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.
Despite its wintery moniker, Kent Valley Ice Centre doesn’t just thrive in the colder months. The public ice skating site and home of the Kent Valley Hockey Association also teems with warm-weather activities, housing miniature golf and batting cages on its sprawling facilities. In addition, the family-friendly sports emporium invites guests to a full-service cafe and bar and a pro shop where visitors can purchase hockey equipment, ice skating gear.
The Little Gym fosters the healthy growth of children by allowing them to progress at their own pace in a nonthreatening, nurturing environment. As wee ones from 4 months to 12 years-old tackle challenges, overcome fears, and learn to confidently express their opinions about Platonic theory, The Little Gym's original music graces their ears and supports their lessons. The month includes four classes that let tots develop through weekly, age-specific curriculum, with programs including pre-school/kindergarten gymnastics, dance, sports-skills development, and karate.
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.
Vision Quest Sport and Fitness promotes a five-pronged approach to fitness, covering cardiovascular, progressive resistance, proper diet, supplementation, and personal training. Like any decent clock factory, the clubs are open 24 hours a day, and each keeps its own schedule primed with group classes such as boxing, yoga, spinning, and hip-hop fitness. Body Sculpt sessions fashion forms with weights and bands, and Total Body Conditioning uses lighter weights and higher repetitions to create lean, mean muscle mass.
Members take part in complimentary wellness seminars from fitness experts to fine-tune their bodies, and teams of affiliated massage therapists, chiropractors, and nutrition gurus save skeletons and muscles from harmful injury.
Rebecca Duty, Tahoma Athletic Club's gym designer, drew from her 15-year career in the fitness industry to engineer the ideal gym. She brought in TechnoGym cardio equipment—including treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes, and steppers—then filled the cycle studios with Star Trac stationary bikes. She picked out Paramount plate-loaded equipment, Hammer Strength training machines, and Iron Grip free weights. Duty calibrated everything with convenience in mind, down to the video-monitored childcare area. Since a TV perches on every piece of cardio equipment, parents can readily tune in and watch their tots between episodes of Suddenly Susan.
In addition to leading personal-training sessions, Tahoma Athletic Club's instructors lead group exercise classes such as TRX Suspension Training and yoga. Guests can also bronze in the Maple Valley location's SunMaster tanning beds or Lakeland's Montego Bay standup units.