Rather than a competition, the instructors at Lehigh Valley Shihou-ken Karate treat their self-defense style as an art form. Sensei Charlie draws from more than 40 years of martial-arts training to lead his team in training students as young as 9 or old enough to be technically immortal. In classes tailored to specific ability levels, the instructors drill students in strikes, blocks, and kata—a choreographed series of fighting moves. All classes focus on the shihou-ken style, which blends elements from three forms of traditional Japanese karate and also introduces principles of muay thai, boxing, and judo.
In a go kart, you're much closer to the source of horsepower than when you're riding in a car. All that invisible force leaps to life when you hit the accelerator, gently pushing you back into the seat. Drivers at Lehigh Valley Grand Prix feel that pull as they whip around a quarter-mile racetrack in gas-powered Sodi GT5 Proline karts. They slip past one another while making 11 brake-stomping turns, all with a vantage point not afforded by watching races on TV.
The karts feature air-intake units that trap their exhaust and keep the atmosphere fresh, and the track?constructed from 1,300 used Goodyear tires and the shredded remains of Mario Andretti's learner's permit?is outfitted with three observation platforms for track marshals to regulate each lap and guarantee riders' safety. Three-point safety belts, roll bars, helmets, and neck braces also protect racers during their white-knuckle trips around the track. A full-time mechanic keeps finish lines crowded by calibrating karts to run within three-tenths of a second of one another and hanging hundreds of pi?atas from the checkered flag. At the facility's bar, Octane, racers can refuel with drinks and food while watching stock-car races on the five 42-inch TVs.
Racing past the multilevel arena's black-lit arches, barriers, and pathways, phaser-wielding players navigate their way through a foggy arena in pursuit of opponents. Such battles are the main draw of Lehigh Valley Laser Tag, where participants aged 7 and older compete for victory in three games during each 40-minute laser-tag session. After arrival, a short safety video screened in the staging room explains the game's equipment and confirms there's no need to wait 20 minutes between eating and playing before guests strap on their vests and ready their phasers. The arena hosts regular team-versus-team game play as well as special format rounds, all of which end with reports that compare each player's score to the results of friends and teammates. Afterward, groups reenergize by noshing on fare from the snack bar or playing abundant video games in the arcade.
BounceU welcomes kids to descend upon an inflatable, climate-controlled playground where they can bounce and ricochet in safety. Along with birthday parties and group outings, BounceU hosts open-bounce sessions that let sock wearers of all ages imagine they're synchronized leapers in a futuristic moon performance as they carom around the inflatable stadium, expending energy with every leap. Adults are welcome to act like 8-year-olds and join the vivacious youngsters in the playground.
Allentown Art Museum invites visitors to explore its collection of more than 17,000 works of art from around the world, just as it's done for more than 75 years. Though the museum is primarily focused on American painting and sculpture, its collection also includes more than 100 European works as well as nonWestern art, such as sculptures from India and Tibet.
The Museum of Indian Culture provides a portal to the cultural history of the Lenape and other American Indian tribes. This history gains form and texture in the Northeast Woodland Room, where handmade basketry, beadwork, and pottery rest on display. Nearby, the Inter-Tribal Room demonstrates the breadth of cultures in the area. Its exhibits include a Lakota morning-star quilt, a Cheyenne sash, and Navajo sand art. For a more hands-on lesson, patrons can see how indigenous people made fire from a bow drill, practice using a dart thrower, or hear stories that were originally told by tribal elders.
In addition to its exhibits, the museum conducts regular educational events. During Saturdays at the Museum, guests can step into American Indian culture by practicing their hunting and gathering skills in the field, going on an insect safari, or learning about societies that existed before Columbus discovered the continent and named it after Amerigo Vespucci. The Museum also sponsors the Roasting Ears of Corn Festival—with flint knapping, tomahawk throwing, and artifact displays—and the Three Sisters Harvest, which donates food and other supplies to American Indian families in need.