Activities abound as sun goes down in Orchards

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

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Cage fights, clay target shooting and foam dance parties probably aren’t the first things that come to mind when you think of Orchards.

But when it comes to unusual evening entertainment, the somewhat sleepy area of northeast Vancouver is full of hidden surprises.

Whether it’s grilling and playing horseshoes outside with the kids, watching budding rodeo stars hone their skills or shooting a little evening hoops, there’s something for just about everybody.

If you’re waiting for some suggestions to get you started, The Columbian Life team has you covered.

Here’s our list of six things to do after 6 p.m. in Orchards:

Clark County Saddle Club

10505 N.E. 117th

360-896-6654

http://www.clarkcountysaddleclub.com/

Events: Barrel racing, roping, gaming events most weekday evenings starting at 7 p.m.

You don’t have to ride a horse to have fun watching the riders at the Clark County Saddle Club.

Visitors are welcome to just pop by with the kids and watch as club members race their horses around barrels or compete to see who is best at roping, said Helen Cole, the club’s chairwoman.

“They can attend at no charge if they just want to watch from the stands,” Cole said. “Everybody’s welcome.”

Most of the competitions start at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Many of the events also have food vendors, she said.

The club also hosts rodeos and larger competitions, which will be listed on its website.

Orchards Community Park

9800 N.E. 54th St.

360-487-8323

http://www.cityofvancouver.us/parks-recreation/parks_trails/parks/orchards.asp

Evenings until dusk: Outdoor grilling, picnic tables, horseshoes

Looking for a little outdoor relaxation? Orchards Community Park has a great setup for some dinnertime grilling.

With ample picnic tables and several permanent grills all you need is a little charcoal, a lighter and some burger patties and you’ll be in business.

The park has some large grassy areas that are perfect for tossing a football around or setting up a volleyball court. It also has horseshoe pits, playgrounds, small trails and a covered area in case it starts to rain.

On the western edge you’ll also find a building with bathroom facilities for all your after-grilling cleanup needs.

The Vancouver Trap and Gun Club

photoDoug Dinsmore shoots at clay targets at The Vancouver Trap and Gun Club. Club members are happy to teach visitors more about the sport if they pop by on a Wednesday evening.

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11100 N.E.76th St.

360-798-9620

http://www.vancouvertrapandgunclub.com/

Wednesdays after 6 p.m.: Fun & Games and Practice

Think you have a good eye for target shooting? Want to, literally, give it a shot?

The Vancouver Trap and Gun Club welcomes newcomers, visitors and seasoned shooters starting at 6 p.m. Wednesdays for its Fun & Games and Practice events.

Trap shooting is somewhat like skeet shooting, where you fire at clay targets thrown in the air from various spots. The setup is just a little different, said Doug Dinsmore, club president.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Dinsmore said. “No matter how bad you shoot, after the first time you try it you want to come back and do it again.”

The nonprofit club doesn’t rent or sell guns or ammunition, although sometimes vendors show up at the evening events.

People can bring their own guns and ammo, and if you don’t have a gun or aren’t sure if shooting is something you want to do, that’s OK, Dinsmore said.

Sometimes members will volunteer to let you shoot a few rounds with their guns, he said.

“We don’t have a formal teacher but we have a lot of guys out here that would love to help you,” Dinsmore said.

The range fee is $5 and 25 clay targets cost $6 for nonmembers, with discounts available for those who join.

The Zoo Nightclub

photoThe Zoo Nightclub has dancing, pool and the occasional cage fight and foam dance party on the weekends. On weeknights, it’s a popular neighborhood spot for regulars and newcomers.

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9310 N.E. 76th St.

360-254-8607

http://www.facebook.com/TheZooVancouver

Events: Cage fights, foam parties

Hidden in a strip mall on 76th Street, The Zoo Nightclub offers a lot more than the usual disco balls, dancing and drinking.

During weeknights, the club acts more like a neighborhood bar, with regulars hanging out, grabbing a bite to eat and enjoying drinks while playing pool, air hockey, shuffleboard and other games.

On the weekends, though, the other half of the club — with its large dance floor — emerges.

There’s dancing on most weekend evenings, and once or twice a month the club also hosts foam parties. During the foam parties, foam flows from the ceiling onto the floor and dancers, who hopefully are not clad in their Sunday best, get to frolic in the soapy suds.

The club also hosts mixed martial arts amateur cage fights on its dance floor about once a month, said Brenda Turnbow, a bartender.

“We have a great time,” Turnbow said. “We get a wide variety of people that come in here. Everybody’s welcome.”

Check the club’s Facebook site for upcoming events and times.

Clark County Family YMCA

11324 N.E. 51st Circle

360-885-9622

photoClark County Family YMCA offers Adult Tranquility Swim weeknights, allowing people to relax in the pool under dim lighting and calm music.

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http://www.ymca-clarkcounty.org/clarkcounty.html

Events: Swimming, basketball, group exercise, baby-sitting

Want a night off from the kids? The Clark County Family YMCA has you covered.

On the first and third Friday of each month from 6-9 p.m. the facility hosts Parents Night Out.

Adults can bring kids ages 6 weeks to 12 years old and drop them off for an evening of supervised, structured events for $5 per kid for members and $7.50 per kid for nonmembers.

If exercise is more your thing, the YMCA has open play basketball in its gym every night until 10 p.m., a host of cycling, yoga and fitness classes and an array of weights and workout equipment.

And if you’re looking for a little quiet time in the evening, the center has that too, said Jamie Nocula, director of membership and marketing.

“During the week at 8:30 or 8:45 at night until the pool closes at 9:30 p.m. we have the Adult Tranquility Swim,” Nocula said. “They turn off all the lights and play yoga music. It’s really relaxing. The water is 88 degrees, and people can just float or swim laps, whatever they want. And there are no kids allowed.”

Membership costs range from $31 to $85, a day pass is $10, and starting Sept. 1 the center will offer punch passes with five visits for $30 or 10 visits for $50, she said.

Clark County Square Dance Center

10713 N.E. 117th Ave.

360-254-3532

http://www.squaredancecenter.com/

Events: Square dancing

Feel like learning how to do-si-do and swing your partner round and round on a crisp fall evening in Orchards?

The Happy Hoppers will kick off its beginning square dance lessons from 7:30-9 p.m. Mondays starting on Sept. 12 at the Clark County Square Dance Center.

The group teaches square dancing most of the year, but it shuts down in summer because of the heat, said Joanne Oja, past vice president.

“It’s good activity, it’s good exercise and you meet some of the nicest people,” Oja said.

Anybody interested can just show up for the lesson, in casual dress, and they don’t even have to have a partner, she said.

Once you finish the beginner level, you can participate in some of the group’s dances and functions, she added.

Lessons cost $5 per person and participants must be 12 or older.