As an Outward Bound instructor, Will Parks has taught mountaineering and rock climbing to tough, brawny sorts. But he?s found that it?s not physical agility, but mindset, that empowers people to triumph over difficult situations. Will strives to impart that lesson via Adventure Dynamics?s courses. Though it?s exhilarating to race down the 400-foot zipline overlooking the Spokane River and skitter across a five-story balance beam, the challenges are all, ultimately, a means to an end.
While Adventure Dynamics is faith-based organization guided by Christian principles, Will Parks has welcomed a variety of groups and has watched as people learn to communicate in high-stress situations, be it while in the middle of the ropes course or while grappling with the reality of Morgan Freeman?s mortality. ?One day of work here is equal to one month in the office,? says Will, pointing to the intensity of interactions that take place and the bonds that form thereafter. ?People don?t remember what they learn by lecture or presentation. They remember what they do." His activities, he adds, are ideal for Life Groups and Church Groups.
Sprawling across 100 acres in the verdant, picturesque Spokane Falls, Riverfront Park beckons with awe-inspiring visual and auditory wonders. The newly constructed SkyRide invites visitors to survey the land from above, swooping across the Spokane River and past city hall, where they can wave to their favorite comptroller. Back on the ground, the historic Looff Carousel, built in 1909, whirls riders around on 54 horses, two Chinese-dragon chairs, one giraffe, and one tiger, and a tour train chugs through the park on a 30-minute narrated jaunt. Among other attractions, such as the Sculpture Walk and pony rides, Riverfront Park houses an enormous IMAX theater with one of the largest indoor screens in the Pacific Northwest. Standing 53 feet high and stretching 69 feet wide, the screen is slightly taller than the average human and displays crystal-clear two-dimensional images, which are complemented by the sounds of a booming, wraparound surround-sound system.
Blanketed in wall-to-wall trampolines, Sky High Sports delights barefoot fun-seekers with springy terrain and an exclusive court for jumpers 8 and younger. Guests can hone front flips, back flips, and belly flops during intense free-bounce sessions. Each trampoline comes equipped with a specially designed spring-loaded frame and thick, 2-inch safety pads that grant patrons a landing cushier than a corner office at a marshmallow factory. Stuffed with blocks of spongy, body-molding material, a foam pit dares treasure-seekers to fling themselves in or scour its depths for the lost contents of bygone pockets. Pintsize aerialist posses can safely practice their synchronized Salchows on 360 degrees of trampoline walls while court supervisors watch from the sidelines and award hard-earned praise with oversize scorecards.
Sky High also offers AIRobics fitness classes and monthly dodge-ball tournaments to help jumpers explore the outermost stratospheres of trampoline possibilities.
Thirty years ago, the Mielke family shifted its trade from cherry packing to growing, harvesting, and aging the grapes at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, which has won CityVoter's award for Best Winery for the last three years. The winery encompasses a warm-toned tasting room downtown as well as a 1924 Florentine-style estate perched on a cliff overlooking the Spokane River. The estate, registered as a National Historic Landmark, is home to a stone gazebo, 4 acres of gardens, and a gigantic checkers board for trees bored with feigning stillness. At each tasting room, knowledgeable oenophiles introduce palates to more than 15 handcrafted vintages to taste and take home. In addition to fermenting wines from its own grapes, the Mielke family sources grapes from mature vineyards around Washington.
What was once the boiler room at the historical Montvale Hotel has turned into the Catacombs Pub, a European-style pub situated inside the building's cellar. The hotel, which is listed on the Spokane and National Registers of Historic Places, has served as everything from a hardware store to a bordello.
Today in this underground pub, a brick oven fires up made-from-scratch pizzas in the spot where coal was once shoved into the boiler. The original coal chute has been transformed into a cave-like seating area where servers deliver irish stew, bratwursts, European beers, and specialty cocktails. The pub's brick hearth and exposed stone walls, modeled after German and Viennese pubs, contribute to the its Old-World feel, along with 2,800-pound solid oak beams, which weigh as much as King Midas's cell phone.
Anytime Fitness accommodates night crawlers and day denizens with 24-hour access to endless rows of equipment, group fitness classes, and personalized training. Custom regimens rounded out by nutritional advice from a certified trainer make each client feel special, like a diamond the size—and shape—of a horse. Group fitness classes, alternatively, promote camaraderie and help participants stave off boredom by presenting a mixed array of drills. The gym's rows of TV-equipped treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary cycles with stair climbers help prepare legs for marathons and broken escalators. Weight machines, dumbbells, and kettlebells enable gym-goers to crank up muscle mass, and an unwinding experience in a high-powered tanning bed sends clients off with a sense of relaxation.