A full quarter mile of outdoor track snakes across the grass, sending racers on an adrenaline-fueled grudge match of hairpin turns, pedal-pushing straightaways, and close finishes. A speedy fleet of go-karts sends drivers flying down the track in vehicles such as the swift 9-horsepower Interceptor, or the two-seater Tornado, which allows children to ride alongside their parents to learn proper three-point turn technique. An on-track scoreboard displays racers’ lap times with accuracy up to a 1,000th of a second, and printed results enshrine automotive achievements and bragging rights for display. Inside, a beeping, blinking arcade pits gamers head-to-head in pro-racing simulators, bouts of Guitar Hero, or rousing tournaments of air hockey.
At Club Kids, the idea that children possess boundless energy is shown—like the thought that life can survive south of the Mason-Dixon Line—to be a fabrication. Tots can clamber up a miniature rock wall and tube-filled playscape or visit the luxurious, exfoliating ball-pit to detox from a hard day of crayon-eating. Observe as youths develop their pupal pro-gaming skills on arcade machines or take twirls on the indoor merry-go-round and electric go-karting course. Club Kids also sells bounties of toys, tyke-sized clothing, and customized stuffed animals. Individual memberships net unlimited admittance to the 11,000-square-foot arena for kids ages 4–12, and the family membership lets siblings in on the fun as well.
Cables, wood, and rope snake throughout 5 acres of woodlands behind the Discovery Museum, forming the bridges, ropes, and ziplines that carry visitors on roaming wilderness adventures over the forest floor. The Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum challenges visitors as young as 7 years old with color-coded trails through the treetops, each ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Adventurers discover their own routes between platforms, and each path presents a different challenge, which prompts climbers to balance on ropes or sneak past owls’ nests without waking them. Visitors must scale these courses before soaring down ziplines through wispy branches and dappled sunlight. Though the courses are designed to challenge minds and bodies, guides keep adventurers safe with a double-connected system of locked harnesses. Course designers Outdoor Venture Group eschew motors and electricity to stay environmentally friendly, and designed their course around trees to give each enough space to grow its own treehouse.
The din of go-kart buzzing floats through the air throughout Stratford Speedway, calling drivers to their destinies: some as race-day participants, and others as champs. Drivers taller than 54 inches take the helm of low-sitting crafts adorned with real corporate brands to mimic true racecars. As drivers zoom around the wide, road-size track, tires line each edge, helping to prevent detours and wrong turns. Races tend to last five minutes each, and cars speed around the grand prix-style track for 20–25 laps. The speedway also serves as a welcoming oasis for birthday parties and events, with the track available for private rental by the half-hour and hour.
For the past 34 years, Soaring Adventures of America has presented earth-bound clients a variety of ways to explore the skies. First, their balloon rides take crews of up to four on a peaceful journey to heights as high as 2,000 feet in the air, capped off with a champagne or fruit juice toast. The pilots are FAA commercially certified, and the balloons are inspected for every 100 hours of flight to ensure a safe experience. More adventures are to be had on glider rides where passengers get the chance to grab the throttle and make their own way through any clouds or misspelled skywriting. For a maximum adrenaline rush, though, there's no better option than a tandem skydive and the raw thrill of falling 13,000 feet.