Every so often, a pint-sized train chugs past, wending its way through lush foliage and myriad attractions. This type of whimsical ride is typical of an amusement park, but the surrounding greenery suggests a different locale. The train is driving through a one-stop shop and tourist destination known as Art Knapp Plantland, a 5-acre nursery, garden-supply store, kid-friendly playland, model-train oasis, and much more.
Art Knapp Plantland's inventory runs the gamut of plant supplies, from actual plants—such as flowers, trees, and the exotic pink blueberry featured in the video tour—to the fertilizers and landscaping equipment integral to kempt yards and vigilante park maintenance. While touring the grounds, patrons can also find an eclectic array of non-gardening items, from jewellery and golf shoes to hot-tub equipment.
The smorgasbord shopping center also hosts family friendly activities including a train ride, a mini-golf course, and a model-train exhibit.
Parking and admission is free at Castle Fun Park, allowing guests to customize their experience by only paying for the attractions and games they choose. Every day from 10 a.m. until midnight, kids and adults of all ages explore activities including mini golf with a view of the mountains. The go kart track, bumper-car arena, and remote-controlled boat pond sate needs for speed, and the shooting gallery and softball and baseball cages let athletes flex their skills. More than 200 games buzz in the arcade, including air hockey and pinball, which strengthens hand-eye coordination and improves players' ability to follow the bouncing ball during sing-along TV jingles.
At Giggle Ridge Adventure Golf, visitors wend their way through a course set in a fictional abandoned lumber mill called Giggle Ridge Logging Company. Wooden barrels pepper the terrain, along with logging equipment and tree trunks that one can imagine were felled during overly raucous squirrel house parties. The course—devised in collaboration with Cultus Lake Water Park—sponsors the Love Global Foundation Mini Golf Tournament, a contest whose proceeds benefit missionaries in more than 48 countries. That kind of charitable giving is, all puns aside, par for the course for the people behind the Love Global Foundation. Inspired by those who dedicate their lives to spreading the Gospel abroad, they now dedicate their days to funding missionaries in far-flung locales while simultaneously giving them an outlet to share their stories with family and friends back home.
Praised by CityVoters as the best course in western Washington, Avalon Golf Links lays out three nines that offer eye-pleasing glimpses of the Skagit Valley below. Though each nine conceals its own unique set of obstacles, every 1 of the 27 holes place golfers amid a picturesque sweep of Northwestern flora, challenging them to bend shots around towering evergreens and send drives screaming against the backdrop of the Olympic and Cascade ranges. The North Nine bookends the toughest stretch on the course in holes four through seven, a rigorous test requiring approaches as steady as the hand of a neurosurgeon playing Operation. Though short in comparison, the West Nine is notable for its tight fairways and frequent East-to-West orientation, yielding panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains. The South Nine punishes poor approaches with challenging greens, where balls frequently run away from their owners when struck too firmly or distracted by a particularly attractive goose egg.
After testing mind and body over 18 holes, Avalon's Sweet Bite Cafe stands at the ready to refuel tuckered-out golfers with breakfast served starting at 7:30 a.m. on weekends and sandwiches served starting at 11 a.m.
Course at a Glance:
Three nine-hole, par 36 courses
Total length up to 6,803 yards from the back tees
Course rating up to 72.3 from the back tees
Course slope up to 126 from the back tees
Four sets of tees
Designed by Robert Muir Graves
Planet Jupiter bridges the divide between fun and competition with several activities for groups and individuals. Inside of the nearly 4,000-square-foot laser-tag arena teams will don armor and join forces in an attempt to successfully target and deactivate their opponents’ headquarters during 15-minute battles ($8/game). After emerging victoriously from the futuristic frontlines, guests can commandeer one of Planet Jupiter’s electric go-karts ($8/5-minute race) for a fume-free pedal-pushing competition. The karts achieve speeds of up to 42 mph and for the safety of inexperienced drivers, can be controlled by the central operator. These 15-horsepower karts emit less noise than standard karts, which allows drivers to audibly compliment each other on grandmotheresque driving skills. Planet Jupiter will provide drivers with necessary safety gear, including helmets and neck braces.
After a trek down the Panama Canal, visitors stop for a brief sojourn under the Matterhorn before journeying on to the Eiffel Tower. This trip around the world comes courtesy of All Fun Recreation Park's miniature-golf course, whose 18 globally themed greens are littered with water traps and austerely dressed customs officials. Elsewhere, eight cages hurtle baseballs and softballs toward batters at 40–75 mph, and drivers accelerate across a 1,400-foot go-kart track's over and under bridge or hug the turns of a smaller oval track designed for parents and youngsters.
For more racing action, patrons can head over to Western Speedway each Saturday night in May–September for stock-car competitions on an oval track or drag strip. Westshore Motocross rents entry-level dirt bikes to riding and racing novices, and 75 RV and tenting sites give guests opportunities to yodel freely in nature. Guests can then practice licking techniques on the flower-filled patio at Mr. Tubbs Ice Cream Parlour and Family Fun Zone, or explore the Swap & Shop each Sunday, where vendors dispense copious household goods and collectibles.