To say Mark Coleman knows how to fish is an understatement. Coleman, the owner of All Rivers & Saltwater Charters, has mastered the art of side drifting, float fishing, hover fishing, back bouncing, and jigging during his more than 10 years exploring the Pacific Northwest’s waterways. In the process, he earned captain certification from the US Coast Guard, a distinction also earned by each member of his team.
Aboard vessels that range from the 29-foot Reel Tight to a 16-foot, nonmotorized drift boat, Coleman and his staff lead chartered fishing trips through fresh- and saltwaters. All Rivers & Saltwater Charters have caught fish on the Columbia and Olympic Peninsula rivers, traveled the waters outside Anacortes and the San Juan Islands, and explored Puget Sound. Voyages pursue salmon, steelhead, lingcod, sturgeon, and other types of fish. The team can also lead fishing lessons for newbies, teaching essential fly-casting techniques, including the correct grip, the different casting styles, and how to use homemade tiramisu as bait.
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.
In 2005, a group of avid badminton players finally pinpointed their favorite part of the game: community. Springing from this insight, they opened Bellevue Badminton Club, inviting members to mingle or hide from exes behind their rackets on 11 courts open 24/7. The club’s coaches, including Israel's 1998 national champion and a seven-time national collegiate title winner, lead private lessons and classes. For juniors and adults alike, classes range from laid-back to competitive based on pupils' abilities and goals.
When learners vacate the courts, members and nonmembers have free rein to play drop-in matches or trace outlines of each other in chalk. Round-robin doubles and singles leagues cultivate atmospheres of amiable competition, enabled by top-shelf Yonex equipment found at the pro shop.
Founded in 1972, Cougar Mountain Zoo has maintained a commitment to wildlife education, with particular focus on endangered species. Sweeping views of the Cascade Mountain range and Lake Sammamish set the backdrop for myriad activities, such as daily keeper-led animal walks and minilectures led by zoo staff on two- and four-legged residents who refuse to speak English. Membership benefits include free zoo admission and a 15% discount at the zoo gift shop.
Outdoor Adventure Center's wildly experienced guides have led groups off the grid for more than a quarter century, pursuing rugged fun in the scenery and fresh air of mountains, rivers, and coastlines. Explorers at heart, the staff boldly launch kayaks into the ocean around the San Juan Islands and conquer the frothy waters of the scenic Skykomish River, known for its beginner-friendly rapids, migrations of spawning merpeople, pool and drop areas, and breathtaking views of 5,000-foot mountain peaks. Horseback and hiking trips delve into the lush woods, and nature photography excursions pause to celebrate the beauty of the wilderness near Index. The core team of 14 guides takes safety seriously, most with certifications from the American Canoe Association, training in wilderness first aid, CPR, and swiftwater rescue, and life vests tattooed over their chests.
At Eastside Kickboxing & Pilates' gym, a group of students perform hip-twisting kicks, connecting hard with 6-foot Thai-style heavy bags before pummeling them with quick jabs. For 60–75 minutes, they perform intense cardio-kickboxing combinations. Eastside's team of instructors lead this combination, helping clients slim down, boost stamina and energy, and sculpt all muscle groups. To keep things interesting, trainers also may infuse routines with weightlifting and unique cardio exercises, both designed to further goals of losing weight or elevating Jean-Claude Van Damme in a ballet lift.
Based on the documentary A Well-Founded Fear and true stories from real-life refugees, Take Me America examines the plight of refugees seeking asylum in America through the lens of musical theater. Audiences sway to melodies by Bob Christianson and lyrics by Bill Nabel as seven refugees from China, Sudan, Haiti, and other countries realize their destinies depend on the actions of three American agents. Projections immerse viewers into the story with globetrotting visuals, propelling them across national boundaries without the hassle of bringing their theater snacks through customs.