Extreme athletes banded together to design Spartan Races' intense courses orchestrated over standardized distances, each strewn with natural and man-made obstacles to test mind-body fitness, resilience, stamina, and strength, designed to leave participants exhausted and exhilarated. In waves of 200, runners collect smudges and stains as they perform box jumps, haul heavy sandbags, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as 3 miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
Jefferson Davis may have been president of the Confederate States of America, but he didn't spend his whole life as a public figure. In his later years, he retired to the lush Beauvoir property, a cottage, cemetery, and collection of gardens. There he wrote, read, and relaxed until he passed away in 1889. Today, the property commemorates his complex legacy. Modern visitors explore Davis's library and rose garden, view reproductions of his kitchen and cistern, and even meet him?or at least, a life-size bronze statue of him posed with his son and grandson.
Sculpted through wooded acres of parkland terrain, Silver King Golf Club's 18-hole course unfolds across 6,600 yards of fairways and greens pristine from recent, extensive renovations. Cerulean waters and sand bunkers populated by displaced sunbathers loom throughout the course, offering mild penalties for errant drives and ill-measured approaches. The club keeps its golfers' pin-hunting skills sharp with a driving range and onsite golf lessons while helping players loop the links in style with a pro shop full of form-fitting shirts, sturdy shoes, and bedazzled golf gloves. As clubbers trace powerful drives into the Southern sky, the club's onsite snack bar keeps appetites at bay with cold sports drinks, soft drinks, and light fare.
Designed by celebrated architect Frank Gehry, the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art exalts the work of George E. Ohr, a ceramic artist and moustache enthusiast known as the "Mad Potter of Biloxi." After it was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, the campus reopened in 2010 amidst a grove of ancient live-oak trees, featuring a series of six aesthetically impressive pavilions that include a welcome center, a gallery of African-American art, and an interpretive center inside a reconstruction of the house of emancipated craftsman Pleasant Reed. Current exhibitions include collections from some of the art world's biggest names, including Andy Warhol and ceramic sculptor Jun Kaneko, as well as selections from Ohr's Gulf Coast collection, which inspired the American Modernist movement and several MLB baseball teams to wear ceramic pots instead of baseball hats.
After decades of winning the admiration of stock-car racing fans with his aggressive driving strategy and off-track charisma, Rusty Wallace now gives others the chance to experience the rush of racing. He joined forces with Sodikart to roll out the Rusty Wallace Kart Experience, pairing kart with driver at some of the country's most celebrated racetracks. Racers can hop in a custom RT8 (or its kid-friendly counterpart, the LR4) and hit the gas, tearing up everything from the versatile road courses and speedy main track of the Atlanta Motor Speedway to the challenging lava pits of the Milwaukee Mile.
But this go-karting business has a big brother?the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. It's a high-speed trip into the pro-racing trade, with breathtaking ride-alongs and racing experiences in stock cars. Guests buckle up and sit shotgun alongside professional drivers as they fly down straightaways and around curves. They can even get behind the wheel themselves, finally feeling what it's like to be a professional driver.
On April 7, 1932, Walter and Bessie Bellingrath invited the public to peruse their private gardens for an afternoon. They expected only a handful of garden aficionados, but instead more than 5,000 locals flocked to see the Bellingrath's azaleas. The crowds were so massive that the Mobile police were called in to direct traffic. Two years later, the couple officially opened Bellingrath Gardens as a year-round attraction.
These days, new flower varieties are always blooming across the gardens' 65 acres, from chrysanthemums each autumn to more than 2,000 roses in the summer. Besides the flowers, the property hosts a 1,600-foot boardwalk winding through a bayou preserve and a riverfront grotto perched beside a waterfall. After exploring the grounds, stop into the 10,500-square-foot Bellingrath home, which still contains Mrs. Bellingrath's china collection and the basement hole Mr. Bellingrath dug to China.