Saddling over 90 years of combined horsemanship experience, including competition at the national level, the instructors at Out Side In focus their equestrian energies on benefitting the greater good. Led by executive director and psychotherapist Jennifer McVoy, the team spends much of its time focusing on equine-assisted psychotherapy, or EAP, a therapeutic approach that aims to improve quality of life for at-risk youth by using horses as catalysts for social and emotional growth. Riding lessons, offered in the disciplines of both English and Western, are aimed at helping riders of all ages and skill levels improve self esteem by walking a mile in someone else's horseshoes. Beginners can expect to start with the basic, entry-level skills of horse care, anatomy, saddling, and safety techniques before progressing to more advanced skills, such as jumping, barrel racing, or riding a horse through a drive-thru.
On the edge of Lake Michigan, three generations of family members wade out into the water for a paddleboard class. Some seem apprehensive, unsure of how the lesson will unfold, but the mood changes once Susan, the groups' 70-year-old matriarch, stands atop her board and dips her paddle into the water. Encouraged by her bravery, the rest of the boarders stand upright and step out of their comfort zones.
Real experiences like these set the tone for MACkite's classes, which cover kiteboarding, snow kiting, surfing, and standup paddleboarding. Instructors put nervous students at ease, helping them face fears of falling off a board or accidentally pulling the lake’s plug. The experts can also add inventive twists to lessons, such as leading yoga poses on top of paddleboards.
Additionally, MACkite's crew hangs up their wetsuits and waterproof cummerbunds to man the business’s retail shop. Known to sport silly garb such as pink board shorts and fake mustaches, they help visitors peruse Naish equipment as well as one of the largest selections of Cabrinha gear in the Western hemisphere. Their extensive stock boasts individual items such as wetsuits and complete packages.
The bayous and creeks flowing into the Grand River form an inviting home for wildlife, including eagles that nest in the trees along the shoreline. Perched in their aeries, the birds study the water's surface. Spotting a disturbance, an eagle lifts off and glides toward the water, opening its talons to pluck the prey suspended just beneath the surface.
The team at Lakeshore Kayak Rental lends their kayaks—inspected and certified by the DNR—and other watercraft to help visitors stumble upon sights such as these throughout the gentle Grand River and its connecting waterways. The staff, which includes instructors claiming certifications from the American Canoe Association, provides lessons for beginner kayakers, canoeists, and paddleboarders, and recommends areas for more experienced outdoorsmen to explore. With advanced notice, Lakeshore's crew can also arrange transportation to and from some area lodgings and farther-away launch points. To encourage camaraderie throughout the kayaking community, Lakeshore's team hosts the annual Grand River Kayak Race.
Sitting squarely on the waterfront and a quick mile from the beaches of Lake Michigan, Sun Sports Rentals delights aquatic enthusiasts with a menagerie of rentable wave-skimming vessels. Solo kayakers can enjoy a leisurely drifting day for one, calling upon the eager staff to help launch the floating cocoon or to set the mood by making frantic seal noises, while vertical aficionados can mount a standup paddleboard and stir the gentle waters into whirlpools of core-building energy. Paddling partners can suit up a tandem kayak or canoe, strapping on the provided life vests that come with every rental to ensure a safe bon voyage. Those looking to best Poseidon by louder means may also opt to apply this Groupon's value toward the rental of a jet ski ($320 for eight hours) or speed boat ($365 for eight hours), as long as they are over 18, provide a valid credit card and driver's license, and will admit to having seen Waterworld more than once.
As the name suggests, Anytime Fitness is open all day and all night, seven days a week, 487 days a year. But just because it's open at all hours doesn't mean it surrenders its locker rooms to the dark forces of the night: security is active there around the clock. Besides creating a safe gym atmosphere that fits your life's schedule rather than vice versa, Anytime's hours cuts down on crowds and long lines to use each club's array of cardio equipment, circuit equipment, and free weights.