REMEMBER YOUR New Year's resolution? That one about learning to sail? Well, it's now or never. Whether you're craving the open sea or are simply garden-bound, there's a class to get you started this summer. Here's a sampling:
If you can't be a star, be a stargazer. Seattle Astronomical Society and the UW Astronomy Department hold free, public observing nights on selected Wednesdays and Saturdays, weather permitting. Sky-watching instruments provided. SAS nights start Sat., June 7 at dusk near the Bathhouse Theater at Green Lake; info: 206-523-2787, www.seattleastro.org. UW nights, 7-9 p.m., start Wed., June 4 at the old campus observatory, Northeast 45th Street and 17th Avenue Northeast (East of the Burke Museum); info: 206-543-0126, www.astro.Washington.edu/observatory.
Want to get out of the city and away from that weird orange nighttime glow? Take in the constellations in the clear desert air with binoculars and telescopes at Brooks Memorial State Park near Goldendale. Camp out and learn about sundials, the solar system, and the Milky Way during the day; locate and identify celestial objects while discussing their natural history at night. Also visit the Maryhill Stonehenge Replica and the Goldendale Observatory. Fri., June 27-Sun., June 29. $185. North Cascades Institute, 360-856-5700 ext. 209, www.ncascades.org.
If you want to feel like you've really accomplished something this summer, get up to the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding and learn how to build your own boat. They offer more than 70 summer workshops (over the course of a few days or a few weeks) on woodworking, knots and rigging, sail and canvas, and blacksmithing. If you've always wanted to know how to splice braided rope or learn about strip-plank construction, this is the place for you. Times, prices, and courses vary. Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, 251 Otto St., Port Townsend, 360-385-4948, www.nwboatschool.org
Canoeing can be peaceful and meditative if you know how not to capsize. Seattle Canoe Club instructs an on-the-water course all about paddling. Learn over 20 paddling strokes. 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays, May 31-June 14; or 6-8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, June 2-11. $70 adults, $45 youth and seniors. Green Lake Small Craft Center, 5900 W. Greenlake Way N., 206-684-4074.
Calling all monkeys. The REI pinnacle is fine for a first stab, but at some point you want to get outside and try the real thing. Look no further than this one-day rock-climbing course for beginners. Adventure Professionals offers one-day courses every day at climbing locales near North Bend and Leavenworth. $85. Call for reservations: 866-782-2400.
If you want to realize your dream of exploring some forgotten shipwreck in the Caribbean, you have to start somewhere. Learn to dive by participating in an open-water class and earn your PADI open-water certification. The class includes five knowledge-development sessions, skill development in a pool, and four scuba dives in Puget Sound. Must be 12 years or over. $349. Island Dive & Watersports, P.O. Box 476, Friday Harbor, 800-303-8386, www.divesanjuan.com.
It's always wise to have a bit of first-aid knowledge under your belt before you take on the backroads of the Cascades, greenhorn. Spend a weekend at a lodge in the Olympics and learn through lectures and hands-on practice the finer points of patient assessment, blister management, sprains and fractures, medical emergencies, hypothermia, and evacuation techniques. Whether you're a casual observer or a wilderness professional, you'll receive a wilderness first-aid certificate upon completion. June 21-22. $195-$235. Olympic Park Institute, 111 Barnes Point Rd., Port Angeles, 800-775-3720, www.yni.org/opi.
Gardens are nice. Gardens with places to sit are even nicer. Want to build your own garden bench but don't know where to start? Take this one-day class offered by Pratt Fine Arts Center. By the end of the day, you'll have a bench to take home. Tools and materials provided. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat., June 14. $125. Class held at New City Arts, 117 Warren Ave. N., 206-284-9493.
Like to mini-golf? Like to drink? Do both in Drinks on the Links, the mini-golf summer league where the winners get free beer. Starts 7 p.m. Tues., July 22 and runs weekly through Tues., Aug. 19. $50 individual/$250 team (four to eight golfers). Interbay Golf Center. Registration opens June 15. Call 206-320-8326 or visit www.seattlesportsleagues.com.
You've wanted to saddle up ever since My Little Pony. Now's your chance. Stay at Walking Horse Country Farm and learn horsemanship, grooming, and riding techniques. Then venture out on a guided trail ride. $625 per person per night (three-night minimum). 180 West Beach Rd., Eastsound, Orcas Island, 360-376-5306, www.walkinghorsefarm.com.
