Every so often, a pint-sized train chugs past, wending its way through lush foliage and myriad attractions. This type of whimsical ride is typical of an amusement park, but the surrounding greenery suggests a different locale. The train is driving through a one-stop shop and tourist destination known as Art Knapp Plantland, a 5-acre nursery, garden-supply store, kid-friendly playland, model-train oasis, and much more.
Art Knapp Plantland's inventory runs the gamut of plant supplies, from actual plants?such as flowers, trees, and the exotic pink blueberry featured in the video tour?to the fertilizers and landscaping equipment integral to kempt yards and vigilante park maintenance. While touring the grounds, patrons can also find an eclectic array of non-gardening items, from jewellery and golf shoes to hot-tub equipment.
The smorgasbord shopping center also hosts family friendly activities including a train ride, a mini-golf course, and a model-train exhibit.
Meet Eddy the Engine. Eddy was an English mining train before settling down at Bear Creek Park Train in the spring of 1996. He's adapted to his new environs well, cheerfully hauling passengers through a seasonally decorated tunnel and into the cottonwood forests of Bear Creek Park. Eddy chugs past Bear Creek Floral Garden and across King Creek Bridge before pulling back into the station, where passengers can toot his whistle before heading off for an ice cream or a game of mini golf.
Speaking of mini golf, the park's 18-hole course offers an entirely different way to commune with Mother Nature. Each hole incorporates the surrounding landscape in a subtle yet unmistakable way. The putting greens blend into towering cedar, hemlock, spruce, fir trees, and gurgling water.
Parking and admission is free at Castle Fun Park, allowing guests to customize their experience by only paying for the attractions and games they choose. Every day from 10 a.m. until midnight, kids and adults of all ages explore activities including mini golf with a view of the mountains. The go kart track, bumper-car arena, and remote-controlled boat pond sate needs for speed, and the shooting gallery and softball and baseball cages let athletes flex their skills. More than 200 games buzz in the arcade, including air hockey and pinball, which strengthens hand-eye coordination and improves players' ability to follow the bouncing ball during sing-along TV jingles.
When viewed from the sky, the fairways at Sudden Valley Golf & Country Club resemble lush terraces descending into Lake Whatcom, like some grandiose, modern version of Incan horticulture. From a player's perspective, this visually dynamic setting makes for two very different nines. The front nine roams the flat shores of the lake, easing golfers into the round with wide fairways and large greens. A much different challenge awaits on the course's second act, as the fairways climb up a ridge and cleave through dense evergreens, demanding accuracy and smart approach shots onto smaller greens. Water hazards on 14 of 18 holes make the path to an under-par round even more treacherous, and 47 sandtraps peppered throughout the layout provide a soft landing spot for long-jump competitions in between shots.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,553 yards from the tips * Course rating of 71.5 from the tips * Slope rating of 130 from the tips * Three tee options
Spread across Eagle Vista RV Park, Whistle Punk Hollow Adventure Golf looks like it hopped right out of a cartoon. With a spectacular backdrop of mountains in the distance, players putt across the multi-level course surrounded by cartoonish characters, vehicles, and lively music. They bend shots around curves, and at one hole, have to guide shots beneath a fake logging truck and the mechanic who periodically changes its fake oil.
At Giggle Ridge Adventure Golf, visitors wend their way through a course set in a fictional abandoned lumber mill called Giggle Ridge Logging Company. Wooden barrels pepper the terrain, along with logging equipment and tree trunks that one can imagine were felled during overly raucous squirrel house parties. The course—devised in collaboration with Cultus Lake Water Park—sponsors the Love Global Foundation Mini Golf Tournament, a contest whose proceeds benefit missionaries in more than 48 countries. That kind of charitable giving is, all puns aside, par for the course for the people behind the Love Global Foundation. Inspired by those who dedicate their lives to spreading the Gospel abroad, they now dedicate their days to funding missionaries in far-flung locales while simultaneously giving them an outlet to share their stories with family and friends back home.