Flying at 30 miles per hour over forest canopies may seem like an unconventional way to tour the wilderness, but the staff at Eco Zipline Tours wouldn't have it any other way. Bright-green leaves paint a picturesque backdrop for more than a quarter of a mile of cables that zigzag through the trees in New Florence to create 6 individual ziplines that cover 1,800 feet. Staff members lead groups of up to 10 through three different tours that range from the Easy Rider, which covers four lines, to the High Flyer, which rockets patrons down all 10 lines over a mile of ziplines at heights up to 225 feet.
Eco Zipline Tours’ founder, Mike Seper, not only brings a passion for his hobby and Missouri wildlife, but he also brings expertise drawn from as far away as Hawaii. Eco Zipline tours upholds rigorous safety standards, including daily cable inspections and braking tutorials, and provides each patron with the required gear. Children aged 5 and older are welcome to zip, provided all minors are accompanied by a parent on tour.
When Justin McMillian left the operating room after the second ACL surgery on his right knee, he wondered if his dream of becoming an all-American soccer player would become a reality. It took the inventive scheduling and can-do attitude of his childhood friend, Jared “Iggy” Embick, to pull through. The duo managed to launch McMillian not only to the all-American team, but to a professional soccer career. They never forgot that battle to recover from injury, and how smart training healed, conditioned, and inspired Justin. The same deliberate, motivational focus that took him from the sickbed to the soccer field inform the training programs at Elite FT.
All training sessions take place over six weeks, with 10 or more students meeting once a week for one hour. Coaches might call for rigorous plyometric conditioning exercises or teach sport-specific skills to soccer, football, and baseball players. Through teaching skills and conditioning bodies, the coaches aim to create confident, disciplined, and elite athletes whose skills transfer to their work ethic and other important areas of life, such as schoolwork or winning a game of Horse to snatch a promotion at work.
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.
At Doennig Sport Swings and Ozark Paintball, the theme is "go big." This slogan is apt, since kids and parents sway and soar atop mammoth Sport Swings and navigate giant obstacle courses. In between, they race each other in a bungee run or hop into large inflatable bounce houses to joust and box with oversized gloves before boarding a bus shaped like a log cabin called the "Hillmobilly" for a one-of-a-kind hayride. Also blanketing the park is a paintball field filled with wood-slat bridges, timber watchtowers, tunnels, trenches and plenty of thick brush to camouflage players. After a day's worth of colossal attractions, groups can wind down around camp-like bonfires with hot dogs, s'mores, and other scorchable treats in hand.
The old mulberry tree at the top of Noboleis Vineyards—the same creature that graces the estate's wine labels—symbolizes the endurance of Robert and Lou Ann Nolan in pursuing their dream to own a vineyard. After purchasing a 74-acre expanse of Augusta farmland in 2005, the Nolans planted their first grapes: chambourcin, traminette, norton, and vignoles. Initial growth indicated high yields, but a late frost in 2007 claimed most of the chambourcin crop. Adversity struck again in 2011, when a tornado tore through part of the vineyards and lifted sections of roof off of the winery.
But between these setbacks, the Nolans built a steady string of accomplishments. Their first vintages claimed multiple awards at the 2010 Missouri Governor's Cup, and what had started as plain farmland grew into an estate encompassing an onsite winery, tasting room, cafe, and wine shop. The Nolans now lead tours and host tastings so that visitors can get an up-close look at how Noboleis's wines—such as the barrel-fermented vidal blanc—are produced without tickling the grapes. The indoor and outdoor grounds also regularly host events that range from weddings to live music performances.
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