Norman Bird Sanctuary spans more than 300 acres and seven miles of hiking trails where binoculared bird lovers can spy on local and migratory birds. Hikers can explore the woods or climb Hanging Rock to feast on views of the ocean. In addition, the Sanctuary organizes public programs such as hands-on educational events for children and evening lectures for adults.
At Newport Equestrian, the mother-daughter team of Suzanne Hourihan and Kamala Duffy handle all instruction duties, helping beginners and experienced riders alike to improve their skills. The instructors root their approach in the principles of sound equitation—a focus that Suzanne inherited while training under Irish Olympic rider Nole McGee as a child. Kamala, a USEF hunter/jumper competitor, carries on her mother's passion as she coaches riders of all stripes, from casual pleasure and trail riders to show jumpers intent on winning a gold medal before some cool new Flash game makes the Olympics obsolete. During private and semi-private lessons on flatwork courses, Kamala teases out riders' potential while treating them with respect and encouraging them to overcome the improvement plateaus they'll inevitably reach.
The Aquidneck Land Trust began in 1990, when a group of local residents gathered together to dedicate itself to saving the natural character, economic value, and environmental health of Aquidneck Island. Since then, the organization has conserved more than 2,300 acres on 66 properties. Along with ongoing projects for Merritt Fund recipients, Aquidneck Land Trust’s current priorities include completion of the Sakonnet Greenway Trail and conservation of 70-plus acres on Saint Mary’s Church land. By working with landowners, foundations, government agencies, and communities, the organization aims to protect and conserve roughly 4,000 acres of open spaces.
Lacking sufficient space in his home for his kids' birthday parties, Matt Kestler wanted to bring a fun indoor play center to Aquidneck Island. The father of three crafted a play space he and his wife would want to come back to. In addition to all the vibrant colors and kid-friendly activities, the facility offers parent-friendly amenities such as free WiFi and HDTV. Disguising the healthy benefits of exercise with fun, Kidventure is outfitted with two bounce houses and an EyePlay interactive-gaming system. Recognized as a breakout product in kids' entertainment, EyePlay projects life-size, motion-activated games on the floor or walls. Tykes use their hands and feet to interact with the animated digital canvas, dancing over firecrackers or playing indoor soccer sans grass stains. Kidventure opens its doors seven days a week for high-energy antics, and parents are encouraged to join children in the play area, provided they pledge not to discuss mortgages.Kidventure Play & Party Center's prices vary according to age of participants.