Teambuilding activities in the Pacific Northwest include traditional options such as kayaking and ziplining, as well as those that are unique to the region, such as coffee tasting and glassblowing.
Following are myriad team-bonding ideas throughout Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Seattle-born Starbucks may be the standard-bearer in coffee, with stores on main streets all over the world, but only in Seattle can groups participate in a Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room experience, including coffee bean roasting, brewing, tastings and coffee/food pairing.
“Coffee is something most people enjoy but few know much about,” said Suzanne Albee, convention services manager for Visit Seattle.
An outing on Lake Union with The Electric Boat Company is another special experience here.
“Scavenger hunts and bingo games highlighting Seattle’s landscape and attractions can be done on board to create a fun, competitive event for larger groups,” Albee said.
According to Meagan McGuire, vice president of sales and services for the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority, indoor skydiving at Tukwila-based iFLY offers customizable packages for a rare teambuilding experience, including hands-on personal assistance from a flight instructor and a fully equipped conference room.
“Indoor skydiving is an exhilarating experience that’s suitable for almost everyone, is safe and provides an awesome challenge,” she said
Located in Old Bellevue is Whisk, an independent retailer of kitchenware, bakeware and more, where groups can take a cooking class.
“They go far beyond just teaching a recipe from a cookbook,” said Sharon Linton, marketing and communications manager for Visit Bellevue Washington. “Each class provides valuable hands-on experience, providing an interactive and collaborative setting for corporate teambuilding.”
Groups can visit Area 253 Glassblowing to make a piece of hand-blown art when meeting in Tacoma, Dale Chihuly’s hometown.
“Teams learn what goes into planning and crafting hot glass and shaping it into museum-quality art forms,” said Matt Wakefield, communications manager for Travel Tacoma and Pierce County. “They’ll come away with a stunning one-of-a-kind memento to spruce up their office.”
In Olympia, groups can visit Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, home to 200 species of birds.
It’s a place where “river meets sea, herons leisurely stroll and the boardwalk goes on for miles,” according to Jeff Bowe, director of sales for Experience Olympia & Beyond. “Grab your binoculars and break into teams to see who can spot the most birds, the rarer the better, and snap a photo.”
Edmonds-based WhirIyBall Seattle specializes in corporate teambuilding that mingles aspects of basketball, hockey, jai alai and bumper cars.
“A local event planner stated that ‘all who participated were able to relax and just have fun while building a stronger team,’” said Ernest G. Matthews Jr., group sales manager at the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. “You can eat, drink and play all in one venue.”
Vancouver, Wash.-based Couve Cycle, a pedal-powered, multi-person bike, offers a fun outing with visits to downtown’s best craft breweries, as well as history and coffee tours.
“With seats for up to 14 people, the team can build camaraderie and enjoy a light exercise,” said Jacob Schmidt, director of marketing and communications at Visit Vancouver USA. “An electric assist is an option for teams that would rather go light on the pedal power and enjoy a breezy ride.”
According to Barbara Marrett, communications manager for the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, groups can set out with one of the many knowledgeable sea kayaking outfitters on San Juan, Orcas or Lopez islands for a team-bonding adventure tour.
“It’s a chance for groups to get not just outside, but outside their comfort zones,” she said.