Founded five years ago, the Battle Creek Bombers have already shown their mettle, earning the title of 2011 Northwoods League Champions in 2011. The Northwoods League, one of the nation’s most competitive collegiate summer leagues, offers its top-caliber players minor league internships without jeopardizing their college careers. This season, the Bombers hope to conquer their league again and send more of its players to the MLB, having already done so for alumnus Tony Sanchez, who was the fourth pick in the 2009 draft. Led by Daniel Rockett, their top 2011 scorer with 46 runs and 43 RBIs, the team will surely spend this season launching home runs without the help of covert trebuchets.
While the players focus on the game, their mosquito mascot, Mo-Skeeter, mingles with roaring crowds in the Bomber’s home venue, C.O. Brown Stadium. Patrons can look on from general seating or opt for the more luxurious HBC fan-deck seats, where panoramic views complement an included all-you-can-eat feast with draft beer and hot dogs.
Each year at the onset of summer, the costumed bards, knights, and royalty at Mayfaire Renaissance Festival welcome visitors to enjoy rollicking entertainment and peruse handcrafted wares throughout the wooded festival grounds. Attendees step into a world of jousters and jesters, replete with Renaissance-era songs and dances and smartphones fashioned from mutton. All-ages-appropriate comedians regale families with zany antics, and visitors can ask mystical tarot-card readers questions about the future.
Established by cereal tycoon W.K. Kellog in 1927 to protect the Canada goose, the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary surrounds visitors and migratory birds with lush scenery on the banks of Lake Wintergreen, 15 miles north of Kalamazoo. Up to two adults and all of their dependents in the same household ages 17 and younger can enjoy access to hundreds of waterfowl in their natural habitat, access to enclosures of majestic birds of prey, and access to a 3/4-mile paved lakeside trail perfect for wheelchairs, strollers, and stilt-walkers. Dozens of species flit and flap serenely, showing off for lurking scientists from Michigan State University's on-site research station, and fuzzy goslings and chicks take their first waddles in spring weather. Volunteer tour guides lead occasional tours, spotlighting avians during warmer months, during migration in the fall, and during bird birthdays, baking tiny suet cakes.
Binder Park Zoo hosts an exotic coterie of more than 140 animal species, all administered to in accordance with the exacting standards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Navigate the map of habitats, or hop on the free Wilderness Tram for rapid transit straight to the Wild Africa portion of the grounds to glimpse an impala's prancings, a mangabey's antics, or an ostrich's rude refusal to acknowledge visitors. Fans of gargantuan gullets can drop some food into the stretched esophagi of seven reticulated giraffes at the Twiga Overlook, and a red kangaroo displays its preternatural quad strength by jumping and deadlifting a tree trunk. Once casual backpackers work up an appetite on the 1.3-mile hiking trail, they can refuel with the two combo meals from either Beulah's Restaurant or Kalahari Kitchen. Use the two tokens for rides on either the Z.O. & O. Railroad or the Binda Conservation Carousel.
Moonlight pools in the gym’s entryway as the nighttime visitor stops to fumble for her keycard. It’s 3 a.m. She worked the night shift again and wants to work off some tension. Her fingers grasp the small plastic card and with a quick swipe, she’s inside. Immediately enveloped by the warm glow of Snap Fitness, she joins the other late-night exercisers in pounding on the treadmill and lifting weights before the sun rises.
Accessible 24/7 via keycard, guests enter Snap Fitness to tone their physiques on myriad cardio and strength equipment day or night. During staff hours, they can seek out fitness assessments and one-on-one sessions with personal trainers, which ensure all moves are performed effectively, topped with a dose of motivation. The trainers devise personal fitness plans for each guest, taking into account their strength, cardio, and flexibility conditions to help them tackle weight loss, boost overall body strength, or attempt to finally unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
Multiple rows of pinball machines manufactured from the early 1960s through today shelter plungers and flippers as they fling the silver spheres toward illumined targets. Entertaining guests between bouts of pinball, air hockey, and abundant arcade classics—such as Centipede, Ms. Pac-Man, and Asteroids —await with flashing lights infused with friendly competition. Klassic Arcade celebrates its impressive stock of more than 100 different varieties of glass-bottled soda pop during its annual Midwest Soda Pop Festival, which combines pop tastings and judging with live music and games. The arcade also spearheads the annual Pinball at the 'Zoo festival, at which attendees can play more than 100 arcade and pinball games for free in between tournaments, auctions, and seminars with the original 8-bit Mario and Luigi. Completing the lineup of exciting diversions is the outdoor M-40 Raceway track, which hosts off-road RC racers.