The cracks of baseball bats, the slaps of softballs meeting mitts, and the advice of an experienced team of instructors resound within Thunder Stix Baseball & Softball Academy's cavernous 11,000-square-foot facility. Baseball and softball players alike hone their cuts inside eight pitching machines that can be adjusted from 40 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour, and brush up on their fielding technique inside four netted astroturf tunnels. Robert Banner—the academy's owner and the head softball coach at Alexis I. DuPont High School—and his instructors use the well-appointed digs to help players of all abilities develop their skills in every facet of the game, including batting, fielding, base running, and agility.
Atlantic Edge Dive Center's dive-masters might technically be classified as land mammals, but they spend enough time under water to earn the honorary title of amphibian. They spend days and nights teaching and leading dives, whether they're arming curious beginners with basic skills in one of their on-site swimming pools, or conducting open water certification tests off the coast. They go beyond simply certifying students for adventure: they provide rescue diving, dive master, and instructor training as well.
Their passion for the aquatic pastime draws them to all kinds of watery outposts. They lead excursions to the Florida keys to help rehabilitate the coral reefs surrounding the islands, and dive into the relatively calm waters of the tanks in the Baltimore National Aquarium, where they have a chance to see 53 species of fish feed in the secret underwater cafeteria.
Across five full days of action, kids young and semi-young will undergo a comprehensive camp curriculum chock-full of running, throwing, catching, blocking, teamworking, confidence building, high-fiving, and more. If desired, campers ages 11–14 with at least one year of tackle football experience may enroll in the accelerated-skills sections, which feature advanced lessons in the same non-contact environment. All campers are led by professional educators from the high-school and collegiate level, and each day's knowledge bowl soars even higher with visits from Eagles greats, ranging from Fred Barnett to the great Pete Retzlaff (Philadelphia Eagles players vary by camp location). By teaming up with experienced players and coaches, kids will be treated to comprehensive instruction that goes beyond purely mechanical skills.
A Reader’s Choice top placing ballroom studio, Take The Lead Dance Studio creates a fun and friendly environment for individuals looking to move. Students learn from a dynamic staff of instructors, many of whom have competed at the professional, international, and collegiate level. Teachers traffic in a variety of soft and silky moves, as students sample styles such as bachata, the hustle, salsa, and foxtrot. Couples can also collaborate with an instructor to learn a unique first dance for their wedding or other special occasion.
Though Longwood Gardens owes its current incarnation to the tireless efforts of industrialist, philanthropist, and conservationist Pierre du Pont, the property’s history stretches back to precolonial days. The Peirce family purchased the land from William Penn himself in 1700, and by the end of the century the Quakers had already begun developing an arboretum on the premises. In the century that followed, the homestead was purchased by an ambitious 36-year-old du Pont in 1906. Throughout the next 30 years, du Pont built a legacy rife with extravagant European-style fountains, a picturesque 600-foot garden walk, and 40 indoor and outdoor gardens. Today, visitors experience a bit of du Pont’s passion for the tropical flora of the Americas during jaunts through the property’s 1,077 colorful acres, where they run into everything from flowering trees and delicate hybrids to carnivorous pitcher plants. In addition to cultivating lush flora, the garden’s stewards also encourage growing minds with an ever-changing roster of events, such as internationally acclaimed musical acts and immersive educational experiences.
Ramsey’s Farm is Delaware’s most aesthetically ascendant pumpkin-dotted prairie, welcoming seasonal family outings and Halloween spirit-summoning sessions. Your Groupon is good for admission for two to the autumnal expanse. Once inside, browse the more-than-10-acre pumpkin patch for a perfectly ovoid jack-o’-lantern canvas, or try to collect all eight different varieties of pumpkin that the farm offers, which, once arranged in a perfect half-circle, reveal the answers to the following evening’s Jeopardy episode. After you’ve found the perfect combination of holiday gourds, hop onto a human-moving tractor for a halcyon hayride through the scenic Brandywine River Valley. Next, test your spatial senses and biological compass with a trip through an eight-acre corn maze, replete with in-maze educational opportunities that cover modern farming, local agriculture, and the hibernation schedules of the area's anthropomorphic mole population. Tykes looking to conquer something other than confusingly arranged cornstalks can explore a bale maze for hay-strewn, investigative excitement.
St. Anthony's Italian Festival, a weeklong, Renaissance-style party, celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Italy. Each year, the streets that surround St. Anthony of Padua Parish teem with events ranging from concerts and wine competitions to church tours and a full midway of rides and games. Participants include local merchants such as DiSabatino Landscaping, which has created a garden that evokes the Italian countryside. Vending booths supply food prepared by volunteers and some of the area's Italian restaurants. All proceeds from the festival benefit the St. Anthony of Padua Grade School.