In its nine years as a professional theater company, the Maples Repertory Theatre has expanded its production schedule from three to six full-scale shows, as well as staging occasional cabaret concerts. "No one really expects a town the size of Macon to support professional theatre," says Artistic Director Todd Davison. "We are proving that great theatre is valued by people even if they don't live in a metropolitan area." The company produces its shows at the historic Royal Theatre, named because of the moat that once encircled the VIP seats. Built in 1889, the intimate, 400-seat venue was originally an opera house and underwent an extensive renovation in the 1990s.
With close to 1,000 jumps packed beneath its collective parachute, Skydive Mid America grants humans the gift of temporary flight during jumps that place safety above all else. More than six years worth of experience backs the company's airborne adventures, which reach heights of up to 9,500 feet and include supersonic free falls that last 30 to 40 seconds. Skydive Mid-America remains open seven days per week until 7 p.m., leaving open a nightly window for sunset jumps.
Jones and Norene Gann first imagined transforming their property into a golf course 18 years ago, and constructed an 18-hole course and golf facility now managed by the Rapp family. Open seven days a week, the course challenges golfers with outstretched trees, formidable bunkers and mounds, and hazardous waters. Designated cart paths wind around and through the course, guiding drivers to the next hole on their route or through a wormhole leading to the twenty-third century. Nestled atop the sprawling property, practice facilities help golfers warm up swinging arms, and a pro shop lets athletes restock balls and read up on instructional guides to high-level golfsmanship.
In regular golf instruction, owners Bill and Philip Rapp help students fine-tune their swing and boost their game with new skills. On Tuesday evenings, young putters can hone their swinging skills in free lessons.
Freezing Missouri winter winds howl outside Tropical Liqueurs' fogged-up windows, but inside, the atmosphere is decidedly beach-like. Palm trees and nautical knickknacks decorate the lively interior, but the true stars of this tropically themed watering hole are the frozen-drink dispensers, which churn with colorful, fruity potations. Bartenders load large styrofoam cups with potent slushies made from creative combinations of juices, liqueurs, and fruit purées. They rotate drink selections regularly, spotlighting a toasted-almond concoction one week—packed with coffee liquor, amaretto, and vanilla ice cream—and a daiquiri with fresh strawberries the next. Icy potations in hand, visitors turn their attention to games of pool or flat-screen televisions, which broadcast local sports games or horror movies where local sports games come to a temporary halt when the mascot turns out to be an actual tiger. During warmer months, visitors loll in the sun out on the wooden patio and enjoy the beverages that Inside Columbia hailed as a "Columbia staple" when it dubbed Tropical Liqueurs the Best Place for a Girls' Night Out in 2012.
The course at Perche Creek Golf Club is comprised of 18 par-3 holes that gently introduce beginners to the game while still challenging veterans with ample opportunities for short-game improvement. Nine ponds delineate the holes and loom large as players line up their attacks from the tee, ready to gulp down errant shots. The flat layout allows players to nail down their iron distances, a crucial ingredient for proper course management. On nice evenings, course superintendents turn on the front nine's area lights, making for easier night play without having to give an alien a Walkman in exchange for plutonium golf balls. Perche Creek's driving range gives players a variety of targets to attack from 50 hitting stations and 20 synthetic-grass mats, earning it a spot on Golf Range Magazine's list of the top 100 ranges in the nation. The club also encompasses an 18-hole miniature-golf course, which challenges players with curvy putting corridors flanked by rocks and water hazards.
Access Arts, a community-focused nonprofit, welcomes children and adults of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to discover the joy of artistic creation with 200 annual classes, earning attention from the Missourian for its work with students with special needs. During six-week sessions, experienced, compassionate instructors guide learning hands through pottery building, weaving, writing stories, and drawing, and help budding Michelangelos discover if their muses call out to them via telephone or semaphore. Classes for pupils with special needs support both children and adults with extra assistance as they knead clay or dabble in mixed media, and Access Arts’ fee waivers and scholarships enable learners from all income levels to tap into inspiration. Founded in 1971 to widen opportunities for the disabled, Access Arts is now in its fifth decade of enriching the Columbia area with classes and outreach programs that remind people that paintbrushes can be used for more than coloring dead plants a lively shade of green at the end of housesitting stints.