Sundance Balloons' vibrant hot-air balloons float adventurous passengers over scenic landscapes. Each one-hour journey commences as sojourners greet their flight crew at a pre-determined location, receive a briefing on what to expect during the excursion, and observe their balloon as it swells to more than 10 stories in height.
The woven gondolas glide 1,000 feet above the ground but can sometimes gently skim treetops or cornfields when wandering over the countryside. Since balloons drift with prevailing winds, there is no wind chill and travellers feel only a slight sensation of movement. As is tradition for ballooning, explorers of the appropriate age end their flight with a champagne toast to tranquility, beauty, and neighbourhoods that appear as giant smiley faces only visible from the air.
Back in 1970 when they planted their first vines, Redi and Roberto Quai might have never imagined their quaint winery would eventually produce more than 90,000 bottles in a single year. But more than a decade ago, the pair celebrated the sale of their millionth bottle, and production of great wines continues to grow. Situated upon one of the highest points in Elgin County, the winery's verdant grounds are home to a huge variety of grapes?all of which are processed, fermented, and transferred into barrels to age, on site. winemaker Jamie Quai's goals are simple: create great wines that are perfect for any situation, whether it's a seven-course dinner or a casual picnic. The result is a long roster of reds, whites, and fruit wines, ranging from Merlots to Rieslings.
Though already a funhouse of aquatic activity, Bingemans Big Splash recently added five new waterslides to their expansive water park. Adventure seekers can throw themselves down traditional tube slides such as Boomerango or attempt to beat family and friends in a race on Full Throttle. In between trips down the newborn water slides, a wave pool serves as the wading ground for both children and adults. To end a day of watery fun, guests can shake out their ears and bellybuttons at an outdoor mini-golf course or rock-climbing and ropes courses.
When Kees and Sabina Kennema purchased the nursery in Breslau that would become GreenWay Blooming Centre, they knew what they were doing. Sabina was a professional florist in Switzerland, and Kees's agricultural background includes plant breeding and seed research. The nursery enabled the couple to not only expand their production of hanging flower baskets, but also to share their love of gardening and horticulture with others.
Today, home gardeners find ample supplies and advice at the full-service greenhouse, and Kees himself is often the one lining their trunks with protective mats and helping them load up their purchases. Annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, shrubs, winter-hardy roses, patio plants, fruits, and bulbs line the shelves, and the staff specializes in plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies, which they've planted in abundance at their lushly landscaped butterfly garden. There, visitors relax on benches waiting for a hummingbird to sip some nectar or a butterfly to break into a rare tap-dance routine. The garden also serves as the entrance to the butterfly farm and conservatory, which showcases local and tropical butterflies from the collection of John G. Powers. Powers, also known as the Butterfly Man, has studied butterflies for more than 42 years and presented his collections to Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II, and President Ronald Reagan.
In addition to the butterfly-visiting opportunities, kids can contemplate the fleeting nature of human accomplishment in the indoor sandbox or visit farm animals, including Pepsi the donkey and Maurice the llama. Schools and tour groups occasionally stop by the centre to learn more about nature, butterfly gardening, livestock farming, and other topics.
Through the 80s and early 90s Graham Rawlinson accumulated more than a decade of experience piloting jets, hot air balloons, and ultra lights. Knowing how moving soaring through the sky can be, he opened Skyward Balloons in 1993 to share the experience with others. Today, Graham leads a team of Transport Canada–approved commercial pilots that ferry guests into the sky in kaleidoscopically coloured balloons. Leisurely sky-floats take guests 500–3,500 feet in the air, cruising over cities and the countryside for scenic champagne tours. Sightseers revel in aerial views of yawning pastures as they soar along, waving to earthbound onlookers and comparing lakes and ponds to unassuming puddles as lush treetops appear small enough to use for cleaning one's ears. The crew can accommodate corporate and group outings and are also certified to train student pilots. Their fleet of 10-storey-tall balloons can even help companies and public communication programs get the word out through airborne advertising.
Much like a classic horror film, Panic at Pine Stump Hollow scares visitors with authentic, suspenseful attractions rather than 3-D special effects. Actors dressed in terrifying ensembles and lit only by dim torches and the light of the moon prowl the half-mile haunted forest walk in search of nervous explorers. The trail, which features a pitch-black tunnel and a "vortex" passage, eventually leads visitors to the haunted house, where even more macabre ghouls wait to scream, snarl, and whisper bad stock advice to wary walkers. The terrors eventually give way to a relaxed group area, where a warm bonfire welcomes those who made it through the attractions in one piece. Though inciting fright is important to the staff, helping out is just as high on their to-do list—a portion of the attractions' proceeds goes to support the St. Clair County Child Abuse and Neglect Council.