If your company holiday festivities’ guest list includes spouses, partners and children, the Northwest has numerous family-friendly venues that will make everyone feel welcome. Here are just a few:
Seattle Children’s Museum, Seattle
It’s a children’s mecca for learning and exploring—and a pretty wonderful place for grownups to meet, too. “We want families to be able to come together here,” says the museum’s director of advancement, Kirk W. Laughlin, adding that there are several themes each day, including “The Joy of Discovery” and “Imagination Comes Alive.”
The museum offers six core competencies: art, culture, science, math, literacy and wellness. Activities include a mountain climb, an art studio and a grocery store.
Three private event rooms can accommodate up to 30 guests each. Two break down into a larger space. Groups can also rent the entire venue and must provide their own caterers.
Lucky Strike & Power Play, Bellevue
It’s certainly not your grandparents’ bowling alley
Lucky Strike & Power Play is a modernized bowling alley that offers much more than just its dozen public lanes. “There’s great ambient mood lighting; there are DJs, dancing … the atmosphere is unforgettable,” says Jason “JB” Bowens, general manager of the venue. “We also have an interactive arcade, including prize-redemption games.”
Three private event spaces can each host 75-plus guests. One of the spaces has four private bowling lanes and a bar, and groups can rent a portion or the entire venue. In-house catering is provided.
“People come expecting to bowl but sometimes forget to because there are so many other things to do,” notes Bowens.
Nicoli’s Grill & Sports Bar, Lake Oswego
Bring the outdoors into your holiday party at Nicoli’s Grill & Sports Bar—a popular Lake Oswego spot. “We have garage door-style windows that open onto the patio,” says John Underhill, Nicoli’s director of operations. “So, on hot-weather days, we just roll them up. It’s wonderful.”
Other activities that are part of the main restaurant include bowling (eight lanes), shuffleboard, corn hole and an arcade with more than 40 games. There are also 47 high-definition televisions throughout.
Five private event rooms can accommodate from 10 to 150 guests. The Clubhouse Lanes is another private space that has four bowling lanes and can seat up to 25 guests. A covered, outdoor patio is available year-round and has two fire pits, a heating system and windbreaks. Groups can rent the entire facility, as well. Catering is done in-house.
“It’s a casual, fun neighborhood establishment with great value,” Underhill says.
Punch Bowl Social, Portland
Punch Bowl Social provides a design-forward environment that seamlessly blends an upscale diner-inspired menu and fun, fresh bar offerings with a vintage gaming experience.
“It’s an excellent venue for all ages,” says Nichole Szymanowski, senior events sales manager. “We’ve got private karaoke rooms, bowling, pingpong, wall-sized magnetic Scrabble, an old-school arcade (including pinball), corn hole and foosball.”
Catering is done in-house from a creative scratch kitchen and includes craft beverages, along with plenty of nonalcoholic options for younger guests.
Punch Bowl Social hosts standing events only. “Our event spaces allow guests to keep their groups together and enjoy private bowling lanes and multiple other games,” says Szymanowski.
Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward
A huge aquarium is the best way to describe the Alaska SeaLife Center. Visitors get to see animals such as sea lions, seals and birds in their natural environments, some in an underwater viewing area. “The bird aviary has one of the deepest diving tanks for birds in North America,” says Jennifer Gibbins, director of marketing and communications.
The center’s mission is to generate and share scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystem. “Our core work is science,” Gibbins says, “but we’re a public facility, so the aquarium is really sort of an expression of all the scientific work that goes on.”
The Rocky Coast Gallery can accommodate up to 200 guests, both seated and standing. Three private rooms can host 20, 32 and 79 guests, respectively. Planners must provide their own caterers. Group tours are also available.
Wahooz Family Fun Zone and Pinz Bowling Center, Meridian
It’s the largest family entertainment complex in southern Idaho and offers 24 bowling lanes, two laser-tag mazes, a 90-game arcade with a prize-redemption center, and outdoor, yearround go-carting and miniature golf.
And beginning this November, it will get even bigger with the addition of the Wahooz Indoor Adventure Park with eight new attractions, including amusement rides, a ropes course and bumper cars.
“Sixteen of our bowling lanes have bright, vibrant colors,” says Tiffany Quilici, group sales and marketing director. “The other eight are boutique lanes in the private Z Lounge, an upscale atmosphere that also includes two billiards tables and can host up to 80 guests. The area can be divided into two spaces with four lanes and one billiards table apiece.”
A private event center seats up to 200 guests and can be divided into three smaller rooms, or groups can rent the entire facility. Catering is done in-house.