The Outdoor Adventure Center's wildly experienced guides have led groups off the grid for more than a quarter century, pursuing rugged fun in the scenery and fresh air of mountains, rivers, and coastlines. Explorers at heart, the staff boldly launch kayaks into the ocean around the San Juan Islands and conquer the frothy waters of the scenic Skykomish River, known for its beginner-friendly rapids, migrations of spawning merpeople, pool and drop areas, and breathtaking views of 5,000-foot mountain peaks. Horseback and hiking trips delve into the lush woods, and nature photography excursions pause to celebrate the beauty of the wilderness near Index. The core team of 14 guides takes safety seriously, most with certifications from the American Canoe Association, training in wilderness first aid, CPR, and swiftwater rescue, and life vests tattooed over their chests.
The ability to swim allowed humanity to explore the seas, discover pearls inside oysters, and evolve arms devoid of inflatable muscles. Wave Aquatics Centers’ instructors understand the importance of such a skill, aiming to impart it within children and adults alike across the community. Working as a nonprofit organization fueled by the common purpose of providing students of all ages with a slew of programs and lessons, the staffers share their wisdom in Juanita and Redmond High School pools. They train their charges in competitive swimming, maintaining three teams, including a year-round Masters-level team taught by professional coaches and reformed mermaids.
From camps to paddle races to standard rentals, Northwest Paddle Surfers' watersport professionals help create laid-back adventures with a fleet of stand-up paddleboards. Atop Lake Washington's warm waters, the company's instructors teach pupils how to balance on boards and use paddles to stir giant cups of cocoa. Pine and evergreen trees make up the lakefront vistas that backdrop the on-water classroom, beckoning each student to explore aquatic locals such as Juanita Bay. Elsewhere, Paddle Flow Yoga classes held on paddleboards challenge participants to stretch and breathe deeper.
Solely dedicated to none other than the game of croquet, Puget Sound Croquet Club features three manicured lawns and a clubhouse across its three-acre parcel. A member of the United States Croquet Association, the club invites players of all experience levels to enjoy six-wicket croquet, both for casual recreation and die-hard tournament play. Newcomers can take part in a three-hour lesson on the lawn, wherein groups of four or more lay their claim to the color of their choice, navigating the course with traditional mallets to brush up on chipping and intimidation skills.
If you’ve never stood on top of water, or if you’ve stood on it and want to further defy the laws of viscosity and velocity, then strap in to Northwest Riders’ line of Slingshot Sports boards and bindings, designed to give you a blend of comfort and performance that most only experience during sleeping-bag races. As you’re towed along by a 21-foot Malibu vRide boat, the experienced nautical navigators on board will tame the wake to fit your desired degree of difficulty.
SkyMania! Trampolines' general manager Nancy Burritt believes she's found a formidable tool to fight childhood obesity: the trampoline. Jumps and flips atop its springy surface fuse excitement with a heavy dose of exercise, melting away pounds without the mini-humans even noticing. But it isn't just children that gain slimmer physiques and a newfound respect for kangaroos amid SkyMania! Trampolines' 9,000 square feet of wall-to-wall trampolines and foam pits. The facility plays host to everything from corporate team building to graduations and bachelor parties. "Our main goal is to give people a safe place to spend an evening and have fun," Ms. Burritt says.
This commitment to fun leads the staff at SkyMania!—many of whom have lost weight themselves—to incorporate traditional sports and exercise to the trampoline-filled environment. They host dodge-ball tournaments and lead volleyball matches. SkyRobics, one of the more popular classes, incorporates weights, bands, and mid-air fist bumps into a low-impact workout. Though the activities are diverse, Ms. Burritt thinks each one accomplishes a shared goal: "To make people happy."