Incorporated in 1907 to oversee the city's fledgling parks, today the Metro Parks Tacoma organization enriches the lives of residents and visitors with its array of recreational facilities that includes community centers, dog parks, pools, and athletic fields. At Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, visitors step back in time to interact with Washington's denizens of yore, hearkening back to the day when trappers fetched a pretty penny for the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics' jerseys. For nearly a century, golfers have flocked to Meadow Park Golf Course's 27 holes to shoot for par or practice their drives, and the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium touts a rich Asian forest sanctuary home to real Sumatran tigers.
Though it only takes six minutes, a walk through Hell's Gateway Haunted House can feel like a terrifying eternity. A new scare waits behind every door, in every pitch-black corner, and down every narrow hallway. The experience is like stepping right onto the set of a horror film, only without the prima-donna werewolf and his incessant demands for imported chocolates.
A central computer controls all the sounds, mechanical props, and special effects, but the scariest inhabitants are the human performers. These actors take on the roles of demons, crazed children, and other terrifying personas searching for new recruits; attendees can spend some time in the Zombie Jail and pose for a picture in the electric chair.
Because Master Dokun Park holds certification through the Kukkiwon—the governing body of tae kwon do—each black belt he presents to his students is recognized throughout the tae kwon do world. This means students looking to compete can parlay the poise, confidence, and combat techniques gained in class to official tournaments. Students who don't plan on competing still enjoy the age-appropriate classes' emphasis on discipline and positivity, skills they leverage to overcome fear and life's obstacles.
The Dive & Adventure Travel Expo 2013 will connect scuba and snorkel enthusiasts with some of the industry's top experts, brands, and innovations. More than 50 seminars scheduled throughout the weekend will showcase the diving deftness of speakers from across the country, enabling attendees to net information on such topics as underwater photography and safety. ReefID founder and editor John Fifer will host two of these gatherings, sharing ways his online database of diver-captured photos is helping raise awareness for marine life. Fifer will also play host to the expo's signature Saturday Night Film Festival event at 7 p.m. alongside 3D photographer Mark Blum and other presenters.
In addition to engaging activities, the Dive & Adventure Travel Expo 2013 is also home to the best in dive-related gear and information. Approximately 140 exhibit booths connect attendees with purveyors of international adventure from global hotspots including Palau, Yap, the Virgin Islands, and Fiji. In addition to resort representatives, booths also house all of the equipment needed for undersea excursions, with new products ranging from snorkel and scuba innovations to travel accessories and luggage. During face-to-face conversations, dive skills clinics, or snorkel sword fights, expo-goers can get travel tips or plan dive vacations around the globe. While parents research, younger visitors can decamp to a youth section filled with interactive attractions designed for youngsters aged 8–12.
Attendees who come for the education should probably stick for the prizes; the expo plans to give away over $50,000 in door prizes, including a massive grand prize: a full set of dive gear including a drysuit, Weezle undergarments, ScubaPro G260 regulator, Aqua Lung BCD, a TUSA mask, fin, and snorkel set, an Oceanic dive computer, and trips including weeklong Philippine dive adventure from the Marco Vincent Resort.
The woods are full of hazards, from prickly bushes to wild animals. But all’s safe in the Woods at the Children's Museum of Tacoma, where a log pile leads to a play area where kids can build forts and send supplies to and fro with pulleys. The Woods is one of the museum’s five playscapes, which encourage children and their adult guardians to learn through self-directed play.
Youngsters can unleash their inner architects with blocks and tubes at the Invention station, and paint, clay, and other artistic tools at Becka’s Studio allow kids to tap into their creative sides. Aboard the Voyager, children can pretend to fly to the moon or parallel-park between two asteroids. Back on earth, the interactive Water playspace presents a world of tranquil waterfalls and streams.
Afterward, there’s more to explore through the museum’s programs. They range from summer camps to Play to Learn, where kids 6 and younger take part in group activities, sing-alongs, and group circle time.
Fife Jiu-Jitsu & Wrestling Club offers training in a variety of martial-arts and combat techniques for adults and youths. With one month of unlimited classes, you'll sculpt your body into a lean, mean fighting machine without the use of canned spinach or celebrity-endorsed muscle griddles. Choose from Brazilian jiu-jitsu, submission wrestling, and kickboxing and mixed martial arts taught by expert instructors, such as fourth-degree black belt Marcelo Alonso and gladiator-challenge vet Joey "The Coyote" Guel, in a clean, state-of-the-art facility. A variety of class types and times and a convenient online calendar accommodate students already committed to demanding roles on the volunteer synchronized-swim and Revolutionary-reenactment squad.