For more than 10 years, Forest of Fear has been luring thrill-seekers into the woods to face 5 acres of nerve-testing frights. As they traverse the twisting, moonlit path, visitors encounter the forest's ghoulish inhabitants, including a devilish doctor, cannibalistic circus clowns, and a hallway filled with tragic brides stuck wearing off-white dresses, even though they'd ordered ivory. Guests set their own pace on the self-guided path, allowing them to stop along the way to get a better view of what’s lurking in the creepy cemetery or inside a school bus inhabited by forces more sinister than scholastic.
Though the haunted forest may scare, its overarching intent is help the community. All of the profits go to the Kentwood Jaycees, who use the money to sponsor community projects and help purchase food for families in need during the holidays. The staff is composed entirely of volunteers, and local Boy Scout troop 344 provides monster-themed concessions to warm chilled patrons as they await their turn to be terrorized.
Since opening in 1930, Kent County Conservation League has sheltered shooting fields and courses dispersed among more than 170 acres of wooded and open land. Sharpshooters of all experience levels can mill about a sporting clay course's 13 shooting stations as they shatter targets flung from abundant angles or nestle into a five-stand course's covered range before eliminating 25 clays. The League's rifle range distributes targets at intervals between 50 and 300 yards and their pistol range remains lit for nighttime sessions. As they draw back a tightly strung bow on the archery course, patrons can finally live out their childhood Robin Hood fantasies without donning green tights in an effort to frighten neighborhood kings.
Certified instructor Tim Wiley gives pupils the benefit of more than 15 years' skeet shooting experience during group or private lessons on five fields huddled behind Kent County Conservation League's clubhouse. Visitors can find additional instruction at defensive shooting sessions or a shooting program for youngsters that covers trap, sporting clays, and skeet. Delectable bites await famished gunslingers at Shooter's Grill, and a pro shop equips patrons with gun-toting apparel and silver bullets for clays that transform into werewolves. Kent County Conservation League hosts private and public events annually, and their grounds have welcomed major shooting outings such as the 2010 Michigan Sporting Clays Championship.
Engines start to roar, propellers spin, and a large parachute expands into the sky, carrying a light aircraft and its passengers toward the clouds. Silver Lining Aviation's certified instructors create adventures like this every day as they teach visitors to soar behind the controls of sport aircrafts such as powered parachutes, weight-shift trikes, and gyroplanes. Led by licensed FAA flight instructor Craig Ewing, Silver Lining's team takes prospective pilots on introductory flights that allow them to experience aircrafts such as the Airwolf 912 and nibble on different flavors of clouds. The aviation experts also sell sport aircrafts, which patiently wait onsite as customers work through custom ground- and flight-training programs. In most cases, the flight instructors prepare their pupils for aerial navigation in as little as two weeks. They also assist new pilots with replacement parts, provide 24/7 support, and cook oil soup to feed hungry aircraft.
Wild Beaver Saloon's energetic staff dish out classic bar eats, selections from a full bar, and the occasional choreographed bar-top dance. Fun-filled evenings kick off with a slate of thin crust pizza such as pepperoni ($8.99) or three types of cheese ($7.99), while domestic beers ($3.25) sooth heated palates and gasping beer fish. Imported suds ($4.25) present varying tastes of foreign degree, pairing well with home favorites such as a signature chicken quesadilla, a triumvirate of chicken, melted cheese, and red onions ($7.99). Pairs of chili dogs ($5.99) and full racks of smoked ribs ($18.99) challenge hands to stay free of slippery sauces in preparation for games of pool or longest handshake contests.
Despite the race’s assertion that, “the Old Farts course is no joke,” the 5K and full- and half-marathon event is still presented with quite a bit of levity. Top 10 finishers in the 5K, for instance, are awarded whoopee cushions for their efforts in a race known colloquially as the Who Cut the Cheese? 5K, and the full marathon crests a hill named after the actor and human punch line Chuck Norris. Amid this casual atmosphere, runners of all ages compete on wooded courses that are as beautiful as they are difficult. Hundreds of feet of elevation changes unfold as the course progresses through a mix of tree-lined trails, gravel roads, and pavement.
Rick the Reptile Guy, the resident reptile connoisseur of Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park, guides visitors through interactive reptile shows followed by tractor rides through the rest of the park’s sweeping expanse. During each private 45-minute reptile show, guests can pet and cavort with slithering wonders such as giant pythons, boa constrictors, and bodybuilding earthworms. Giant turtles and life forms of the crocodilian variety also preen for audiences. Outside the boundaries of the cold-blooded extravaganza, visitors can relax on a tractor ride through 80 acres of exotic creatures such as zebras, monkeys, and parrots that have retired from their careers as extremely blunt telemarketers. Groupon customers can bring additional guests to their private reptile show for an additional fee of $8 per person (the cost of park admission).
Adhering to the USA Gymnastics slogan, "Start here, go anywhere," the instructors at R-Athletics prepare youths for physically fit futures, whether they continue on to be competitive gymnasts or competitive gymnasts' favorite hairdressers. Lofty windows fill the expansive facility with sunlight, spotlighting the professional gymnastics equipment that speckles the floors of colorful mats. Amid the tumble pits and trampolines, a staff of qualified professionals leads youngsters 18 months old to 18 years old in gymnastics and cheerleading visits throughout the week. As their children master vaults, bars, and beams, parents can watch proudly from the facility's ground-level and elevated viewing centers.