A horse can find any variety of activity to while away the time at Downtown Equestrian Center, from grazing in the 3-acre grass paddock to leaping over oxers in the outdoor arena. During one-hour lessons, instructors supplement riding basics, such as grooming, tacking, and communication, with more nuanced elements including posture, etiquette, and equitation. Beyond training and boarding services, the ranch also hosts several family-friendly pursuits, from one-week summer camps to meetings of 4-H, named after horses’ four favorite things: hocks, hooves, Henri Matisse paintings, and hay.
Cheerful battle cries carom off winding fortresses and across Stratagem Laser Missions' 10,000 square feet of playing space. In the two-story facility, sharpshooters hone their skills with eight styles of play, which urge them to capture the flag, eliminate opponents, and protect the Xerox machine. From hiding places atop plastic barrels, behind cardboard boxes, and within stacks of spare tires, warriors fire one of four radio-frequency guns. A marshal patrols the area to enforce safety and rules about fair play and point out plot holes in Civil War reenactments. Players of all ages romp through the twisting hallways, and groups gather to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions in adrenaline-steeped style.
Across two floors and 6,700 square feet, KidsWork Children's Museum's prompts hands-on play with scores of new exhibits. A table-top interactive computer, or SMART table, stimulates kids' brains with interactive puzzles and games. A weekly music class on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. invite kids to make some noise with instruments made from recycled materials. Interlocking wooden builder boards encourage open-ended play; there's also a floor piano, an interactive ATM, and story time at 10 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. The museum welcomes field-trip groups and birthday parties to explore its innards as well as special-needs families, members, and walk-in visitors.
While large groups are welcome, each child is celebrated through hands-on play. Just look at the gigantic, three-dimensional Pinscreen exhibit, a jumbo version of the classic toy that uses sliding pins to create a 3-D impression of whatever you press into them—in this case, your entire body. Along with the Lincoln-Way North Key Club, the Frankfort Fire Department helped construct the three walls by painstakingly inserting nearly 200,000 pins by hand. Their effort resulted in one of the museum's most popular interactive displays. More than that, it reflects the sense of community, curiosity, and creativity that the museum strives to engender in its patrons.