"Summer experiences for children should be fun, enriching and affordable." That's the overarching philosophy that Greenhill Day Camp runs by, and it's no surprise that it puts children's needs at the top. Connected to the exploration-centric Plymouth Meeting Friends School, the camp builds those experiences for kids each day with educational summertime activities. Camp sessions are grouped both by age and by theme, giving children the chance to choose a preferred camp week—perhaps one based on learning culinary skills or the wonders of science. In between the daily morning assembly and the campers' sleepy evening commutes home, they spend time splashing at the indoor pool, crafting sculptures from recycled finds, and figuring out which counselor might be the one who's cool with a surprise puppy visitor.
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.
Philadelphia Rock Gyms challenges climbers of all skill levels with 2,000 square feet of climbing terrain, 1,500 square feet of bouldering plains, and more than 30 top ropes. Initiates to the vertical sport can get the hang of climbing basics during the gym’s variety of lessons, which impart skills such as proper technique, safety, and the ability to tell which rocks open a supervillain's secret lair. The gym also features a variety of team-building opportunities and private room rentals, as well as a pro shop that outfits patrons with the proper climbing equipment available for rent or purchase.
Blue, red, and yellow pads sprawl across 12,000 square feet of gymnastic playground. Mini gymnasts fly on three sets of uneven bars, balance delicately on five regulation-sized balance beams, and launch themselves into the air on the ground-level trampoline. The instructors spot them during programs for all ages, starting with Mommy & Me classes and working their way up to competitive teams.
Seven extreme athletes and one Royal Marine banded together to design Spartan Races' intense miles-long courses, each strewn with obstacles to test resilience, stamina, and strength. Clad in event T-shirts, runners collect smudges and stains as they clamber across mud pits, slide unscathed under barbed wire, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as three miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
Helmed by a team of passionate climbing coaches, both of The Gravity Vault's locations surround climbers with more than 13,000 square feet of climbing space. Walls tower past 35 feet, mimicking such natural rock formations as overhangs, keyhole arches, and slabs, and bouldering areas challenge climbers with a latticework of problems that—unlike most of life's—can't simply be solved with dynamite and a pair of roller skates. Visitors can choose from up to 60 top-rope stations, trusting either the trained staff or a certified fellow climber to man the ropes while they scramble to the summit. When not dangling from a hold or saving lost kittens from a rappel ledge, members can bulk up in the cardiovascular-training area.
The indoor pool at Five Star Aquatics serves as a classroom for swimming lessons. In its 90-degree waters, certified instructors teach students to float, breathe rhythmically, and ultimately grow gills. Besides minting new swimmers, instructors lead classes for competitive and casual athletes, as well as individuals with limited mobility.
Other instructors at Five Star Aquatics teach dry-land classes such as yoga and Zumba. To further enhance vitality, massage therapists welcome clients into a private room for bodywork sessions that relieve aches and restore peace of mind.