At Redwood Golf Center, club-swinging cadets send range balls flying from personal mats housed within their cozy, covered stalls. After first selecting a bucket size – large buckets contain 85 balls while small buckets have 34 – golfers then set to practicing their 2-iron stingers, wedge game accuracy, and triple pump-fake drives off the tee. Frequent visitors can also take advantage of the per-bucket discounts found within the center’s punch cards, which are redeemable for 9, 25, or 50 buckets over the course of a year.
The son of a Navy officer, Mike Ainsworth spent much of his childhood island-hopping across the South Pacific. Regardless of the shore on which he landed, the budding fisherman celebrated the opportunity to test its surrounding waters for fish. Now, Ainsworth shares his passion and expertise for fishing on his guided trips. He tailors expeditions for beginners—teaching tricky maneuvers such as fly-casting and testing fish’s ability to grant wishes—and whisking groups to the best fishing spots in Washington State in his stable Hyde Professional Series drift boats.
Over the years, Ainsworth has helped tykes reel in fish that matched their height and watched amazed as a 78-year-old guest singlehandedly reeled in a 4-foot-long king salmon. Despite his own quest to mark off elusive prey from his personal fishing list, Ainsworth maintains that his favorite part of his fishing expeditions is the look on guests' faces when they reel in their very first catches, a moment he often captures on film.
Baseball players can't skimp on their hitting, pitching, and catching skills if they want to dominate the game—a fact that the instructors at Northshore Sports Complex know well. In 1982, Cody Webster earned the title of MVP while playing for the Kirkland Nationals All-Star Team—the first US team to win the Little League World Series. He continued to play throughout high school and college, and went on to coach for Pepsi Baseball. His cohort, Craig Bishop draws on 20 years of coaching experience at high schools and colleges. Together, the duo shares the task of teaching students the fundamentals of the game inside batting and pitching cages.
Surrounded by a chain-link fence and divided by safety nets, their astro-turfed cages shelter machines that launch baseballs and softballs straight down the plate. These projectiles can reach speeds up to 85mph, which would be really scary if the baseballs weren't tranquilized beforehand. Sans the machines, pairs can take to the cages to hone their pitching and catching abilities.
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.
Billed as the Ultimate Trisport Event, TruAthlete is a competition in which coed teams of 6-10 players each battle each other tournament-style in each of three sports: flag football, volleyball, and soccer. For each game, six team members will take the field at a time; two women must be in play at all times, and teams can have up to four substitutes on the bench. There are two levels of registration: Division I, which is for serious athletes looking to win a cash prize, or Division II, a casual, sponsored-prize bracket for groups interested in socializing and finally figuring out how their feet work.
Because the event takes place at Starfire Sports Complex, a 54-acre facility with a 4,000-seat stadium, TruAthlete is making the competition as eventful for spectators as for the athletes. As matches take place on the grounds’ fields, there will be live entertainment inside the stadium (including MTV-featured artist DeLon), as well as local food trucks and vendors.
"The Reptile Man" Scott Petersen melds his passions for both education and reptiles at his zoo, which he calls the Serpentarium, where kids can touch or hold most of the inhabitants. Inside, snakes, lizards, gators, and turtles slowly slither or amble around their enclosures, visible to curious eyes. Ten of the deadliest snakes in the world—such as the king cobra and the horned viper—live on site, all de-venomized with only their angry glares and angsty poetry left as weapons. The zoo is also home to invertebrates, including some of the planet's biggest spiders, centipedes, and cockroaches. An onsite party room hosts birthday bashes with a focus on education and absolutely no snakes hiding in the cake.