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.
After a trek down the Panama Canal, visitors stop for a brief sojourn under the Matterhorn before journeying on to the Eiffel Tower. This trip around the world comes courtesy of All Fun Recreation Park's miniature-golf course, whose 18 globally themed greens are littered with water traps and austerely dressed customs officials. Elsewhere, eight cages hurtle baseballs and softballs toward batters at 40–75 mph, and drivers accelerate across a 1,400-foot go-kart track's over and under bridge or hug the turns of a smaller oval track designed for parents and youngsters.
For more racing action, patrons can head over to Western Speedway each Saturday night in May–September for stock-car competitions on an oval track or drag strip. Westshore Motocross rents entry-level dirt bikes to riding and racing novices, and 75 RV and tenting sites give guests opportunities to yodel freely in nature. Guests can then practice licking techniques on the flower-filled patio at Mr. Tubbs Ice Cream Parlour and Family Fun Zone, or explore the Swap & Shop each Sunday, where vendors dispense copious household goods and collectibles.
Situated on 190 lush acres along Thetis Lake, the Pacific Nine and Highland Nine courses encourage golfers to tackle them while drinking in views of the Olympic Mountains, Thetis Lake Park, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Cybergolf calls the Pacific Nine “truly sublime,” and Canadian Golfer—which lauds the course as being on “the must-play list”—marvels at the tricky contours of its par-4 fifth hole. Although more compact than its sister, the Highland Nine is challenging on its own terms, with uphill approaches that end in fast greens, as well as a number of downhill par 3s. Making matters better, the course features GPS-equipped golf carts, PGA instruction, food and drink at the Range Cafe, and a 300-yard-deep driving range that boasts heated stalls.
Course at a Glance:
Slow play is a menace at a great many golf courses around the world. At Holmes Harbor Golf Course, it might be welcome. The 18-hole layout checks in at a featherweight 4,279 yards for a par of 64, meaning most full rounds can be played in just over three hours. For some, that's precious little time spent soaking in the panoramic views of Puget Sound, watching golf balls float against the backdrop of the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, and building trust with the course gophers. For beginners and novices, however, the course is an opportunity to enjoy golf in a picturesque setting without the usual punishment inflicted by more difficult courses. Though most of the holes are short––No. 18 is the lone par 5––they aren't without drama: the par 3 eighth hole, for example, features a 100-foot drop in elevation from tee to green.