A siren whines, and its volume suddenly overwhelms all other sounds on the ravaged battleground. Soldiers peek out from between layers of sandbags. Some stick to the camouflage netting on the edges of the field, cautious, yet daring to hope that the keening noise means a ceasefire. They're out of ammo. Finally, the call comes over the loudspeaker—"Reload!"—and they rush forward, snatching up handfuls of bright orange darts and popping them back into their plastic weapons. Once the siren goes silent, the fighting will begin anew, and the indoor arena will once again become a flurry of foam projectiles and laughter.
This scenario is a typical open play session at the Tag Zone, where an armory of Nerf guns ensures safe yet thrilling competitions. Every battle follows the rules of one of four team-based games: squad vs. squad, capture the flag, protect the leader, or "the prison." Youngsters ages 5 and up launch and dodge the soft missiles in an indoor arena dappled with padded obstacles. Field #1 displays inflatable bunkers throughout the 2,300-square-foot zone, whereas Field #2 stacks sandbags and barrels around 1,900 square feet of military-themed space. To encourage teamwork and fair play, a referee oversees each bout.
Though The Tag Zone is all for friendly rivalries, the staff refrains from tracking scores. They prefer to focus on in-the-moment excitement and sportsmanship. In addition to rounds of open play, they also host private parties, tournaments, and monthly sleepovers, which bookend a night of rest with Nerf warfare. Additionally, adults can also join in the fun of aiming toy bazookas during corporate events that forge bonds between coworkers. Parents can even participate in open play matches, preparing their kids for the day when they must hunt and capture their own birthday piñatas.
At The Scotch and Vine, owners David and Jill Pritchard blend upscale, artisan American cuisine, fine wines and scotches, and local, seasonal cuisine. The staff pours libations from more than 210 single malts, blends, bourbons, and ryes, as well as from a wine list that earned an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. With that deep selection to work from, friendly, knowledgeable tenders help diners pair their dinners with the ideal wine, craft beer, or whiskey. In the kitchen, meanwhile, expert chefs sizzle hearty elk burgers, juicy sirloin steaks, tender seared chicken, and roasted beet salads. This cuisine helped Scotch and Vine earn a spot on King5 Best of Western Washington's 2013 list of the area's five Best New American restaurants.
The strains of Spanish guitar and live blues bands form a classy soundtrack to wine tastings or seminars on Scotch-crafting, while plates of fine cheese from regional farms complement the flavors of smoky spirits, frosty brews, and rich red wine. The bistro's cushy leather booths, accents, and soft lighting evoke the image of a grandfather's cozy study or a precocious 6-year old?s tree fort.
Be it a house party, a wedding, or a prom, Ramundo Andrews, a.k.a. Deejay Mythikal, is ready to plug in his laptop, turn on the mixer, and crank up a variety of tunes to fit the scene. He soundtracks parties with new and old school tracks in a range of genres such as rap, soul, and disco. Though he's been playing records for five years, Deejay Mythikal's musical experience dates back to high school where he first began to play in local bands. Since then, he's delved into musical production, sound engineering, and song composition.
A poorly trained barista in front of a top-notch espresso machine is like an 8-year-old behind the wheel of a car—he has no idea the power before him, nor how to use it. Enter owner Bob Burgess—a specialty-beverage entrepreneur for more than 39 years—and his team at Seattle Barista Academy. For just less than a decade, Burgess and company have taught intense hands-on training programs that focus on crafting coffee, espresso, cappuccino, macchiato, and mocha drinks using advanced techniques and equipment. From learning the life cycle of a coffee bean to mastering grinding methods, extraction techniques, and latte art, students walk away with a wealth of knowledge that makes them more employable. Like deeply unpopular one-man shows, the classes consist of one-on-one attention, since class sizes are limited to no more than seven participants.
Seattle Barista Academy's staff members—all of whom have been professional baristas at some point in their careers—have up to 19 years of experience in the field. These sessions provide clients with the coffee-making and marketing knowledge they need to grow their coffee cart, kiosk, or fort built from coffee beans.
The Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum celebrates the thrill and wonder of hydroplane racing, and its the only museum of its kind in the United States. Along with historical books, race programs, trophies, and photos from the last century, its collection of hydroplanes from the past 70 years tells the story of the watery sport. The staff has brought seven famous Gold Cup and Harmsworth winners back to their fully operational states, and will even take members out on the water in one of their historical vessels for a Ride of a Lifetime.
Offering a glimpse back in time, they boast than 200 hours of racing footage dating back to the 1940s and share stories of legendary drivers including Mira Slovak and "Wild" Bill Cantrell, who was famous for solving crimes with the help of his artificially intelligent hydroplane.
However, the museum isn't just about the past. A lineup of regular events invites folks to show off their powerboats and hot rods to fellow enthusiasts, and races bring the excitement of the sport to the present day as boats cut through the waves vying for titles.
Riverbend Golf Complex is a multifaceted training facility that fosters golf-game improvement from tee to green. Golfers hunt birdies and pars across the complex's 18-hole, 6,701-yard course or hone their approach technique with a round at the par-3 course, ideal for those seeking their first hole-in-one or still potty-training their pitching wedge. A 32-stall covered, lighted, and heated driving range helps golfers add new weapons to their on-course arsenal as they take aim at eight target greens spread out in the distance, and a five-member instructional staff of PGA and LPGA pros and apprentices offers a variety of lesson types to keep swings on track. For a more casual session, guests can putt through the tree-lined greens of Riverbend's 18-hole miniature-golf course. The complex also boasts a discount golf store where guests can replace golf clubs they broke while trying to pole-vault across a creek, with equipment from Adams, Bridgestone, Callaway, and other top brands.