West Seattle Bowl's lanes are a piece of West Seattle history, even if they don't look it at first glance. Strip away the modern scoring system, the updated decor, and 18 of the now 32 lanes, and it's easy to imagine the families of pilgrims bowling at the alley's grand opening in 1948. Since those early days. West Seattle Bowl has benefited the community beyond just giving it a fun place to rack up Xs and /s. The owners regularly host charity-bowling events, which have brought in roughly $100,000 annually during recent years.
West Seattle Bowl is as much about specials as it is about good old-fashioned bowling. Weekenders can take advantage of Saturday mornings' "Breakfast & Bowl," for example, where the onsite Highstrike Grill serves up three complimentary games of bowling with its eggs. Bowlers can also gear up in fluorescents from the pro-shop for a Saturday night in the GlowZone—black-lit bowling set to music. And anyone who manages to roll a perfect 300 earns $50 plus an epic saga of their achievement composed by the bowling alley's on-site skald.
It sounds just like a movie: a former Disney employee and a former mayor team up to run their own theater. That's exactly what Jeff Brein and Sam Granato did in 1988 with Bainbridge Cinemas, where they still spend Friday and Saturday nights tearing tickets and scooping popcorn. Besides Bainbridge Cinemas, their theater collection—Far Away Entertainment —oversees seven other local theaters, including the historic single-screen Lynwood Theatre. Opened in 1936, Bainbridge Island's first talking picture house now specializes in independent features and foreign films in which actors rearrange the English alphabet to make strange new sounds.
Over at the two-screen Admiral Theater, projectionists give newer Hollywood releases a second run, plus host screenings every year for the Seattle International Film Festival. Far Away's five remaining theaters, each with three to five screens, show digital versions of Hollywood's freshest celluloid. Lean back in the Anacortes' reclining seats, or scarf down an all-beef frank at Oak Harbor while taking in a flick or live screening of the Metropolitan Opera.
Customized Tours leads groups on guided expeditions of Seattle's most breathtaking spots. Outdoor adventurers can try the Mount Rainier National Park tour or the winery and waterfall tour, which travels across Lake Washington on the 7,700-foot Evergreen Point floating bridge to the world-renowned Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. City tours explore a variety of coffee shops and tourist attractions across the Queen Anne, Fremont, and Chinatown neighborhoods.
One of the more unique tours is the Boeing Factory tour, which gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at airplane assembly. It also gives them a chance to design their own airplanes using touch-screen computers, or, for traditionalists, old geometry homework.
An octopus gently pushes itself through crystal waters, sea otters twist and flip at the surface as they work through a crab, shore birds perch over pools, and between them all visitors smile in wonder. Seattle Aquarium has attracted millions of guests to its waters with such exhibits since it opened more than 35 years ago. By combining environments for fish, mammal, and avian species, the aquarium captures a slice of the Puget Sound ecosystem, inspiring guests to examine the breadth of life off their shores and how their daily actions impact it. Feedings and daily talks about the animals expand on the wealth of information, whereas touch pools allow many to experience life in the waters in a way they never have before.
In addition to being the ninth largest aquarium in the United States, the Seattle Aquarium is home to biologists who conduct critical research on northern sea otters, the giant Pacific octopus, and other Puget Sound species as part of efforts to contribute to the health of the local marine environment. Focused exhibits work to raise awareness about conservation by imparting an understanding of the threatened orca whale and the sixgill shark—the third-largest predatory shark in the world.
Today's side deal gets you one-day admission to the Seattle Bug Safari on Western Avenue for $4 (an $8 value). Feel your deep-seated phobias for multi-legged exoskeletons evaporate after making the acquaintance of 54 fascinating, exotic insectoid species—from behind the safety of thick glass, of course. Check the site or call ahead before dropping in, as Seattle Bug Safari is closed to the public during Groupon-exempt field trips.
The Children's Museum, Seattle inspires curiosity and creativity in children between 10 months and 10 years with 22,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits that explore science, arts, and cultural education. The museum's collection of permanent exhibits boosts brainpower with feats of engineering, miniature global villages, an aquarium, and a theater, where kids can don costumes and reenact famous monologues from Sponge Bob. The museum heightens the joy of discovery with such activities as summer camps, birthday parties, partnership outreach, and after-hours events.