When the staff at Charlie's Safari claims to have the largest indoor play structure in the area, many will find it hard to argue with them as they look around the 22,000-square-foot jungle-themed facility. Here, kids scamper in, on, and around five levels of brightly-colored mazes and slides, air-filled bouncers, and a two-story laser tag arena. As kids unleash their imaginations, parents escape to their own lodge, secure in the knowledge that their children are being protected by the facility's Code ADAM safety system. Families can refuel at the on-site restaurant, which boasts housemade pizza sauce and corn dog batter. Charlie's Safari also hosts parties to celebrate children turning one year older and one year closer to being able to do their parents' taxes.
The Hands On Children's Museum opens a window to the world for youngsters. Its exhibits are all about interactive learning, whether that means role playing at a farmer's market, operating a play fire engine, or climbing a tree house to build a flying machine. These activities are part of 150 total exhibits in nine themed galleries that focus on healthy living, the arts, building, and outdoor exploration. The Puget Sound gallery features an eight-foot vortex and two-story cargo ship to teach kids about sea life, and a science table brings the miniature world around us to life with an HD digital microscope.
At Leap of Faith Equestrian, Morgan Nicholls teaches the art of horseback-riding to youngsters between the ages of 6 and 18. She coaches pupils on proper riding technique as they command their steeds in the disciplines of English, Western, and Jumping, and then looks on proudly as they put their newfound skills on display during trail rides, a safer route than immediately galloping onto the highway.
The crescendo and decrescendo of buzzing 200cc Subaru Robin engines swing through the interior of Grand Prix Raceway like a pendulum. The noise loudens as the Italian go-karts dart past the checkered starting line, then softens as they speed away at up to 35 miles per hour. Audible during races, parties, and leagues, the karts weave through a winding quarter-mile European-style racetrack that has a banked corner, an AMB computerized scoring and timing system, and enough width to drift through corners without bumping into cops.
Within Brookwood Equestrian Center’s 20,000-square-foot indoor arena, spectators seated in the heated viewing area grow quiet as small riders urge their mounts to trot, canter, and finally leap over jumps. The Center—which has served amateur and experienced horseback riders for more than 19 years—helps young riders take the reins in individual and group riding lessons as well as riding day camps. Brookwood’s 50,000-square-foot all-weather outdoor arena is constructed to Olympic standards, allowing horses to pursue their dreams of winning shot-put gold when they are not lazing about in 45 matted indoor stalls with automatic waterers or playing in a mud-free turnout area.
The Museum of Glass is the only museum west of the Mississippi to exclusively showcase one of art's most delicate media: glass. The museum provides a dynamic learning environment to appreciate the medium of glass through creative experiences, collections, and exhibitions. Stop by the Hot Shop, housed in the museum's 90-foot-tall stainless-steel dome, to watch professional artists as they blow and shape molten glass into artistic sculptures or thought bubbles. Be sure to examine the museum's outdoor installations, including Martin Blank's Fluent Steps, the colorful Chihluly Bridge of Glass, and the Water Forest, a series of towering acrylic tubes filled with rising and falling water.