Back in 1999, brothers David and Rick Kueber noticed a lag in business at their chain of video-rental shops during the summer months, when no one wanted to be cooped up inside watching movies. The two put their heads together and found a rather unconventional solution to their problem: tanning beds. They installed a new fleet of skin-bronzing machines and sat back as so many clients flocked to their shop that the brothers were forced to open an entire store just to cater to their clients? tanning demands. This was the birth of Sun Tan City. Today, what started as an experimental side business boasts more than 200 locations across 16 states.
The staff at each location maintains a meticulously clean space, where they show clients to UV beds dubbed fast, faster, fastest, and instant. The beds include features such as facial tanners and self-contained air conditioners. Alternatively, clients can opt for the UV-free, automated VersaSpa system, which swathes physiques in a DHA, plant-based bronzing solution. The liquid reacts naturally with skin?s amino acids, creating an even coat as radiant as the high beams on Helios?s chariot within 46 seconds.
Jaden James Brewery isn't the Bonga family's first foray into the world of sippable fermentation. In the same space where they now create specialty beers, they've spent years crafting wines from the fruits of Michigan's bountiful vineyards and orchards.
"So many people come for the wine, but we often get one half of a couple who says, 'I like beer,'" says Bob Bonga. The brewery's current selection includes a cream ale to be savored between bites of pretzels, a Russian Imperial Stout, and an oatmeal porter that Bob characterizes as "wonderfully dark, with roasted tones of chocolate and coffee." The juice of apples harvested in northwest Grand Rapids goes into hard ciders.
The family also prepares a short list of snacks for visitors. In the future, the Bongas may grow their menu further by distilling their own liquors.
The ghosts, ghouls, and monsters at Witch's Walk may only come out after dark, but each year it gets a little trickier to avoid them since the maze’s designers keep increasing its level of difficulty. Explorers now wander through more than one mile of winding paths and switchbacks, passing by a cemetery, swamp, and snake pit before visiting the wood maze.
Witch's Walk avoids excessive blood, gore, and any occult themes, instead scaring visitors along dark paths with ghouls and monsters. It reserves the scares for the nighttime, allowing younger visitors to explore the maze safely during the day. After wandering through the maze, guests can explore the onsite gift shop for seasonal costumes, accessories, and snacks.
At Segway Tours of Grand Rapids, guides perch customers atop gyroscopic locomotors and teach them to tame the machines during fun tours. After giving a brief safety training, the experts lead the way along sidewalks amid the downtown shops and dining venues, pausing at local attractions such as the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Calder sculpture, and the Sixth Street dam. Guides cap sessions at eight riders, ensuring personal instruction, information, and even routes for parties who know the city. Tours set off throughout the week, barring deterrent external conditions such as lighting storms or the rebellion of local crossing guards.
Intrepid guests descend upon the four eerie haunted houses at Nights of Fear, voted the area's scariest venue by the Grand Rapids Press, boldly making their way through 80,000 square feet of terrifying spirits, lunatics, and extraterrestrials. Groups grasping through the Brainfield Sanitarium navigate decrepit hallways inhabited by deranged maniacs, and Rusty's Revenge traps patrons in a warehouse lab of sinister experiments, testing innocent subjects on the periodic table of elements. For terror with added depth, customers can tiptoe throughout the 3-D Maniac Mansion, where countless spirits patrol Victorian furnishings, or brave otherworldly fiends in Contact: Alien Encounter in 3-D, which is the site of a mysterious aircraft crash.
With 143 acres of sprawling meadows, woodlands, wetlands, and streams, Blandford Nature Center provides a sanctuary from the harsh indoor world of dust-mite wrangling and crippling Nintendo thumb. Support the center in its eco-endeavors with a family membership, providing clans of amateur arborists with a number of benefits, including: