Bailiwick Ranch & Discovery Zoo introduces visitors to exotic animals from around the world including camels, alligators, and Titan, a bengal tiger. Those who want to learn more can pair their trip with one of the educational shows offered daily at the zoo, or even have the animals come to them—certain zoo residents are available to travel for special events.
Over on the ranch side, kids can get up close and personal with a more domestic animal during horseback-riding lessons at the onsite equestrian center. After a few basic horsemanship lessons, students aged 7 and older can take part in trail rides around the ranch. The rides last anywhere from 30 minutes to a full day and traverse the nearby woods, mountains, and waterfalls of the Hudson Valley.
Ninety miles outside New York City, skipper Jeff Farber commands the sails of the Ophira as it glides along the Hudson, trading the skyline of the Big Apple for the idyllic backdrop of the Catskill Mountains. A professional crew caters to passengers' needs during excursions ranging from catered sunset cruises to practical sailing lessons.
"A black belt is just a white belt who never quit," say the encouraging senseis of Leclerc's Martial Arts. Masters of the Korean fighting art of tang soo do, which melds the traditions of shotokan karate, subak, taekkyon, and kung fu, Leclec's teaching tactics don't just instill students from ages 3.5 and up with defense skills. They also boost discipline, concentration, and moral, which make disciples crave new pants to match their ascending belt colors, and fuels them with desire to join their tournament teams. That positive attitude permeates all of their martial arts and cardio kickboxing classes, in which adults and children achieve their weight-loss goals and bond over their new-found flexibility.
Named for its setting at the base of the Shawangunk Ridge, Ridgeview Stables invites students to mount a horse and enjoy brisk rides through the leafy dens that it calls home. Riders as young as 3 participate in lessons under the care of owners Neal and Cynthia Mercier, who expose their students to not only English and Western riding but also the equally important aspects of proper horsemanship, care, and history. The well-rounded focus prepares riders young and old for a lifetime of sound riding and love for the sport, whether participating in horse shows or just sauntering along the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, which runs directly through the facility.
Stretched across 79 acres in Pleasant Valley, Meadow Creek Farm equips students with the skills necessary to become well-rounded horsemen. The full-service English riding stable conducts fun, creative private and group lessons, during which students learn not only how to ride, but also how to groom and tack horses. The facility's spacious turnout–complete with large paddocks and rippling grass fields–provides the ideal learning environment. But should inclement weather strike, Meadow Creek boasts an indoor arena, too, where horses will not be tempted to catch snowflakes on their tongues.