The Gladiator Assault Challenge confronts racers with a 5- to 7-mile course surrounded by scenic woodlands, cheering spectators, and up to 30 intense obstacles. Gladiators aged 18 and older go solo or join forces with other competitors to ford the waist-high waters of Mud Mayhem, rope-swing through Jungle Love, and use oversize novelty scissors to break the finish tape. Additional obstacles test physical stamina with 12-foot vertical walls, fallen trees, and cargo nets that act as moats blocking the finish line. After the Slideway ushers racers to a skidding finish, a complimentary beer and raucous after party lend ample time to scrawl "wash me" on opponents' backs.
Multicolored holds dot the climbing walls inside North Wall, granting visitors a variety of gripping surfaces and seemingly limitless routes during their scaling expeditions. Since 1994, the rock-climbing haven has been beckoning climbing enthusiasts to its sprawling confines, where it offers classes and private lessons for climbers of all abilities. Participants can even join teams, in which they can boost their skills for competitions or leisurely scrambles up the noses on Mt. Rushmore.
Even from a distance, you can make out the dark pockets in the sandstone cliffs next to the seaside village of Matala on Crete’s southern shore. The cliff is riddled with ancient caves, some of which are large enough to shelter sleeping nooks. Nowadays, these caves are famous for being the 1960s refuge of wandering hippies such as Joni Mitchell, who sang about "scratchy rock and roll beneath the Matala moon" in her song "Carey." Rick Sweitzer, the executive director of the adventure-tours company The Northwest Passage, fell in love with Crete during the same era as Mitchell and began designing tours to share the island's splendors. An eight-day kayaking trip explores Matala Bay and other hidden treasures along the Cretan coast. After five to six hours of paddling per day—which always includes a cappuccino break—you’ll feast on Greek specialties such as moussaka, beef stew, and stuffed grape leaves before settling into a cozy, family-run inn. Days 1–2: After catching your own flight to Heraklion International Airport on Crete's northern coast, look for a sign labeled "NWP" to meet up with staff. The trip starts with a tour of the nearby Palace of Knossos, an ancient Minoan palace that predates the Trojan War. Afterward, head on to Matala, where guides outfit you with a paddle, a life vest, and a spray skirt for basic sea-kayaking lessons in Matala Bay. Days 3–6: Each day, the group of 6–17 kayakers paddles between seaside inns and small restaurants known as tavernas, leaving plenty of free time for swimming and sunbathing. You’ll visit historic sites along the way, including Minoan ruins and Agios Pavlos, an 11th-century Byzantine chapel where St. Paul is said to have shipwrecked. Head inland to hike the Samariá Gorge, a national park filled with rare kri-kri goats. Other stops includes the coastal town of Chora Sfakia and an optional trek on the E4 European Long Distance trail, which runs west all the way to Spain.Days 7–8: The trip winds down in Loutro, a cluster of whitewashed houses accessible only via sea. On the final evening, guides will lead a sunset hike to the ruins of a Venetian fortress on top of a nearby ridge. The next morning, hop on a shuttle or hitch a lift with a passing dolphin back to Heraklion. If time allows, you can pop into the city's archeological museum before boarding your plane ride home.See the full itinerary for more information.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
Inspired by the German Turnverein associations of the early 19th century, the Milwaukee Turners first came together in the mid 1800s, gaining their charter from the Wisconsin State Legislature in 1855. In 1882, the group constructed Turner Hall, and the building has housed the organization and its stockpiles of sweatbands ever since. Over the decades, the hall has welcomed in visitors with a mission to help them create sound bodies and minds.
Though they derive their name from “Turnen,” the German word for gymnastics, the Milwaukee Turners teach visitors much more than just how to lasso a pommel horse. In addition to the gymnastic school, the organization schedules classes for fencing and yoga. Their rock-climbing wall's top ropes take climbers up 26 feet as they practice belaying techniques. To strengthen minds, the Turners lead meetings such as the 4th Street Forum, which discusses issues crucial to the community, and host concerts within the Turner Hall Ballroom.
Now a national landmark, Turner Hall echoes the organization's rich history. Sprung from the mind of famed architect Henry H. Koch, the building's design includes an Italianate façade crafted with Cream City brick and panoramic paintings that make visitors think they're trapped inside a cartoon. The hall boasts a full restaurant, beer hall, and two-story ballroom, making it an ideal locale for special occasions.
In the 15 years since its opening, Adventure Rock has upheld its objective of granting guests of all ages and experience levels a chance to learn how to climb. The staff meticulously maintains amenities including 12,000 square feet of textured climbing surfaces and bouldering caves. Sculpted arêtes and cracks challenge forearms as intrepid wall-climbers chart a course up colored pathways to seek council with the sentient ductwork at the faux mountain's 35-foot peak. Under the helm of experienced instructors, students learn the ins and outs of ascension via climbing classes. As climbers scramble upward on more than 40 top ropes, air-conditioning keeps faux mountainsides from awkwardly perspiring geode sweat drops. While the indoor facility offers a controlled environment in which to learn and practice, Adventure Rock’s staff also unleashes patrons’ inner adventurers via private outdoor climbing classes held at Devil’s Lake as well as portable rock wall rentals for all manner of party or event.