Pat Johns may have earned a spot in Seattle’s Bowling Hall of Fame, but that doesn’t mean his work is done. These days, he runs Hiline Lanes, which welcomes casual bowlers and Junior Gold competitors alike in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Visitors can revel during Rock-n-Bowl sessions on Friday and Saturday nights, when glow in the dark balls ease on down the center as top-40 tunes and classic rock croons blast on the sound-system. Nearby, the 11th Frame Restaurant cooks up classic club sandwiches, milkshakes, and Italian sodas. Shoppers in the Hiline shop might even spot a TV-bowling celebrity, stopping by to get Pat’s insight into next season’s bowling shoe trends.
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.
There are bowling alleys where you can go and just bowl. And then there's ACME Bowl?a 51,000-square-foot facility that contains two alleys, as well as an arcade, billiards room, two shuffleboard tables, multiple dining areas, and a bar?where you can do more, and often simultaneously. At any of The Alley's 30 glittering lanes, for example, you can have food delivered lane-side from the on-site restaurant, The Break Room. The Break Room's lineup of Big Lebowski nachos, sweet chili Thai pizzas, and lavish burgers gives your non-bowling hand something to do besides write a condolence card for the pins' family.
Private parties, meanwhile, can settle in away from the crowd at Seven10, a private lounge with 10 lanes flanked by leather couches and 150" projection screens. Smaller HD screens are mounted above nine-foot Brunswick pool tables at Q Billiards, broadcasting everything from NBA to World Cup games. The entire family-friendly venue is non-smoking.
With the opening of Pattison's West in 1979, Mike and Kay Pattison carried on a family tradition that began when Mike's grandfather debuted the clan's first rink in the 1930s. Today, the roller skating rink, which has been lauded by the New York Times, has been passed down to the couple's son, Darin, but still exudes the same values of recreation and togetherness as it did more than three decades ago, when families were held together with twine before the discovery of DNA. The 90-by-176-foot skating oval sports curved maple slats in a rotunda formation, which allows for smooth, swift gliding with the grain of the wood. When not teeming with open-skate guests or parties, the space serves as practice grounds for Pattison's Team Extreme, an inline speed-skating crew that ascended to the nation's number one spot in 2010 under Mike's coaching. The award-winning team serves as inspiration for classes for beginner rollers and aspiring speed skaters. The on-site pro shop and snack bar provides the equipment and fuel necessary to keep rolling.
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. Pack a picnic to spread out across the new picnicking area, open during warmer months.