photo: Kalaloch Lodge
If you find yourself strolling along Olympia’s downtown waterfront with kids, do them a favor and stop at the Hands On Children’s Museum. This museum lets kids explore eight interactive exhibits, each inspired by the Pacific Northwest. Besides indoor fun, the museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center has a half acre of activities, including learning at the Puget Sound Beach Replica, building a fort in the Driftwood Fort Construction Area or even just playing in the sand in their Sand Dig Area.
The inside exhibits combine art, science and nature in the Ballcano Water Vortex, Cargo Ship Crawl Through, Wind Tunnel, Tides-to-Trees Climber, 25- foot-tall AirWays Maze and the Scream Room. Through January and February, the museum will host special winterthemed activities for kids, such as snowball catapults, tin embossing and origami snowflakes.
The building itself is quite spectacular and is the first children’s museum in the western hemisphere to be Green Globes and LEED certified. Recently the museum was awarded $65,000 from the Association of Children’s Museums and The Trustees’ Philanthropy Fund of Fidelity Charitable and selected to be one of three in the United States to be a
“Going Wild!” pilot site.
On February 23, The Seattle Wine and Food Experience unleashes chefs from some of the Seattle area’s top restaurants to fire up their grills and ovens for gastronomes eager to taste what they’re cooking up next. Artisan food producers will be on hand dishing out bites of their winning products. Dozens of wineries, breweries, distilleries and roasters will be pouring tastes for their guests.
Product producers pair up with chefs so you learn not only about using an ingredient but also where it comes from and how it’s produced. Besides star chefs, Northwest media celebrities in the wine and food world, such as Northwest wine expert (and contributor to this publication) Cole Danehower of EssentialNorthwestWines.com, will be leading wine tastings and much more.
Sound like a culinary carnival? It is exactly that, and more. Since its launch in 2009, The Seattle Wine and Food Experience has been recognized as one of the Northwest’s premier food and beverage events. Guests response is that it just keeps getting better every year. And that’s no surprise in one of the world’s great food cities.
Learn how to explore the Pacific Northwest to its fullest with the help of the Outdoor Adventure Expo in Seattle, Washington, February 28 to March 2. The expo expresses a dream of Tim O’Brien, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest and knows the adventures it holds. The expo offers a little of everything when it comes to outdoor adventure. More than 125 exhibitors will offer everything you need to know about a plethora of outdoor activities, ranging from rock climbing to paddle boarding, to hang gliding to eco-cruising. Professionals and novices will also enjoy gear sales (only available at this special event), live music, a beer and wine garden, slide shows and panel discussions.
The expo supports preserving the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. A portion of the event proceeds will go to the Washington’s National Park Fund, which is the official non-profit partner supporting Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic National Parks and whose mission is to ensure the preservation of natural beauty, cultural heritage and continued enjoyment for all.
Kalaloch Lodge, Olympic National Park
Rooted on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Kalaloch Lodge in the Olympic National Park offers easy access to two rain forests, a marine sanctuary, and a truly beautiful sunset. Kalaloch Lodge has housing in both the main lodge and the nearby cabins lining the cliff. These cabins come in a range of different sizes, from accommodating the family getaway of five to housing the romance of two.
Those who descend the bluff can enjoy fishing and clamming, walks on the beach and, if it’s your lucky day, whale spotting. Delving deeper into the national park also gives you plenty of options, such as mountain biking, kayaking, and nature hikes through old- and second-growth forests.
Designated a national park in 1938, and a World Heritage Site in 1981, Olympic National Park consists of coniferous rainforests and alpine fields dotted by fir trees. The park is home to the largest unmanaged herd of Roosevelt Elk in the world.
The working maritime city of Anacortes on Fidalgo Island has seen a downtown renaissance. What was once a town that traffic bypassed on the way to the San Juan Islands Ferry now has plenty of cause for pause. And the newly refurbished Majestic Inn lies at the heart of it all.
Built in 1890 as an office building, the structure has moved locations, survived many incarnations, was slated for demolition, was nearly destroyed by fire and rose from the ashes as one of the Northwest’s best small historic hotels. The Majestic Hotel has a full-service restaurant serving local fare, and has a full bar with a superb happy hour menu. And the value is a crowd pleaser; you can get a three-course dinner for only $18.
The entire second floor of the main building houses the Apothecary Spa, offering a full menu of cosmetic and therapeutic treatments.
The recent addition of a new guest room building in the same block has greatly expanded the hotel’s capacity. A roof garden and patio with astonishing views of sea and islands is open in high season. Stroll a few blocks along Commercial Avenue from the hotel and you’ll witness Anacortes’ restaurant renaissance. Small, independently owned restaurants highlight the bounty of what’s fresh from farm, pasture and sea daily. Talented local chefs are serving up signature dishes with personal flair. Tip: Try Adrift, Dad’s and The Majestic Inn’s restaurant. Majestic Inn, majesticinnandspa.com, Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, anacortes.org.