Whether it’s fast-paced action or mind-bending challenges, Bellevue excels at injecting meetings with excitement. When attendees aren’t in session, in fact, they’ll likely face some hard choices, since there are so many memorable ways to relax and have fun in this multidimensional city. Many of the most interesting attractions and experiences also work well for unforgettable team-building programs.
For a physically challenging get-together, consider a visit to Stone Gardens, a 21,000-square-foot climbing gym with a tilting wall, top-out boulders, and rappel ledges. The private party room makes it easy for planners to arrange a full buyout for two-hour group climbing and bouldering programs. And not to worry if participants aren’t experts; experienced instructors make sure that everyone is trained to use the equipment.
Breathtaking is certainly an appropriate way to describe what awaits at the Bellevue Challenge Course and Zip Tour, located in lush Eastgate Park. Operated by Northwest Teambuilding and the Parks and Community Services, the venue features four elements that groups of up to 32 people can use individually or together. Participants can soar at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour along seven zip lines that range in length from 78 feet to 458 feet. And they won’t likely forget the stunning views of Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak. Thee Low Course, meanwhile, features a series of ground-level challenges that foster team cooperation and collaboration by developing group communication and problem-solving skills. And in the aptly named Vertical Playpen, participants form teams of up to three people to take turns to gear up to climb vertical high ropes. Teams can also test their skills on the challenging aerial obstacle course at the High Course.
Groups can test their outdoor survival skills at Aerial Adventure Park, located in scenic Woodinville, near the area’s legendary wineries. The venue’s outdoor climbing experiences and challenging obstacles send groups to heights of up to 50 feet off the ground, with both ground-based and climbing team-building programs. The venue also offers a number of guided experiences, including an Essentials Workshop that explores issues like peer support, creativity, and accountability, and the True Colors Workshop, which uses questions and colors to provide insight about behavioral dynamics.
Nearby in Woodinville is Novelty Hill Januik, a winery with four private meeting rooms and customizable Uncork & Unwind wine workshops that are designed to encourage collaboration as groups learn more about various varietals. The sessions can be accompanied by catered menus of Northwest-inspired cuisine, created by the on-site culinary team.
Flavorful group experiences are also the focus at Whisk Bellevue, a downtown cooking school that offers team-building culinary events led by chef instructors. Groups of up to 22 people can choose from a diverse range of cuisines as the focus of a team-building event, whether it’s preparing a seasonal three-course dinner or learning to cook Spanish paella, Italian pasta, French pastries or Asian dumplings and dim sum. All classes and interactive competitions are easily customizable based on the experience and interest level of the group.
For a playful group experience, you can’t go wrong with Mox Boarding House, where the library is stocked with a large selection of games both old and new. For private group board game events, planners can choose from interestingly themed rooms, including the Prohibition-era-themed Speakeasy, the 1930s-style Apothecary, and the booklined Library. The on-site restaurant provides catering services, while the bar serves 16 different draft beers as well as wine and other liquid treats.
Most event rooms are designed to entice attendees into staying. But at Reality Break Escapes, the themed escape rooms challenge participants to leave as quickly as they can. Whether it’s the Lucky Duck Speakeasy (in which the team must identify a Prohibition-era mob boss and diffuse a bomb), Cypherspace (which challenges groups to analyze data to escape from a wormhole in the universe) or Top of the Charts (in which “band members” must come up with a hit song in 60 minutes or less), participants will be engaged and challenged — and after getting out, they can celebrate their success in the 40-person party room.