Skate to your heart’s content. Wear an Ugly Sweater to get $1 off admission. Watch the Thunderbirds Hockey Team take the ice. Enjoy live music. Choose your Christmas tree. Shop for gifts. Do it all in one central location.
This holiday season Tacoma residents won’t have to trek to Bellevue or Seattle to experience an open-air outdoor ice skating rink with all the trimmings. Tacoma will have their own. The Franciscan Polar Plaza, which will be located directly across from the Tacoma Art Museum at Tollefson Plaza on Pacific Avenue, will be open from November 25 through January 2, 2012.
The skating rink will measure 40 feet by 100 feet and can accommodate 150 people. Admission will be $8 and skate rental will be $2. After paying these fees you can stay all day if you like and enjoy the music, special events, and purchase coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
I am really looking forward to this although I don’t ice skate, but I do love to watch skaters. To get there and avoid the parking crunch, I think I’ll park at the Tacoma Dome Station and take the Tacoma Link light rail to the Polar Plaza. That’s all free so I can spend more when I get to my destination.
Thomas Stanley, COO of Cox & Kings laid out his top predictions for the kinds of travel people want to take in Luxury Travel Magazine recently. Lo and behold, I discovered that every one of his trends can easily be experienced right here in Washington.
Travelers will be taking Multi-destination Vacations to basically get more bang for their buck or their time off. Since we have almost every kind of terrain from mountains to forests to desserts to the Pacific Ocean and you can easily drive from one to another in less than a day, this is ideal. One way to do this would be to start in Seattle (www.visitseattle.org) for city activities, drive to Mt. Rainier (www.visitrainier.com) and stay overnight and then go to Tri-Cities in eastern Washington (www.visittri-cities.com) to experience wine country.
Group Tours will increase in popularity. I can easily recommend the eco-friendly Evergreen Escapes tours (www.evergreenescapes.com). This winter you can choose from the Woodinville Wine Trail, Olympic National Park, Mt. Rainier and more. Or tour Seattle by land and water with Ride the Ducks of Seattle (www.ridetheducksofseattle.com), a laugh-a-minute tour.
Then there’s Contemporary Cultural Travel. We’ve got this one more than covered with the Seattle Art Museum (www.seattleartmuseum.org), the free Frye Art Museum (fryemuseum.org) in Seattle, Tacoma’s Art Museum (www.tacomaartmuseum.org) and Museum of Glass (www.museumofglass.org); and if you’re on the far side of the mountains take a gander at the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture (www.northwestmuseum.org) in Spokane.
Resurgence of Tour Guides and Travel Agents. I don’t know any tour guides personally, but what about checking out some of the tours offering guidance via a CD at www.washingtonfolkarts.com. There’s Othello to Omak, Leavenworth to Maryhill, the Cascade Loop and several more.
Learning Vacations rank high on the charts. This February you can learn how to make cheese over a three-day period in Lynden (www.wsu.edu/creamery/basicplus.htm). Roadscholar.org (formerly Elderhostel) offers many learning opportunities for seniors including the study of “Seabirds and Shorebirds of Coastal Washington in Port Townsend. We also have the Stonerose Interpretive Center (www.stonerosefossil.org) in Republic where you can dig your own fossils.