At Raynee Days Riding Stable, riders receive comprehensive instruction on the basics of horseback riding, from barn safety to proper form in the saddle. Students and their horses practice working together as a team, developing a bond centered around body language, self-esteem, mutual respect, and a shared love for snacking on raw oats. Starting with ground lessons, which are catered to all ages, the instructors impart information about basic horse anatomy, grooming, and washing, and all-ages horsemanship classes cover all the necessities of equine care with more in-depth instruction.
Bert Earehart grew up on horse farms alongside his three brothers, learning horsemanship fundamentals by watching his father and sneaking rides on his siblings’ shoulders. He and his brothers honed their craft by working with a wide range of breeds, including morgans, arabians, and ponies.
Today, hoofs beat sharp drumrolls across 38 acres of woods and fenced pastures at Bert’s own operation, Copper Leaf Stable. Bert passes on his keen equine insight to students through lessons on the stable’s half-mile outdoor track or inside the heated indoor arena. Instruction can be geared toward riders with all skill sets and goals, from those aiming to show one day to those searching for outdoor exercise or trying not to disappoint the yearbook writers who named them Most Likely to Become a Train Robber.
Sometimes, seeing a city from the water that surrounds it gives you a deeper appreciation of its beauty. That's the approach behind Foxy Lady Cruises, a company that grants its guests sweeping views of Jacksonville from their perches on a luxurious yacht. From the various open-air decks, visitors can take in skyscrapers, bridges, and squirrels playing chess in nearby parks during dinner cruises, cocktail cruises, narrated cruises, and even weddings.
Laura Bronk loves to dance?she's been at it since age 4?and her passion fueled her to work with master dance teachers. She opened Fancy Dancer Studio in 1997, and recruited a well-studied group of teachers to pass along their experience and love for the art form, just as her teachers did. Instructors include Mary Innes, who's skilled in working with young children, Zoe Bronk, who's a member of the Dance Masters of Wisconsin and teaches jazz, tap, and hip-hop, and Jennifer Kornowske, who began the Middle Eastern dance troup Navah Mirage. Fancy Dancer's classes are diverse as its teachers?one night can see both 3-year-olds dancing and singing along to goofy songs in Junior Tap and adult women tying on jangling hip belts and undulating in fast-paced belly-dance classes.
NRA-certified instructors host classes including handgun safety, covering fundamentals such as proper grip and stance.
Resting beneath natural light from the skylights mounted above it, the hulking figure of the 1.2 million-pound Union Pacific Big Boy cloaks visitors in a shadow that stretches for nearly 50 yards. As guests ascend the monstrous cab of this steam locomotive, they enter the centerpiece of the National Railroad Museum, a chamber echoing with more than 150 years of American railroading history.
After exiting Big Boy, guests can view a computer-generated porter that recounts how African-American rail workers formed the nation's first all-black labor union, and another stop invites passengers to view inside a portion of General Eisenhower's WWII command train. Elsewhere in the museum, various collections are housed with more than 15,000 photographs, archives such as maps and engineering drawings, and more than 5,000 artifacts including uniforms and tools.
The National Railroad Museum has over 60 pieces of rolling stock, including diesel, steam, and electric locomotives, and passenger and freight cars. Among these are some of the most influential and unique pieces in railroading history, including a number of items that pertain to the state of Wisconsin.
Other must-sees of the museum include General Motors’ experimental Aerotrain; the streamlined Pennsylvania Railroad No. 4890, a GG-1 electric locomotive; and the Frederick Bauer Drumhead Collection, the largest, single collection of railroad drumheads known to exist in the United States. Most facilities are accessible, except where rolling stock cannot be altered due to their historic nature. The Museum’s train ride is accessible, and a wheelchair lift is available.
A train ride is offered on a daily basis from May through September and guided tours are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Museum also hosts a variety of special events for all ages.