For those of you whose equine experience ends at the pony rides at Woodland Park, this class will take you on a safe trail ride through the Elbe Hills State Forest overlooking the Nisqually Valley and introduce you to riding and horsemanship. Even if you've never ridden before, by the end of the day you'll be saddlin' up like a pro. $75. Discover U, 2150 N. 107th St., Suite B52, 206-365-0400, www.discoveru.org.
Crystal Seas Kayak Tours offers daily guided sea-kayaking trips for the paddle-happy public. Try the three-hour Puget Sound day tour ($49), the evening sunset tour ($49), or the full-day exploratory trip ($65). All tours leave from Edmonds. Call for reservations: 877-732-7877.
This is the summer to realize your biker dream. This class on street, sport, and race motorcycle riding is intended for riders of varying experience and skill levels. Next summer: Sturgis. Fri., Aug. 29. $345. CLASS Motorcycle Schools, Pacific Raceways, 31001 144th Ave. S.E., Kent, 808-933-9936, www.classrides.com.
If a day on the paddleboats at Green Lake doesn't get your adrenaline flowing, maybe a trip down the Wenatchee River through churning whitewater rapids will. Start rafting in the orchard-filled Leavenworth Valley and descend to the near-desert climate of Cashmere, while experiencing some of the biggest water in the state. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sun., June 8. $79. Discover U, 2150 N. 107th St., Suite B52, 206-365-0400, www.discoveru.org.
Stroke! At the National Try Rowing Day event, presented by the Lake Washington Rowing Club and the United States Rowing Association, you can do just that. Sat., May 31. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. LWRC Boathouse, 910 Northlake Way. Preregistration recommended: 206-547-1583, www.lakewashingtonrowing.com.
Think that pulling an outboard motor cord is no way to experience life on the water? Join the crew of the historic schooner Adventuress for a day, sailing out of Port Townsend. Participate in raising the sails and learn about navigation, steering, marine life, plankton, and Puget Sound ecology. Sea chanteys will be sung! 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun., July 13. $85. Olympic Park Institute, 111 Barnes Point Rd., Port Angeles, 800-775-3720, www.yni.org/opi.
Ahoy! Learn to sail on Lake Washington with Mount Baker Rowing & Sailing Center. Course covers rigging, sailing theory, and water safety, and participants are awarded basic sailing certification upon completion. Scholarships available. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, May 31-June 21; or 6-8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, June 2-June 25. $120. Mount Baker Rowing & Sailing Center, Stan Sayres Park (between I-90 and Seward Park), 3800 Lake Washington Blvd. S., 206-386-1913.
Don't stay home with the Discovery Channel when we've got our own natural laboratory right out your front door. Take a trip to a Puget Sound beach on a sunny summer weekend and explore the low-tide wildlife with trained Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists. Get your feet wet. Look for the beach naturalists signs at the entrance to these beaches: South Alki, Golden Gardens, Carkeek Park, Lincoln Park, Richmond Beach, Des Moines, and Seahurst. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. June 1, 14, and 15; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 28 and 29, July 12, 13, and 27, and Aug. 10. Free. For information, call 206-386-4300.
Before you can windsurf with the water jocks at the Gorge, you need to learn the basics. Get the fundamentals down with this class on sailboard rigging, terms, balance, stance, wind knowledge, and sail adjustment. You'll learn on stable trainer boards and a dry-land simulator. You gotta weigh at least 90 pounds, stringbean. 12:30-3 p.m. Saturdays, May 31-June 14; or 6-8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, June 2-9. $66. Mount Baker Rowing & Sailing Center, Stan Sayres Park (between I-90 and Seward Park), 3800 Lake Washington Blvd. S., 206-386-1913.
Wanna finally be a granola girl? Join this three-day trip into the Olympics and learn the basics of backpacking with other like-minded women. Two backcountry experts teach you minimum-impact camping, map reading, cooking, and equipment selection. Participate in pre- and post-hike yoga sessions, then finish off with a soak in Sol Duc Hot Springs. Sun., July 27-Tues., July 29. $245. Olympic Park Institute, 111 Barnes Point Rd., Port Angeles, 800-775-3720, www.yni.org/opi.