The family-friendly Wenatchee Valley Renaissance Faire welcomes kings and queens, maidens and knights, jesters and pirates, and everyone in between. The two-day festival includes activities such as designing a shield and carriage rides, as well as archery contests, battle tug, and Whack-a-Knight, which Medieval royalty used to play when moles were in short supply. In-character Renaissance performers will also be on hand to demonstrate period skills such as fighting, blacksmithing, storytelling, and belly-dancing. Even if guests don't show up kitted out in their Renaissance finery, they can get in the spirit at the fair, where merchants will sell clothing, jewelry, weapons, and other accessories.
The North Bend Depot and the Snoqualmie Depot seem to exist outside of time. To the unmistakable tune of a steam whistle, historic locomotives run passengers along the five-mile line between these stations. It's a treat for modern audiences that the Northwest Railway Museum
helps preserve, in addition to the other train-based exhibits and activities it hosts.
Size: Four locations: The 1890 Snoqualmie Depot, the North Bend Depot, the Centennial Trail Exhibit, and the Railway History Center
Eye Catcher: The old locomotives on display outside the Snoqualmie Depot
Permanent Mainstay: Train rides that take visitors back in time, with authentic locomotives and antique passenger cars
Visiting Attraction: Snoqualmie Railroad Days Festival, in which a steam locomotive will pull the train, or Day Out With Thomas, in which kids can ride cars pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine
Hands-On Activity: Purchase train tickets from an original 1890 ticket window located inside the Snoqualmie Depot
Don't Miss: Clothing styles of an earlier era in the station master?s office, hands-on activities and exhibits about hop farming in the Snoqualmie Valley in the freight room, and train car rides to explore the depot
Pro Tip: Pick up a free history scavenger hunt activity for school-age children
Special Programs: Over 3,000 volumes of railroad history are available to researchers in addition to a Conservation and Restoration Center that's open
to the public once a month
Since its founding in 1941, the North Bend Theatre has delighted locals with daily showings of independent films as well as big-name blockbusters. The towering art-deco sign sends a neon beacon out to movie-lovers of all ages, inviting visitors to take in family-friendly cartoons, edge-of-the-seat action movies, and artsy film fests, shown on high-tech projection gear and DTS sound systems. Ticketholders feast on traditional snacks of soda and popcorn, or sip freshly brewed lattes from the concession areas.
Thunder Rail Stables’ trainer Jaime Buckner frequently leads her horses to show championships, and she guides riding students with similar care during lessons in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Her facility also hosts a spacious indoor arena, which provides a safe and supportive atmosphere for students to practice riding techniques and equine care without having to worry about horses running off after a wild pegasus. Lessons can be tailored to a variety of riding disciplines, such as saddle seat, English, Western, and dressage. Buckner’s full stable hosts specially trained horses, so riders do not need to lug around their own ponies in their backpacks. In addition to teaching lessons with provided horses, Buckner also specializes in helping owners reconnect with their own hoofed companions and breaking problems in stubborn stallions and miniature ponies.
Passionate equestrians Beth and Kristopher Siemon foster a family-friendly atmosphere at Hillside Stables, where they specialize in starting young horses and teaching humans of all ages how to ride with grace and poise. Inside their recently renovated barn, riders learn the disciplines of horse management, reining, and dressage. They also learn the skills necessary for three-day eventing, a competition composed of three events on three different days?dressage, show jumping, and mane-and-tail decorating. The instructors customize all lesson plans to the needs of the rider, taking into account not only their goals, but also their capabilities and physical limitations.
As strange as it may sound, at Cougar Mountain Zoo, you just might be greeted by a big cat purring. Cougars are among the largest cats capable of true purring, and Cougar Mountain Zoo boasts a distinct subspecies of these overgrown felines, which prowl all over the zoo's award-winning World of Cougars exhibit.
Next to the mountain lions dwell their distant cousins, Bengal tigers, who sprawl out on the green grass or press their noses up to a thick wall of glass separating visitors from the wild animals. Other residents of the zoo include a barrel of endangered lemurs from Madagascar, a crowd of fluffy alpacas, and the country's largest herd of reindeer, who star in the annual Reindeer Festival and deliver presents to all the other animals.
The zoo also boasts a collection of bronze animal statues, a library of wildlife tracks, and a museum that explores not only the world of wildlife, but also the threats they face from human incursion.