It all started with a farmer's generosity. In 1924, a civic-minded citizen handed over 16 acres of lush farmland and a small group of critters to the Borough of Norristown. Today, the Elmwood Park Zoo and the Norristown Zoological Society welcomes guests in hopes of creating a future stock of wildlife lovers and conservation advocates. A menagerie of around 300 beasts indigenous to the Americas—including jaguars, howler monkeys, timberwolves, and bald and gold eagles—peer back at visitors. Even though they're from Africa, giraffes get in on the fun too during certain seasons, grazing on foliage and the toupees of particularly tall patrons. Guests can also spy on more than 15 species that are threatened or endangered. All the while, smaller animals mosey around at the petting barn, tots climb aboard gentle ponies, and winged beauties sail through the air at the butterfly preserve.
Taking in all of Philadelphia's history could take days, but the folks at Philly By Segway somehow manage to compress the city's sights into two-hour tours. Starting along the Delaware River, excursions pass landmarks like Penn's Landing, Independence Hall, and Elfreth's Alley, the nation's oldest residential street. Besides historical attractions, tours stop by other notable spots, like the art museum's "Rocky steps," which Sylvester Stallone famously climbed in his one-man adaptation of Rocky & Bullwinkle.
Accommodating up to six participants, every tour is led by one of Philly By Segway's Adventure Captains. Besides narrating the entire trip, captains snap pictures throughout, which are available for guests to take home afterward.
Teams clad in protective goggles scatter into a mountain field thick with laurel, rhododendron, and brier as they seek cover, their markers locked and loaded. Hearing paintballs whiz through the brush, a player dives into prone position. Adjusting her goggles after colliding with the ground, the combatant freezes, notices the silhouette of a whitetail deer crouched in the brush just yards away, and lets down her guard long enough to appreciate the moment before taking new aim.
At Pocono Mountain Paintball, players step onto 12 fields—including three scenario fields—ranging from untouched natural terrain to 1,700 feet of trenches and sandbag bunkers. To maximize players' game time, Pocono's staff maintains a reservation system that limits the fields to 100 players per day. Further touches include camouflage overall rentals, an online FAQ with participant advice, and changing rooms with hot showers so players can spruce up before meeting Mom for a post-game debriefing. Pocono's crew also coordinates rafting, biking, and kayaking packages through partner company Whitewater Rafting Adventures.
Whitewater Challengers' certified guides steer paddlers as young as 5 across the skipping surf of the Poconos’ Lehigh River Gorge, the Black River Canyon, and the Adirondacks’ Hudson, Moose, and Salmon rivers. In the rafting industry since 1975, the guides have collectively traveled more than 16 million miles of rapids. They chart courses that satisfy a range of experience levels, from beginning jaunts down gentle rapids to advanced battles through coursing foam and wicked currents.
The crew’s ultimate goal is to make rafting a fun adventure, which means that they take care of the business end, providing all safety equipment, transportation to launch points, and lessons for novices. When not on the water, the outdoors-loving crew also organizes mountain-biking and camping trips in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
The staff of Pocono Segway Tours leads groups of up to 5 sightseers on segway-propelled escapades through the scenic Split Rock Resort in the Pocono Mountains. A battery-powered personal transporter, the segway allows recreationalists of all shapes and sizes to navigate the gyroscopic machine along wooded paths and roadways while taking in the area's picturesque vistas during guided, multimile excursions.
Captained by experienced, trained drivers, All-Terrain Pinzgauer Tours strap adventurers into high-mobility military vehicles to explore the wilderness of Jim Thorpe. During the excursion, rugged Pinzgauer pilots share local history and wildlife trivia as they motor through creeks, past gingerbread houses, over boulders, and down the Hades Hollow mountainside. Partway through the 3.5-hour tour, passengers lace up their boots and trek through the woods of Bear Run until they near Rattlesnake Bluff. During an interlude at Blue Lake, tour members munch on snacks and wash them down with water before hunting for fossils and Benjamin Franklin’s discarded pipes. After ten miles of Pinzing up and down sheer slopes, splashing through streams, and snapping photos of verdant vistas, travelers are safely returned to the world of civilian vehicles. Any items that passengers bring along must be kept in their laps, limiting carry-ons to cameras, binoculars, and teddy bears.