For the past decade, Brett and Natalie Vinsant have been immortalizing their exhales as elegant, blown-glass artwork. The duo envisioned Live Laugh Love Glass as a shared studio, where glass-blowing professionals and students alike could breathe life into bright glass bowls and vases. Small groups of students join enthusiastic instructors during glass-blowing and fusing classes, in which they learn to manipulate molten glass into various forms, and after which students take home their piece of art to display on mantels, desktops, and climbable highway billboards. The gallery inspires students with a collection of professionally blown vases and bowls whose weightless glass curves reflect the twinkle of natural light. After classes on the glass-blowing workshop area, aesthetes can view works in the gallery. Live Laugh Love Glass also hosts private events and parties in their event space.
The 20,000-square-foot facility showcases hands-on exhibits and simulators devoted to the importance of forests and their role in providing habitat, water, recreation, wood, and a number of other one-word wonders. With the family-plus membership, two adults and all children 18 and younger in the family are free to explore the museum's two floors for a year. The first floor focuses on the Pacific Northwest, entertaining visitors with interactive exhibits such as the Timberjack Harvester Simulator and River Raft Adventure, where visitors can take a simulated trip through class-IV rapids. On the second floor, guests can learn about forest art, history, and culture—hitching a jeep ride in South Africa, touring the Trans-Siberian railway, or swinging through the Amazon rainforest's canopy just like Tarzan did. A number of special exhibits are also available on a rotating basis.
Portland Aquarium, a December 2012 addition to Milwaukie, introduces visitors to thousands of waterborne species. Guests can slide their hands along the smooth flesh of a stingray or the knobby arms of a starfish or engage in staring contests with a blacktip reef shark. Other planned exhibits include a jellyfish exhibit, a cold-water tank filled with fish native to Oregon's coast, and a rainforest-themed jungle gym for children. The tropical touch-tank woos visits with its displays of vibrant-color aquatic life while amphibious wonders, including poison dart frogs, thrill visitors. Those seeking bigger thrills may hoist various pythons species–including a15-foot reticulated or 9-foot albino burmese snake–upon their shoulders or get their picture taken with macaw parrot. Landing-loving iguanas and panter chameleons also lurch around in the mix.
As part of its mission to trumpet the joys of natural living and community-fueled sustainability, Common Circle Education conducts a Sustainability in Motion tour, teaming bicyclists up with a like-minded biker gang of 20–40 riders for a scenic week of riding, eating, camping, and learning. Each tour begins with a guide leading the group through bike safety and mechanical fundamentals before escorting them out onto scenic, low-traffic farm roads. Pedal pushers spend the week eating healthy, organic vegan fare, visiting organic farms, and biking anywhere from two to six hours (20–60 miles) every other day. During nonbiking days, the group absorbs the productive philosophies of permaculture, sustainability, and regenerative design via hands-on activities—providing a productive respite from mind-numbing TV shows such as News, Sport, and Louder News.
Functioning as a multifaceted operation, certainly the one thing The Wine Valet knows better than anything else is wine. Part event space, part tasting room, and part tour guide, The Wine Valet hosts one-of-a-kind events for up to 75 and offers tours with transportation that visit local wineries and vineyards. The staff welcomes patrons to sample varietals from different wineries before traveling to Artisanal Wine Cellars to sniff, sip, and listen to vinos. The Wine Valet is so immersed in the regional wine culture that they offer a free Android app for self-guided tours of more than 200 wineries.
Flamenco, which originated in the Andalusia region of Spain, is a style of music and dance that was born of passion, oppression, and vibrant, flowing garments that were sick of spending so many unworn nights in the closet. Dedicated to the preservation of Flamenco's roots, the skilled, highly trained instructors at Solo Flamenco Arts Academy anchor their lessons in traditional dance techniques, musical accompaniment, and uninhibited expression of emotion. The studio welcomes students of all skill and experience levels, offering a full schedule of classes (regularly valued at $12 per class) that vary in degree of difficulty. Schedule your classes online by creating an account, starting with at least one level-one lesson (required) to ensure that you're all brushed up on the boogie basics.