As owner and head trainer of ThoroughQuest Acres, Dundee Bartlett has given form to her belief in using a patient, kind approach to produce a well-rounded rider. Her team of seasoned instructors shares her perspective, training riders as young as 5 in the hunter and jumper styles of riding with subtle incorporation of dressage principles to help build balance and suppleness. The facility, with its large outdoor arena and pair of indoor arenas, anchors the outfit’s 15 acres, granting students ample space to practice their form. Each lesson program begins with the basics, such as mounting and dismounting, before moving on to more advanced techniques, such as trotting, cantering, and dismounting with an aerial toe touch.
The horseback lesson takes place at Sunflower Farms, which boasts 170 acres of pristine wooded lakefront farmland, ideal for galloping horses and running a mildly successful Internet business. Start the two-hour session with an hour-long ground lesson that helps riders get to know their horses, covers the basics of riding equipment, and teaches horse-grooming methods. Once riders feel comfortable enough around a horse to not be overwhelmed with the desire to challenge it to a staring contest, they'll saddle up and ride for a full hour, outfitted with a certified helmet from Saddlers Row. Sunflower Farms instructors will work with riders of any skill level, from beginner to competition level.
At Orbit Skate Center, the glide of wheels on a half-acre of wood floors adds a percussive underscore to live music and colorful lights. As visitors skate the rink, DJs spin contemporary hits or throwback '80s and '90s favorites on retro nights. Some evenings feature the Galaxy SkyBar and Cosmic Cafe, as well as races, dodge-ball games, and light shows. Guests can strap on brand-new quad- or inline skates inside Orbit's pro shop, or sign up for all-ages lessons to improve basic skills for manual or automatic-transmission skates.
Kids can literally bounce off the walls at Happenings Family Fun Center, where eight air-filled play spaces invite them to cavort inside castle- or shoe-shaped abodes. The center's more than 30,000-square-foot arena not only houses an inflated playground but also 100 arcade games and 30 Xbox stations where kids can enhance their eye-hand coordination or prepare themselves for an angry mushroom invasion. Families and friends also can spin balls down mini bowling lanes, swing bats in the batting cages, and fill up on pizza, burgers, and corn dogs at the concessions stand.