Monthly Archives: February 2011

Family Fun Center Rocks

Outdoor play for kids is kind of limited by our weather in Western Washington. We do have the Wild Waves theme park, but it’s only open during the summer.

Family Fun Center in Tukwila

In the last few years, a Family Fun Center opened in Tukwila, and it looks to be doing a roaring business. At least it was on the when we visited on a school holiday.

There are attractions that appeal to the very young on up to teens. Kidopolis offers four stories of soft play with cushioned “rock” walls, slides, rotating barrels, balls, a horse and a ride with Mr. Potato Head. After going through the gate, the toddler generation eagerly whisks off their socks and gets right down to serious play. My three-year-old granddaughter loved climbing up to the top of the “big” slides and then sitting there until we asked a bigger child to give her a gentle push down.

 

For bigger kids, Laser Tag, Max Flight and Bumper Cars have their appeal. When the outdoor attractions are available, they also have their choice of Go Karts, Sling Shot, Miniature Golf, Bumper Boats, Batting Cages, Traffic School and more. Of course, the wide array of video games inside interest almost any child.

If you or the gang are hungry, there’s a snack bar available plus Bullwinkle’s Restaurant which offers the usual fun center fare like pizza, burgers, salads, fries and my favorite – a “Build-your-own Sundae” for $2.

I spied one mom with older children who was studying in the restaurant. Others sat and watched the tots from the metal benches.

 

Safety regulations seem to be enough to keep the children from getting hurt, but not too much to stifle their play creativity. There are minimum and maximum heights for some of the play areas and rides plus lots of employees milling around.

Everything, except the food, runs on a point system. For example, you buy a 100-point card for $25 and that can be used for Bumper Cars (22 points), Bumper Boats (22 points), Laser X-Treme (28 points) and Miniature Golf (28 points).

For more information, visit www.fun-center.com.

The Tacoma Waterfront Beckons

Tacoma waterfront from Ruston Way

Yesterday we got a break from the grayness and a tiny taste of spring. Boy was it ever yummy – kind of like a big dollop of plain hot fudge or a juicy Dungeness crab leg. We grabbed the chance to take advantage of the sun shining down on us Tacomans and walked the waterfront along Ruston Way. Mother Nature made a mighty beautiful landscape there and others have helped it along with parks, sidewalks, restaurants and a hotel.

The Silver Cloud Inn, the hotel at one end of the popular walk, offers 90 waterfront rooms. Talk about a perfect place for a Staycation. Rooms come with breakfast, high-speed internet and complimentary parking. No more than three miles from most of Tacoma’s attractions, the Inn is definitely centrally located. But you wouldn’t have to leave the waterfront if you didn’t want to.

Silver Cloud Inn

If you’re not able to spend the night on the waterfront, at least eat. Restaurants about along Ruston Way and there’s not a bad one in the bunch. The Lobster Shop, Duke’s, Katy Downs, The Ram, Shenanigan’s and Harbor Lights all serve lunch or dinner or both.

If you’re walking along the waterfront with a dog or two, you’ll fit right in. Joggers, roller bladders and bicyclists also share the path with pedestrians.

The weather didn’t last, but the sunlit waters of yesterday still shine vividly in my memory. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait long for another sunny day and a walk along the shore of Commencement Bay.

C.I. Shenanigans on Ruston Way.

W. W. Seymour Conservatory Saved the Day

In an attempt to recover from the perpetual grayness that seems to have enveloped Western Washington for the past few months, I visited a garden in Tacoma – the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Wright Park in downtown Tacoma to be exact.

It worked. The beautiful, bountiful colors and textures of the flowers blooming in this indoor fantasy served to boost my mood dramatically. Surrounded by the yellows, oranges, apricot shades, pinks and magentas amidst lots of lush greenery, I wanted to stay all day and continue to drink it all in.

 

More than 200 species of exotic tropical plants make their home at the Conservatory, including the bird of paradise, ornamental figs, tropical fruit trees, orchids, ferns and bromeliads. Azaleas, Easter lilies, hydrangeas, begonias, tulips, cyclamen and chrysanthemums make the perfect backdrop for photo opps. or just for personal enjoyment. You, too, can escape into this soothing, fragrant exhibit any day, but Monday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and it’s totally free, although the suggested donation is $5. We do want to keep it going.

The Conservatory and nearby Gazebo can be rented for small weddings or other events.

On the second Sunday of each month, you’ll be treated to live music – so not only will the experience be a treat for your eyes and nose, but also your ears.

 

You may not be alone when you go because the readers of the Tacoma Weekly voted the Conservatory ad the “best place to relax.”

For more information, visit www.metroparkstacoma.org and click on “Parks & Facilities.”

Book Winner and Roundup of Events

Congratulations to Bahiya S. who won a brand new copy of “The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle” by David Volk.

Bahiya – please send your mailing address to my e-mail, writemix@harbornet.com, and I’ll get the book mailed right out.

Thank you for all who entered and stay tuned for another book giveaway soon.

Events in and around Seattle you won’t want to miss:                       

Craving a Pick-Quick burger? You’re in luck, the Fife location at 4306 Pacific Highway East, has reopened after their winter hiatus.        

                        

What goes better with wine than the right food? You guessed it – chocolate. The 2011 Enumclaw Chocolate Festival, with a host of chocolatiers and wineries represented, runs this Friday (February 4) and Saturday (February 5). Visit www.enumclawchocolatefestival.com for the location and times.

Although a bit on the last minute side, you might want to cancel tonight’s plans for this:

The Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador, Mitch Bechard, is holding a preview tasting of the new limited Snow Phoenix tonight at 7:30 at El Gaucho (2505 First Ave., Seattle).

This 15 year-old malt Scotch whiskey will be featured in signature cocktails along with tasty appetizers.