Though most people hate the feeling of getting lost, that’s the point behind spending a day at the maze at Brookdale Farms. Not because the staff wants guests to wander aimlessly, but because the maze makes for a great way to enjoy the autumn sunshine at a relaxed pace and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Open as a family-friendly jaunt during the day and as a haunted attraction at night, the maze tests navigators’ skills and affords a rare view into how scarecrows live when they think no one is looking. Outside the maze, the farm offers other autumnal activities such as pumpkin slingshots, pony rides, adrenaline-pumping ziplines, and a hay jump, inviting families to spend a full day disconnected from their televisions, computers, and employer-mandated tracking devices.
When overcast winter skies and spring storm clouds clear, the roads begin to glisten with freshly washed cars. With 12 locations across Missouri and Kansas, there’s a pretty good chance that many of those vehicles visited a Squeaky Clean Car Wash. Whether it’s a soft-cloth tunnel car wash or a touchless, in-bay spraydown, rides leave dirt-free in a matter of minutes. Every wash comes with complimentary access to a self-serve vacuum, and select locations allow patrons to take matters into their own hands at self-serve washing bays. At their Quick Lube locations, Squeaky Clean flushes out sludgy fluids and also invites pet owners to hose down canines and pet mammoths preserved in tar at self-serve dog washes.
The crew at Pet Paradise coddles both overnight and daytime critter clients in a resort-like enclave, providing each furry lodger with private quarters, sumptuous bedding and toys, and an array of amenities. Canines can revel on a sunbaked lawn that surrounds the doggy-bone-shaped swimming pool before cooling humid hides with a refreshing dip. Supervised group playtime gives dogs a chance to find an alto for their moon-serenading choir, and outdoor walks allow for sightseeing and exercise. Meanwhile, pooped pooches can relish alone time in spacious suites, and kitties can retire to a felines-only wing of the resort where soft-playing music relieves the stresses of a long day of napping, stretching, and napping. A caretaker lives on-site, available to supervise any late-night emergencies or after-midnight munchies, and owners can check on their pets via a 24-hour webcam.
Sprawling over 1 1/2 acres of fenced-in land, South Paw Acres takes care of canine companions with climate-controlled, cage-free indoor play areas, comfy beds, a plethora of toys, and an on-call veterinarian. A dedicated dog-sitter monitors all playgroups, which are grouped according to tail-waggers’ size, temperaments, and Forbes 100 listings. South Paw Acres boards no more than 10 dogs at a time, ensuring that every pup receives a high level of interaction and affection. After romping around the pooch playground, outfitted with a refreshing pond and tree-shaded lounge areas, furry friends can listen to soothing music and watch animal-centric television shows while awaiting the return of their owners. All canines must be more than 4 months old and have updated vaccination records, be spayed or neutered, and have the ability to tie their own shoes.
Doggie Style Bowtique keeps four-legged fashionistas prancing with customizable accessories and homemade pet treats. Like finishing school or cautionary Homeward Bound marathons, leashes and harnesses ($32) prepare pups for polite outdoor adventures. Customizable canine collars ($30) come straight from the haute couture hands of more than 20 local designers. Pet owners can pamper pooch's taste sensors with a variety of homemade bakery goods, such as Northern Holistic wild boar treats ($12.95) or Addiction venison treats ($8.95). When canines complain of eco-anxiety, the Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff RecycleBone ($14) eases environmental fears, complements toy collections, and distracts mutts from unearthing time capsules. Fulfill feline fantasies with the upscale Katty Korner, which features enough treats, toys, and collars to make a kitten wake up for more than three hours a day.