Waving Grizzly Bears

Maybe, like me, you laughed a little too hard when Timothy Treadwell kept calling that big-ass grizzly bear "Mr. Chocolate" in Werner Herzog's 2005 documentary Grizzly Man. Maybe you wish YOU could just walk up to a bear and start chatting with him, like he's an old family friend. Well, guess what—YOU CAN! All you need is a loaf of wheat bread and a car to take the driving tour at the Olympic Game Farm. Sure, there are tigers, wolves, elk, zebras, llamas, and bison... but it's all about the bears. There's only a low wire fence that separates you from the fuzzy giants, who are usually sitting upright on their fat butts. You throw a few pieces of bread at them from your car window, and then give them a wave. If you're nice enough, they will wave back, like a prom queen does from the back of a convertible in a Fourth of July parade. Timothy Treadwell would be proud. (Olympic Game Farm, 1423 Ward Rd, Sequim, olygamefarm.com, $12) KELLY O

Undersea Gardens and Miniature Museum

No car? No problem! Get out of town by boat! For less than $200 a person, you can take a ride on the Clipper and spend a night in beautiful Victoria, BC. While there, hit up Miniature World, with 80 handcrafted mini dioramas on display. They've got a tiny carnival with tiny rides that move! And a tiny World War II scene with tiny Nazis! It's amazing. Undersea Gardens is neat, too. It smells a little weird (it's underwater—there are no windows), but while I was there, I saw a crab swim. I didn't know crabs could swim. They look ridiculous. (Miniature World, 649 Humboldt St, miniatureworld.com; Undersea Gardens, 490 Belleville St, pacificunderseagardens.com) MEGAN SELING

La Tarasca

The only reason to visit Centralia (a town halfway to Portland) is La Tarasca, a Mexican restaurant that's on Main Street and, in truth, is nothing special to look at. If you have no clue about the place, you'll pass it without a second thought. But once you've eaten there, you'll never pass that city again without recalling the wonderfully rich Colorado sauce on the chicken breast, the wholesome, homemade corn tortillas, the carnitas plate that's twice the size of your face. I have yet to find a Mexican restaurant in Seattle that impresses the senses in the way La Tarasca does. The next big thing in Centralia is RichArt's Junk Art Yard. (La Tarasca, 1001 W Main St, Centralia, 360-736-7756) CHARLES MUDEDE

New-Agey Woo Woo, Mini Golf, Thrifting, and Dairy Queen

Not only is it fun to say—YELLMMM—but the city of Yelm is a great place to get weird, and it's only an hour and 15 minutes south of Seattle. And did you know it's home to Ramtha's School of Enlightenment, an 80-acre compound founded by JZ Knight, who channels a 35,000-year-old fake voice entity? If seminars on "creating your own personal reality" don't sound appealing (or affordable, starting at $400), then get in a round at the ultra-friendly Nick's Mini Golf, or hit up one of the many thrift spots for dozens of framed Patrick Nagel posters and vintage star-spangled bell-bottoms. Don't forget to stop by the DQ on your way out of town! (Yelm, yelm.com, mini golf admission $5 adults/$3.50 kids 12 and under, Dairy Queen mini-Blizzard $2.67) EMILY NOKES

'The Sound of Music'

My only childhood memory of Leavenworth, Washington—a mountain town themed after a Bavarian village—is eating at a Mexican restaurant, of all things. But don't go for the enchiladas. Go there because the hills are quite literally alive with The Sound of Music. They perform the show live all summer in an outdoor amphitheater. My ex-boyfriend, who was gay enough to have a horrifying experience called "growing up in Leavenworth," played each boy in the Von Trapp family, graduating from one role to the next as he got older. I couldn't mention doorbells, sleigh bells, or schnitzel with noodles in his presence without him breaking out in hives, but he could sing every note of that musical. All thanks to years and years of singing on a mountainside in Leavenworth, which you should go see. (July 5–Sept 1, Ski Hill Amphitheater, Leavenworth, leavenworthsummertheater.org, 8 pm, $14–$30) DOMINIC HOLDEN

Hang Out with Sloths

Just one hour south of Portland, in Rainier, Oregon, sits a place where dreams come true. At the Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center, you can hold a sloth and feed a lemur. You can interact with fennec foxes (those ears!), red kangaroos, and wallabies, or hang out with wolves, pygmy goats, and a mini horse. It's basically cuteoverload.com in real life. And because it's a sanctuary, they keep visiting groups very small, so it's a really calm, intimate experience—unlike the zoo, where babies are constantly screaming. Jerky babies. (Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center, 74320 Larson Rd, Rainier, Oregon, chasing-tail.com, reservations required) MEGAN SELING

Maryhill Museum of Art

I don't care where you've been, you've never been to a museum like this. It is out in the middle of nowhere on a cliff. Out on the cliff, there are peacocks wandering around (they will chase after you), and a full-size replica of Stonehenge, and a sculpture park with new art, and the first-ever asphalt road in Washington State. In the galleries: chess sets of the world, sculptures by Rodin, French fashion, Eastern Orthodox icons, royal regalia from Romania, Native American basketry, art nouveau glass (Lalique, et cetera), and obscure (some quite weird) American and European paintings. I couldn't make this up. (Maryhill Museum of Art, 35 Maryhill Museum Dr, Goldendale, maryhillmuseum.org, $9) JEN GRAVES