Visitors to Centennial Acres work with experienced riding instructors and four resident horses?Trixie, Pita, Autumn, Chip, and Kid. These steeds and their riders ride through a small indoor arena and in an outdoor arena at Centennial?s 19th-century farm, depending on the weather, all under the watchful eye of owners Matt and Emily Williams.
Matt has converted the farm?once used for raising livestock and cultivating crops?into riding stables where Emily and other instructors teach proper horsemanship, safety, grooming, and tacking to students as young as 4 years old. Drawing on more than a decade of experience in training for equitation, showmanship, and breaking in new horses, Emily coaches students in Western and English riding styles, hunter and hunter-jumper styles, and dressage.
Since Freeport Art Museum opened in 1975, its collection has ballooned to include nearly 4,000 pieces. The number is apt, since the artifacts – from Hellenistic gold jewelry to 19th-century Italian marble statues – encompass 4,000 years of work from all continents and time periods. The nonprofit museum reserves its remaining gallery space for work by contemporary regional artists, as well as travelling exhibitions.
Said space once belonged to a historic elementary school, a lineage that befits the museum's mission to inform visitors about art's global history and future. Through its educational programs, Freeport continues fulfilling that mission with events such as artists talks and classes on subjects such as graffiti art.
Marlene La Fleur?s equine epiphany struck in 1963, when an American Saddlebred steed named Mr. Sandman motivated her to open a stable and breed her own army of championship horses. Since then, Marlene and her husband?s stable has grown by leaps and bounds, with the rein-tuggers moving into an ultramodern barn and training facility in 2001 that allowed them to expand their English-style riding lessons. Placing an emphasis on horsemanship and equitation, Marlene?s daughter Neva leads hands-on lessons that cycle through proper grooming, tacking, and riding techniques catered to each student?s individual skill set. Pintsized riders may also celebrate birthdays or visits from John Wayne?s ghost during group parties replete with barn tours, breezy trots, and a party room that boasts a full kitchen. The stable?s stylish and well-mannered steeds kick up their hooves in spacious 144-square-foot stalls, which are built from southern yellow pine and equipped with individual windows overlooking the grounds? picturesque rolling hills.
Black Forest blossomed from its beginnings as a traditional stable and training facility to a center for equine-assisted learning and healing. Though plenty of guests still visit the picturesque farm for riding lessons, visitors also come to connect with a host of friendly farm animals. That's because the facility gives people the unique chance to feed treats to horses, walk among stunning peacocks, and discuss their favorite books with goats whether you're child or an adult. But perhaps the stables' biggest source of pride is its outreach in the wider community, contributing to programs such as the I Am Magic Foundation for children and with veterans' groups.
Each facility in the family of Rockford-Area Bowling Centers enlivens the classic game of bowling with its own signature amenities. On Friday evenings, the staff at Don Carter Lanes temporarily extinguishes its warm, vintagey glow and replaces it with a dimly lit club atmosphere as DJs from 97 ZOK descend upon the alley, pumping out beats that mingle in the air along with a light and fog show. For supplementary entertainment, the Don Carter location also offers a gaming center, and the Park Lanes alley recharges guests with beer and deep-fried fuel at its onsite pub. The Cherry Bowl location keeps serious bowlers properly outfitted with a pro shop, saving them the hassle of paper-mâchéing their own heads to form makeshift bowling balls.
A fully equipped Morgan-horse-training stable, Stone Ledge Farm teaches burgeoning equestrians of all ages the ins and outs of horseback locomotion. Lessons start with an optional 15-minute preparation period, teaching riders how to groom and tack their steeds, how to get horses ready to ride, and how to console equines when they realize that only humans get to wear chaps. Once prepared, students embark on 30 minutes of four-legged frolicking, taking the reins and feeling the wind ripple through their manes as they trot, gallop, and canter. A second 15-minute session after the lesson teaches the post-ride half of stable care, showing horse whisperers how to remove gear and where their noble pal's power-down button is located.