The crescendo and decrescendo of buzzing 200cc Subaru Robin engines swing through the interior of Grand Prix Raceway like a pendulum. The noise loudens as the Italian go-karts dart past the checkered starting line, then softens as they speed away at up to 35 miles per hour. Audible during races, parties, and leagues, the karts weave through a winding quarter-mile European-style racetrack that has a banked corner, an AMB computerized scoring and timing system, and enough width to drift through corners without bumping into cops.
Shrieking giggles and scurrying feet fill Odyssey 1?s colorful confines, where tykes enjoy high-energy adventures in an indoor jungle gym, a space-age laser-tag arena, and a buzzing arcade center. Sock-clad kids aged 10 and younger can bound and climb through the jungle gym, which offers swings, slides, ball pits, and a cushy area designed for toddlers. Players dodge a barrage of futuristic beams in the laser-tag arena, open to guests aged 7 and older. Popular games including Guitar Hero and Connect Four await at the game center, where players can harvest tickets redeemable for fun prizes.
The buzz of motors rises and falls as bright-red blurs zip around the track at PGP Motorsports Park. Here, in the shadow of Mount Rainier, racers ages 15 and older loop around an 8/10-mile track at speeds of up to 48 miles per hour, leaning back in the ergonomic seats of Italian-built Birel N35 karts. The 30-foot-wide asphalt track can be altered to take on 12 different configurations and is centered in a velodrome, which puts spectators at an elevated angle so they get a good line of sight no matter where they sit.
For safety reasons, drivers should wear long sleeves and pants and closed-toe shoes. Drivers are equipped with helmets and driving suits, and since races take place rain or shine, they will also be provided with rain gear that includes waterproof gloves and booties.
When the staff at Charlie's Safari claims to have the largest indoor play structure in the area, many will find it hard to argue with them as they look around the 22,000-square-foot jungle-themed facility. Here, kids scamper in, on, and around five levels of brightly-colored mazes and slides, air-filled bouncers, and a two-story laser tag arena. As kids unleash their imaginations, parents escape to their own lodge, secure in the knowledge that their children are being protected by the facility's Code ADAM safety system. Families can refuel at the on-site restaurant, which boasts housemade pizza sauce and corn dog batter. Charlie's Safari also hosts parties to celebrate children turning one year older and one year closer to being able to do their parents' taxes.
In the early 1950s, Prentice Bloedel retired early from leading his family's timber business and devoted all his time to the creation of his gardens. A pioneer in renewable resources and sustainability?Bloedel was the first to use sawdust as a fuel in his mills?he was deeply interested in how people fit into the natural world. Today, the Bloedel Reserve stands as a testament to that interest, a world-renowned public garden with 150 acres of landscapes and natural woodlands for guests to lose themselves in.
Here, visitors build bonds with nature simply by walking around, which is far safer than agreeing to a blind date with an azalea bush. During a stroll across the Reserve, visitors come upon the moss garden and its living carpet, stop for quiet contemplation at the reflection pool, and join a cast of wild critters at the bird refuge. Of all the property's features, though, the Puget Sound view might be most impressive. This panoramic vista to the northeast peers out across the Puget Sound, Jefferson Point, and the Cascade Mountains, giving a glimpse of the nature's grandeur.
Working from the founder's family recipe, Seattle Fudge's confectioners begin each batch by boiling ingredients—including chocolate, dairy cream, and nuts—in a copper kettle. After cooling the fudge on a marble table—a process that often sends the confection flying through the air—they form 25-pound loaves by hand. The whole process is on display at Seattle Fudge's red-and-white open kitchen, where onlookers can track every ingredient's journey from the kettle to trays of free samples. The store's 11 flavors include almond toffee crunch, chocolate amaretto, and minty, Oreo-specked vanilla fudge called Grasshopper, named in honor of the insect with an Oreo-only diet.
Along with the signature treat, Seattle Fudge's candy makers whip up saltwater taffy, showcasing old-fashioned taffy pullers and cutters. Available in blue raspberry and pink vanilla, cotton candy is also spun fresh onsite. Tubs of regular and caramel popcorn offer salty alternatives to sweet snacks. In addition to Seattle Center, where the fudge shop has been a fixture since 1981, Seattle Fudge's sweets are sold at local fairs and festivals throughout the year.