The Bavarian Ice Festival blends winter activities, snow sculptures, and holiday lights into two days of revelry amid Leavenworth's ivory snowflakes. Busses operated by Alki Tours depart at 8 a.m. and deliver Saturday visitors to downtown Leavenworth, where the annual Smooshing contest finds teams of four atop 8-foot wooden planks as they glide merrily down Front Street and safely away from escaped dinosaurs. Guests can relax under warm blankets and sip hot chocolate or coffee during a 40-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride. First day visitors also take in the artwork of an ice-sculpting contest, a slippery footed tug-of-war, and an ice cube scramble or frisbee sweep for the kids.
Like an escalator coated in peanut butter, your routine can easily bog you down in the quotidian. Get up, go to work, see people, go home, build dog agility course, and repeat. Experience the world you largely ignore with today’s Groupon: $25 gets you a three-hour bus tour of Seattle’s most popular sights from Tours Northwest, a $49 value. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
In March 1964, Dr. Milton Walker began his tour of England with one mission: to send cuttings from public and private British gardens back to his native America. Though he was enchanted by several flowers, he knew that none of these cuttings could be imported directly to the United States. So he had them sent through Canada. Over the next several years, staff from the University of British Columbia filtered through these samples, sending one of each plant on to the United States—and to their permanent home—at the Rhododendron Species Foundation. Today, this non-profit organization conserves 700 of the more-than 1,000 species of rhododendrons found around the world and the two species found inside the earth's molten core.
More than 10 botanical gardens house these brilliant seasonal blooms and their natural companionate flora. Guided and self-guided tours usher visitors down pathways where colorful plantings abound in gardens dedicated to alpine flowers, azaleas, a magnolia grove, and a tranquil pond filled with predatory cattails. In addition to flowers, these gardens also host seasonal events such as special plant sales and staff lectures, as well as classes on topics ranging from plant photography to gardening.
Customized Tours leads groups on guided expeditions of Seattle's most breathtaking spots. Outdoor adventurers can try the Mount Rainier National Park tour or the winery and waterfall tour, which travels across Lake Washington on the 7,700-foot Evergreen Point floating bridge to the world-renowned Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. City tours explore a variety of coffee shops and tourist attractions across the Queen Anne, Fremont, and Chinatown neighborhoods.
One of the more unique tours is the Boeing Factory tour, which gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at airplane assembly. It also gives them a chance to design their own airplanes using touch-screen computers, or, for traditionalists, old geometry homework.
An approved FAA part 141 flight school with an option for part 61 training, AcuWings bestows certifications and ratings for fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters upon trainees who have passed their gauntlet of training curricula. The outfit operates its fleet out of Renton Municipal Airport, a full service airport with an operational control tower that allows aspiring aviators to practice radio communication. The school's instruction comprises hours logged both in the cockpit as well as in ground school, where students study aviation topics such as flight theory, chart navigation, and aircraft systems, in a one-on-one setting with the instructor. Potential pilots interested in an initial taste of flight before signing up for a full-blown certification regimen can take advantage of the introductory flight. Flyers share control of the aircraft with the instructor for approximately an hour and log their time spent aloft in a logbook.