With hands gripped to the wheels of karts capable of cresting 45 miles per hour, up to 12 racers hum around the hairpin turns and straightaways of K1 Speed's indoor track during adrenaline-spiking sprints toward the podium. This brand of excitement can be found at all 20+ locations, where racers eschew the fumes and inflammatory skywriting of gas kart exhaust for European, eco-friendly electric karts designed to instantly accelerate out of curves, which are bordered by safety barriers that absorb impacts.
Canadian pop-rock troupers the Barenaked Ladies play ringmasters to a freewheeling circus of brainy pop, brawny blues, and carefree jams as the Last Summer on Earth tour lights up arenas and amphitheaters across the continent. On stage, they maintain their 20-year reputation as an engaging live act with tight but playful musicianship and gregarious repartee with their adoring audiences. Their hook-laced lyrical patter, bookworm wit, and mastery of the tone sequences that activate the brain's CD-buying centers steered '90s hits such as “One Week” and “If I Had a Million Dollars” into perpetual ubiquity.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills.
The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.:m]]
Great Play of Redmond taps into something that every kid has plenty of—imagination. The colorful gym and play place has even earned praise from the Huffington Post as "a fun way to teach kids motor skills." In addition to teaching programs, the complex's 3,000-square-foot arena combines training programs and interactive games shining from projectors to stimulate creativity, motor skills, and social skills in a non-competitive setting. Kids can work their pitching arms by chucking balls at virtual batters or keep their exercise in the real world with hula hoops, blocks, and mats that help little ones slowly accept their powerlessness to gravity.
The Crossroads Par-3 Golf Course does away with common game hardships such as long holes, narrow fairways, and overabundant hazards so that beginners and young players can have a fair shot at picking up the sport. The course's nine holes range from 63 yards to 107 yards in length, short enough that novices won't get discouraged but long enough that more skilled players can still work on their short games. No tee times are required to play, and entire nine-hole rounds typically take less than an hour to finish provided golf balls aren't painted in camouflage.
The sound specialists at Bellevue American Music help outfit local bands and aspiring rock stars with musical equipment from brands such as Fender, Korg, Yamaha, Roland, and Bogner in the bright, open showroom. Learning to play the intro song to
Hogan's Heroes from sheet music is much easier with an On Stage XCG4 guitar stand ($13.49) and artillery of D'Addario EXL120 strings ($5.99). Hone vocal skills outside of showers with an On Stage mic stand ($29.99), or squelch creative differences with the raucous roar of the Peavey Vypyr 15 amp ($99.99). Those eager to accessorize the recent growth of their folk-indie beard may nab a Lee Oskar harmonica ($38.99) and settle into their tax accountant's stoop for an impromptu show.