When owner Aaron Stevens says that climbing “builds strength, self-confidence, and trust,” he’s speaking from experience. For much of his life, Aaron suffered from acrophobia, otherwise known as a fear of heights. To deal with his fear, he took an unexpected strategy. He started climbing.
Today, when he walks around Climb Iowa’s 10,000 square feet of top-roping, bouldering, and lead-climbing stations, his proudest moments are when he sees guests “persevere on the climbing wall and achieve a level they never thought they could attain.” An avid outdoorsman, Aaron and his crew oversee simulated climbing terrains that include cracks, overhangs, laybacks, verticals, and slabs. In addition to open sessions, Climb Iowa’s team members lead classes tailored for both beginning and intermediate to advanced climbers. They also offer yoga classes to keep climbers lithe, along with youth summer camps and a recreational and competitive climbing team. Beyond the classes, an extensive stock of gear equips climbers for adventures inside and outside of the gym. Climb Iowa’s construction reflects its team’s love of the outdoors, sporting an eco-friendly design with plentiful natural lighting, geothermal heating and cooling, bicycle racks, and parking spaces for Flintstone cars.
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.
Sleepy Hollow Sports Park sprawls over 80 acres of fields and slopes buzzing with a variety of year-round activities, from go-karts and bumper boats to downhill sledding. The team puts together four 5K races throughout the year: H20 Run, Sno Run, Mud Run, and Beer Run. During these meticulously constructed events, Sleepy Hollow will pit runners against manmade obstacles and natural obstacles.
Being an Iowa-based company, Sleepy Hollow supports more than 300 groups annually, providing funding for causes ranging from local schools to cancer research. The park also serves as the permanent residence of the annual Des Moines Renaissance Faire and Haunted Scream Park.