Since 1956, Valley Mill Kayak School has trained countless kayakers, including the first kayaking recipients of Olympic medals, on the deep waters of the Potomac River. A former Olympian and four-time freestyle-kayaking world champion, Eric Jackson personally designs the school's lesson plans around modern whitewater-paddling techniques. Eric trains each of the school's American Canoe Association–certified instructors, who, in turn, dispense their knowledge to beginners and proficient paddlers alike.
Through a wealth of small classes, private lessons, and occasional clinics taught by Eric himself, pupils discover such skills as paddling and basic strokes, or attempting to work your kayak into rhythmic-gymnastics routines.
In 1992, Dewey Heffner and his son George started selling black tire tubes out of their truck under a sign that read, "Butts Tubes." Through the years, the seed of this roadside tubing company sprouted 11 different outdoor activities and matured into Harpers Ferry Adventure Center.
At Harper's Adventure Center, single- and multiday adventures fuse adrenaline-packed thrills with the scenery of the Potomac and Shenandoah River regions. More than 100 species of birds, 60 types of butterflies, and flocks of wild birthday balloons fill the sky on hiking trails, which wind through hilly terrain. The crashing sound of Bull Falls forms the soundtrack for whitewater-rafting trips, and treetop canopies serve as the decor for ziplining.
Drawing from these activities, Harpers Ferry Adventure Center's crew can design custom adventure packages or help customers to choose a predesigned trip. They also lead team-building retreats using outdoor activities to teach universal skills such as working toward a common goal or ziplining to the stage for business presentations.
• For $50, you get a Lion Level animal adoption and member benefits package (a $100 value). • For $125, you get a Pride Level animal adoption and member benefits package (a $250 value). • For $250, you get a Savannah Level animal adoption and member benefits package (a $500 value). • For $499, you get an Africa Level animal adoption and member benefits package (a $1,000 value). The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo’s range of adoption plans enables donors to contribute to a year's worth of care and feeding for an animal of their choice, including african lions, amazon parrots, and bengal tigers. Adoptive animal parents can use their set of guest passes to visit the sun bears, kangaroos, crash-landed martians, and galapagos tortoises that roam the preserve's 50 acres. A hundred colorful fish frolic in Delaney's Japanese Koi Pond near Asian plants and a recently naturalized waterfall, and the dozen inhabitants of nearby Alligator Bayou glide and snap through a miniature Louisiana swamp stocked with spanish moss. One-hour safari rides, led by reanimated 19th-century British explorers, trek through the preserve's heart, where bison, zebra, and llamas approach the truck to be petted, fed, and photographed.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Recommended Age Group: All ages
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Fly-fishing lessons and guided trips
I'm a first-timer. How do you get me ready for the experience?
If it is your first time fly fishing, we will discuss and practice the basics of casting, tying knots, selecting flies, and finding fish. We will show you how to setup your fly rod and tie on flies, depending on what we are fishing for.
As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?
Fishing comes with with alot of unexpected events. Our instructors and guides work to resolve any situations that arise. They are also certified in first aid and CPR.
Rob Snowhite is a professional fly-fishing consultant devoted to training and tutoring aspiring anglers. His multi-tiered background in consulting, education, fly-fishing, biological science, and writing The New Adventures of Old Christine fan-fiction gives him a trained vantage point from which to approach his craft. During your two-hour guided trip, you and a friend, loved one, or sentient pet cat get to explore the DC area's waterways while walking in, wading, or canoe floating over your choice of lake, river, pond, or stream. Rob will carefully explain both the mechanical and theoretical aspects of fly-fishing while emphasizing only the catch-and-release method of fishing, as well as sustainable ways of exploring the water. Learn the basics of casting on grass or on water, knot tying, rods, reels, flies, entomology, hydrology, and more. All equipment is provided for the trip, as well as drink and snack rewards for staying on top of your fish-based fly game (lunch is optional and an additional $10 per person).