Members of the Pacific-12 Conference, the University of Washington Huskies athletic department boasts a rich history of triumphs. In 2001, their football team added a Rose Bowl victory to a trophy case that already contained the laurels of four national titles, the most recent of which occurred in 1991. In 2011, the men's basketball team claimed its third Pac-12 tournament title, and in 2005, the women's volleyball team steamrolled competition en route to its first-ever national title. Much of the Husky-related glory unfolds on the floors and fields of UW's lineup of pristine facilities, which includes the historic 72,500-seat Husky Stadium and raucous Alaska Airlines Arena.
In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.
Water is the source of life. But it’s also the source of adventure, something River Recreation has delivered since 1982. Today, stationed on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Monitor, the company sends clients floating and tumbling down a total of nine rivers throughout Washington State.
As entertaining as they are informative, River Recreation’s guides undergo extensive training—twice as much, in fact, than the state requirements. That experience enables the company to offer a wide range of trips, from kid-friendly Class I floats to heart-pumping Class V adventures that have helped discover some of the area’s top opera singers. Currently, River Recreation hosts half-day, full-day, and combination trips, and in 2010, it unveiled a white water-and-wine mini getaway—a half-day of rafting, and a half day of wine tasting in Wenatchee Valley. All of this is combined to make RIver Recreation Washington State's Whitewater Professionals.
As a nonprofit organization rather than a sailing club or boat-rental shop, Sail Sand Point floats an enriching nautical experience over come-and-go boating. The five-use open boating punch card grants access to SSP's sailboats, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards for a quintet of 90-minute excursions during open boating hours through October 27. Although only the vessel's captain has to fulfill all five of SSP's open-boating requirements and pen a Whitman-worthy schooner sonnet, any passengers must complete a medical/liability waiver. The craft-curious can get a taste of sailing in the adult two-hour intro course before deciding to commit to a wardrobe of lifejackets and whale pants. After learning some sailing 101 from a US Sailing–certified instructor, students board a boat and practice newly-learned techniques on the waves of Lake Washington.
Surrounded on every side by the city's urban landscape, Lake Union affords a unique vantage point from which to see the Seattle skyline. The captains of Lake Union Charters and Adventures take advantage of this view by chartering adventures aboard the Solana, a sailing sloop outfitted with a full galley, icebox, and bathroom. Sailing adventures range from sunset cruises to girls' night out sails, as well as sailing lessons that give students hands-on experience in tacking, jibing, and whittling a peg leg. For an elevated experience, the captains also sweep passengers off on dinner cruises aboard the schooner Lavengro, a historic, 63-foot wooden vessel first launched in 1926 and named after George Borrow's novel Lavengro: The Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest.
For more than a century, Woodland Park Zoo has been displaying and protecting some of nature's most endangered animals. Spread across 92 acres and home to more than 1,090 animals, the park educates and entertains the public with all manner of exhibits. Traipse through the Tropical Rain Forest, which mimics the atmosphere of the African and South American rain forests, and provides homes for red ruffed lemurs, gorillas, colobus monkeys, and jaguars.