Years ago, Olympic Game Farm was a home for actors. The bears, cougars, and big cats who lived on the premises were all movie stars—most often for Disney Studios, which worked with and filmed the farm's animals for 28 years. The farm's founder, Lloyd Beebe, served as the go-to trainer, and his bond with the wildlife was reputedly amazing. During those early years, he even managed to tame five wolverines, who would eat raw egg out of his hands.
Today, Lloyd's grandson Robert runs the farm. For the most part, the animals are no longer film celebrities—although footage of the famous waving bears has gone viral and even appeared in a Carrie Underwood video, and some animal actors from elsewhere still retire to the farm. The majority are descendants of the original film animals, or rescues. Visitors can drive through the park to see zebras, elk, wolves, and lions, then head to the petting farm for an up-close encounter. They can even feed many of the animals—whole-grain bread is an accepted treat.
The folks at Cheers Liquor advise restaurants and retailers on selecting specialty alcoholic beverages using they’re beverage aficionados skills. They also organize events to celebrate their favorite beverages, including seasonal beer festivals such as a tasting of dark, complex winter malts or the hops-rich flavors of IPAs in spring. Each event features live music and appropriately paired snacks that complement the flavors of the beer, much like wearing a tuxedo with a chocolate bow tie.
A tiny ripple glides along the smooth-as-glass water, alerting captain Pete to the fact that he and his passengers are about to have company. Sure enough, within seconds a group of glossy black fins breaks through the sea in a silent, synchronized ballet. A native Washingtonian who has spent his entire life on the water, captain Pete orchestrates San Juan Excursions to grant guests the chance to go head-to-head with nature in moments such as these. As marine naturalists certified by the Whale Museum’s Naturalist Training Program, captain Pete’s crew of passionate guides take to the peaceful waters of the Puget Sound to entertain boatloads of guests with informative facts about area wildlife witnessed during excursions.
The team’s passion for nature informs its low-impact approach to whale and wildlife watching, which is exemplified in the Odyssey, the company's tour boat. Originally a U.S. Navy search-and-rescue vessel forged in 1941, the craft is fueled by biodiesel when possible and maintains a low propeller RPM to minimize the Bono moans it releases into the water column. Though San Juan Excursions specializes in whale watching, it also sends adventurers forth to explore the waters on their own steam during sea-kayak tours.
Founded in 2001 by photographic pair Mike Byrne and Gavin Young, Clock Tower Images initially abetted educational publishers, such as Disney and Discovery Channel, by supplying them with still and moving images. Since then, the ever-expanding business has recruited shutterbug Isobel Springett and fashioned a wealth of new programs geared around the trio's interests. In addition to its portraiture program, Clock Tower Images expertly frames horses —a passion of Isobel's—and a massive array of sporting events, including, in Mike's case, events at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Mike and Isobel instill their image-capturing expertise into students at hands-on workshops and courses in Victoria and Courtenay, where up to eight apprentices at a time learn the ins and outs of landscape, portrait, wildlife and sports photography. For pupils eager to break out of the classroom, Clock Tower Images arranges a number of guided field trips and international photo tours that capture North America's west coast landscapes and wildlife, as well as numerous African locales, and into the dreams of slumbering migratory birds.
Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
A nine-hole, executive course consisting of five par-fours and four par-threes, Royal Oak Golf Club provides tee-to-green fun for clubbers of all stripes with an approachable 1,915-yard layout. The course presents two relatively short par-fours on which long hitters can attempt to reach the green in one with a perfect drive or a well-struck golf ball punt. Those who try to overpower the course must steer clear of its water hazards, which come into play on five holes. To prepare for their round, guests can schedule a lesson with Royal Oaks' CPGA pro Bill Wakeham.
After rounds, Royal Oaks' hilltop clubhouse enchants weary golfers with a lounge equipped with two big-screen HDTVs, dartboards, and free WiFi. The Club's outdoor patio overlooks the first and seventh tees, allowing golfers to enjoy a cold beverage or scold an underperforming nine-iron.