members limit the number of karts to 12–15 for each race, and they require all participants to wear DOT-approved motorcycle helmets with protective visors. Additionally, they dole out racing tips and keep vigilant watch throughout the contests to ensure that drivers obey the rules.
After each race, the participants receive a printout with each of their lap times, which they can use to compare with friends or apply for a job as the Rock’s chauffeur. Pool tables, arcade games, and a concession stand with soda and water also help guests pass the time between events.
On a mission to preserve the vestiges of motorboat racing, The Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum allures wave-whizzing enthusiasts into its historic halls with a trove of racing artifacts, collections, and boating exhibits. Seven decades worth of designs are touted by a compilation of vintage hydroplanes, including boats that have won championship cups and arm-wrestled legendary propellers. An eclectic stock of memorabilia, such as photo archives, trophies, and vintage packs of personal floatation device trading cards provide glimpses into the past, with some pieces dating back to the early 1900s. Alternatively, more than 200 hours of rare films transferred from videotape cover hydroplane racing events from the 1940s up to present-day competition. The museum also lets visitors glean the stories of renowned drivers including Bill Muncey, Ron Musson, and "Wild" Bill Cantrell.
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.