Founded in 1972, Cougar Mountain Zoo has maintained a commitment to wildlife education, with particular focus on endangered species. Sweeping views of the Cascade Mountain range and Lake Sammamish set the backdrop for myriad activities, such as daily keeper-led animal walks and minilectures led by zoo staff on two- and four-legged residents who refuse to speak English. Membership benefits include free zoo admission and a 15% discount at the zoo gift shop.
Birthday Dreams’ volunteers devote themselves to one simple principle: all children deserve a birthday, regardless of economic circumstance. By working with homeless shelters and transitional-housing agencies throughout the community, they’re able to help children in need enjoy one special day of celebration. Their meticulous party planning leaves no detail unaccounted for—everything from eating utensils and personalized gifts to decorations and a fresh-baked cake ensures the child's day will be full of smiles. They encourage community involvement by soliciting handmade gifts from local crafters and inviting volunteers to bring their own children to help out at the party. Since its founding, Birthday Dreams has curated more than 1,100 birthday parties across the greater Puget Sound area, averaging about 60 celebrations each month.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.
Cindy Ross was an unlikely person to found a scuba-diving school. Told by a commercial diving instructor at 19 that she was too small to scuba, Ross didn’t begin to explore the sport until she was in her 30s. Earning certification was a trial, and she spent her first four dives lugging 80-pound gear in the snow up and down a massive hill—and, adding insult to injury, the men’s equipment didn’t even fit properly. But the fifth dive changed everything. Held in Puget Sound, Ross felt a calling to the location's green waters and white anemones, and since then, the aquanaut has frolicked with such neighbors as a 1,200-pound sea lion, hundreds of Canadian seals, and a giant Pacific octopus.
At Scuba Shoppe, Ross and her team of instructors immerse guests of all ages in the sport of scuba. Try Scuba classes held in the center's 84-degree pool familiarize students with their equipment before they plunge into the water to practice. Alternatively, an open-water certification program from Scuba Schools International expounds on these pool sessions with shore dives in the rolling waters of Puget Sound, which let students hone their skills in a more realistic environment or find a dolphin pod to adopt them. As part of this training, they also have the chance to explore the briny depths aboard underwater scooters. For the more advanced,, Scuba Shoppe provides training for specialty certifications, including rescue diving, night diving, and underwater digital photography. An onsite dive shop outfits customers with all the necessary dive gear and accessories.
Honest Movement Pilates, a Stott Pilates training center, improves the body movement, posture and breathing of all fitness levels with one-on-one teaching techniques and high-quality Pilates equipment. During the private Pilates classes, instructors educate body-bending neophytes on the basic principles of Pilates and microeconomic policy before submerging them into a variety of challenging yet appropriate exercises. Using floor mats, chairs, reformers, and ladder barrels, clients tone muscles through a contemporary, tailored full-body workout. Large windows and an abundance of natural light energize Pilates students and encourage impromptu shadow-puppet duels.
Stan Phillips spent his childhood at his father’s side in their Kansas City backyard, his little hands barely strong enough to handle the wood for the family’s smoker. Now that he’s grown, Phillips brings his family’s recipes to his Issaquah restaurant, where he slathers meats such as beef brisket, ribs, hot links, and ham with a traditional dry rub, smokes them over hickory wood, and dishes them out with sauce on the side. When diners step inside the rustic barbecue joint, they can order their meats by the pound, or dig into sandwiches such as the Cowboy, whose pork is pulled apart with a spur. A full bar slings cocktails, wines, and craft beers to suit every entrée, and the dining room displays a full Sunday football lineup on its large televisions.
Within the century-old confines of Uptown Glassworks' warehouse, furnaces melt handfuls of kaleidoscopic frit into malleable shapes manipulated by a team of professional glass blowers. But these tradesmen don't just create works for the gallery; they also share their secrets with students in a variety of activities, from introductory courses on making beads and paperweights to advanced instruction that can be applied toward college credit or used to fix the pockmarked walls of glass houses.
During the shop's Blow-Your-Own sessions, participants apply color to clear, molten glass that has recently emerged from a 2,000-degree furnace, then blow their mixture into 1 of 20 different shapes. The next day, patrons can pick up their cooled and packaged creations, comparing their handiwork to the gallery's collection of products, which are made by more than 90 local and regional glass artists.
Corks and Canvas Events, like a work of fine art, came about by pairing a good idea with a passion to create. The founders both came from the marketing world, where they spent their days devising campaigns and events to inspire their audiences to take action. A shared love for art and wine inspired them to bend their action-creating talents toward a new goal—hosting painting and wine events in area wineries and wine bars, allowing guests to "uncork their creativity" and promote the burgeoning Washington wine industry.
Their idea took the form of Corks and Canvas Events, where experienced artists lead guests step-by-step through the painting creation process. Guests re-create various paintings, everything from lush vineyard scenes to preening roosters, while sipping on glasses of local wines.