A community presence in Kansas City since 1860, the Greater Kansas City YMCA forwards its mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages and backgrounds at its 18 locations. Each bustling outpost proffers members an embarrassment of fitness and entertainment riches, with everything from youth camps and after-school programs to group exercise classes, such as cycling, core training, and Pilates. Clubs and social organizations help members meet like-minded friends, and family activities strengthen bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly.
Both awarded a Four Star rating by Golf Digest, the Outlaw and Posse courses at Paradise Pointe Golf Complex hug the jagged waterline of Smithville Lake, jutting out onto peninsulas to incorporate picturesque coves. Sculpted into the landscape in 1982, the original Posse course leads golfers over rolling bluegrass fairways that present multiple opportunities for golfers to appreciate the lake's grandeur and make bets with willing waterfowl. The Outlaw course, characterized by zoysia fairways, large greens, and ample opportunities to bask in the maritime surroundings, was added 12 years later. Wind makes for a formidable foe on both courses, placing a premium on proper club selection and choice of ball flight.
Posse Course at a Glance:
Outlaw Course at a Glance:
For years, David Allison and Ryan Gerster—both standup comedians—worked as bartenders and cooks at bars and pubs, alternating work nights with comedy gigs. So when they decided to team up and take the reins at First Ward House, a storied saloon first opened as a hotel in 1878, they already had a vision for the place. "We've worked in bars and we know what people want," Allison told a writer for St. Joseph News-Press. Their formula consists of a broad selection of beers and spirits, live bands, and nourishment that ranges from specialty burgers to late-night pulled-pork tacos.
Dark wood floors and exposed brick walls lend First Ward House a timeless ambiance in which visitors can entertain themselves with games of Keno, billiards, and pool. With its close proximity to the historic French River Trade Route and the paths of the Pony Express, the pub is rumored to be haunted by spirits who finish patrons' beers when they're not looking.
The certified trainers and divers at Big Joe Scuba wade students through all watery courses, from beginner to PADI-certified instructor. They accomplish this through classroom instruction and dips into their heated pool, where students become accustomed to breathing and maneuvering underwater. After they advance to open-water courses, the classroom extends to Beaver Lake, Arkansas, for diving practice in natural surroundings. A full-service dive center, Big Joe Scuba also rents and sells a complete line of gear and organizes diving jaunts to exotic locales such as Cozumel, Mexico.
Wild Rose Equine Center hosts horseback-riding lessons and trail rides on the bucolic expanse upon which it resides. Riders of all skill levels can learn from the expert staff during regular lessons. These sessions are tailored to each student’s goals, whether they would like to compete in shows or take a horse to the prom.
Hands dig into the springtime earth, heaving up tufts of Missouri dirt cooled by the nearby waters of historic Jowler Creek. The year is 2004 and Colleen and Jason Gerke are trying their hands at winemaking, planting 250 norton grapevines in the ground near their home. Today, the 7-acre plot of land houses more than 3,000 vines, protected by insect-consuming chickens, rodent-hunting hawks and owls, and weed-noshing sheep who graze at carefully managed intervals. The sustainable vineyard sprouts grapes used to concoct eight award-winning wines—from dry to sweet—which are crafted with solar-powered devices. Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery regularly hosts tours for up to 20 people, where patrons spend approximately 90 minutes observing the crash-diet techniques grapes undergo before squeezing into Jowler Creek's trademark baby blue sealed bottles.
Athletes push the limits of their physical and mental fortitude during 5-kilometer Rugged Maniac races. Runners fling themselves over 12-foot walls and scuttle through swampy terrain under nets of barbed wire and over napping lumberjacks. They careen down a 50-foot water slide and soar over pits of fire, dashing through forests, fields, motocross tracks, and ski slopes along the way. Waves of 300 competitors depart at 30-minute intervals, ensuring zero wait time at obstacles where photographers snap action shots. At the finish line, survivors claim fresh fruit and a beer (for those 21 and older) on entering the after-party. At the bash, live bands and food refresh wearied minds and bodies. Athletes in training can follow Rugged Maniac's online training guide, which primes physiques for the race or interoffice cubicle-hurdling competitions.