The Duck N Dodge is not your average 5K—it's chock full of gopher holes, a slip 'n' slide, and slingshot stands, and those who sport beards longer than 2 inches are treated like kings. On a course designated by flannel shirts, towels, bras, clothesline, and duct tape, runners tackle obstacles, solve challenges, and soak up mud along the way. The obstacles dare racers to scale mud-slicked ramps, leap fences, and rampage through Aunt Emmie's messy kitchen, where if you're not quick, you might get roped into dish duty. Once they cross the finish line sufficiently coated in mud, participants can refuel at the grub tub or snap commemorative shots in a photo booth. The Duck N Dodge 5K race is created for ages 13 and up, while youngsters can take part in the Duckling Dash which is intended for ages 6-12.
But the race is about more than just good ol' fashion fun. Because everyone who helps out on race day is a volunteer, the organizers are able to donate all proceeds to support charities including World Vision, Back2Back, and Warner Camp.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable visitors to fortify their physical well-being with a cornucopia of advanced fitness equipment and certified personal trainers. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man or one of his many secretaries tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength-training gear or top-of-the-line cardio machines, which feature televisions and other media diversions. A friendly, unintimidating atmosphere provides a refreshing change of pace from aloof gym employees and ear-splitting pump-up jams. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling.
West Michigan Skydiving Academy isn't about baby steps: instead of having their new flyers ease into the sport with a tandem jump, students start with a solo skydive. They're not completely alone, of course, as a USPA-certified instructor jumps with them, guiding them through the freefall and parachute deployment. But it's certainly a more exhilarating approach, one that sets students up for WMSA's more extreme air sports.
Once they've completed the appropriate amount of jumps, students can graduate to activities such as freeflying, in which jumpers move through a series of positions during their freefall, including back-to-Earth, head-up flying, and head-down flying. There's also wingsuit flying, for which jumpers sport a suit equipped with extra fabric between the legs and under the arms. The suit, which is colloquially referred to as a flying squirrel or bat suit due to its resemblance to those animals, allows jumpers to quite literally fly through the air, whether from a plane jump or BASE jump point.
It's 7 p.m. on Thursday, and the lights have just turned off at Centershot Gun Range. A group of competitors can't see their targets, but they know that for a matter of seconds, each one will light up—first at 10 feet, then 20 feet, and so on, all the way up to 60 feet. This special Dark Shoot happens every week at Centershot, and it's one of the many ways the business establishes itself as more than a gun range. In addition, its staff hosts shooting leagues, and firearms instructors teach both private and group classes.
Silver Lining Aviation's certified instructors create adventures like this every day as they teach visitors to soar behind the controls of sport aircrafts such as weight-shift trikes. Silver Lining's team takes prospective pilots on introductory flights that allow them to experience aircrafts such as the Evolution Trikes Weight Shift Trike and nibble on different flavors of clouds. The aviation experts also sell sport aircrafts, which patiently wait onsite as customers work through custom ground- and flight-training programs. In most cases, the flight instructors prepare their pupils for aerial navigation in as little as two weeks. They also provide 24/7 support, and cook oil soup to feed hungry aircraft.
Twenty-four hours a day, the chefs of Sandhill Café pacify growling tummies with a menu that spans the spectrum of American comfort food classics, from stacks of fluffy pancakes to bacon-cheddar cheeseburgers. Whether entertaining late-night hankerings for fried chicken and waffles, or celebrating Opposite Day by eating dinner for breakfast, diners can immerse themselves in the café’s laid-back, neighborhood feel, marked by its dark hardwood floors, subtle lighting, and TVs showing hotly contested staring contests.