Kids can’t be expected to care about their health when video games, cartoons, and outdoor adventures are vying for their attention. That’s why the adult leaders of the Memorial Health Foundation devised a plan to get kids excited about health: HealthWorks! Kids’ Museum. Born of the founders’ desire to foster a healthier current and future community, the museum appeals to youngsters through educational forms of entertainment. Its exhibits incorporate amplified versions of many of kids’ favorite pastimes, including a life-sized rendition of Operation and numerous computer games. A rock-climbing wall and tree house with a slide encourage kids to learn through movement, which is exactly how adults learn how to escape charging bulls. Youngsters can explore the space with their families or partake in programs such as children's camps.
Kalamazoo Nature Center's 14-mile expanse of trails weaves around 1,100 acres of ponds, prairies, and forests, giving nature lovers of all ages an ample arena to hike, learn, and explore one of the first nature centers in the country. Membership allows unlimited free admission to the preserve so that visitors can soak up a diverse array of wild flowers, birds, and majestic park benches in natural habitat. Kalamazoo hosts a slew of family and children activities on select Saturdays, such as "Story Corner at the Barn," during which a storyteller corrals tykes aged 8 and younger for visits with sheep, goats, and barnyard residents before and after reading them pastoral tales. Additionally, Kalamazoo Nature Center members receive a 10% discount at Expedition Gift Shop, a bimonthly newsletter subscription, and discounts on youth camps for ages 3–17.
Inside Amhurst Asylum, which is rumored to have housed a real psychiatric hospital in the 1920s, things have gone terribly awry. Those who venture into its depths find remnants of what Dr. Amhurst was experimenting with before the asylum was shut down. His experiments were far ranging and often involved gruesome transplants of limbs and organs, all in the hopes of saving his wife from a degenerative disease. Some of his patients still roam the halls, and attempt to reclaim their phantom limbs from unsuspecting visitors in the asylum's darkest corners. The grounds are so scary, in fact, that only the most seasoned adventurers may enter—children younger than 10 aren't allowed in, and children younger than 13 must be accompanied by an adult or Poltergeist-protection vest.
Though his own family has crafted wines for more than a hundred years, D'Avella Family Winery founder John D'Avella "specializes in making wines for people who don't typically enjoy wine," according to an interview for WNDU Channel 16. John transforms locally sourced grapes into more than 35 smooth, Italian-style wines, whose recipes he honed across 150 trial batches. The tasting room offers 1-ounce pours of these handmade vinos, which include blackberry sweet, concord dry, and Niagara semisweet varieties.
In 1939, Everett Cook purchased what would become the Cook family farm and was told it was the worst investment he had ever made. But in the spirit of tenacious American homesteaders, three generations of Cooks turned that bad investment into a thriving bison ranch. After years of research, Peter Cook—Everett’s grandson—became a member of the National Bison Association, and ordered the ranch's first 30 bison in 1998. The hulking, majestic curiosities began drawing in groups from area schools, cross-country motor-coach tours, and time-traveling harmonica players to the 83-acre farm in northern Indiana's Amish country.
During the ranch’s signature one-hour tour, guests board a wagon and venture out to interact with and feed the animals as guides regale them with facts about North American bison. After the tour, groups can also sit down for a meal of bison burgers or bison brats. The animals receive no growth hormones or stimulants and graze on the ranch's own hay and grain, which produces tender and healthy meat, unlike animals fed with growth hormones, which produces meat that won’t stop quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Bison burgers, brats, and steaks are available for purchase online or inside the ranch's gift shop. In addition to the tours, the ranch also allows guests to hunt their own game during guided hunts, taking home bison, deer, and wild turkey.
At Northside Galleries, $90 worth of services goes a long way, approximately furnishing a black-framed single mat for an 11”x14” diploma ($95), a single floated mat and mounting for a framed 10”x12” piece of art ($89), or a double-matted glossy 8”x10” ($99) for a portrait of a cow balancing a papaya on its nose. Northside has more framing options than even Teddy Roosevelt can shake a stick at, though 30 framing profiles are handy for quick project solutions. Standard and acid-free mountings are available, along with stretching for jerseys and glass with reflection control and UV reduction. Frames range from plain to museum quality in a variety of styles ($3.50/foot to $70/foot), so take your time while perusing the chevrons of potential style.