Divided between two locations in Manchester and Nashua, Vertical Dreams' 15,000 square feet of simulated mountainside are packed with obstacles and tough sections to challenge climbers of all skill levels. At the Manchester gym, gutted elevator shafts lined with hand grips extend four stories upward, creating 70-foot vertical surfaces. The Nashua location boasts 10,000 square feet of wall space, with textured surfaces that respond realistically to climber's hands and feet and fill their nostrils with simulated rock smells.
Vertical Dreams' staff of veteran climbers teaches students one-on-one or in groups. In beginner lesson packages, instructors show aspiring climbers the figurative and literal ropes involved in belaying, climbing, and knot tying, and the teachers in advanced top-roping and sport-climbing classes push their students' abilities to climb solo or in a lead position.
As the second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the Sylvania 300 tasks NASCAR’s drivers with navigating “The Magic Mile” in front of a crowd of up to 105,000 fans. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, and other racers will scream around a 1.058-mile Möbius strip in a 300-lap contest that determines the drivers’ playoff standings, as well as their ability to preset a car’s radio stations. General-admission seating borders either turn two or turn three of the speedway, and main-grandstand seating allows attendees to gaze upon the finish line, as well as directly into the souls of the pit crew.
Visitors to Mel's Funway Park can try their hand at two 18-hole mini-golf courses before speeding and swinging their way through the go-kart track and batting cages, which feature a replica of Fenway's Green Monster. Funway Park has also partnered with Naticook Fish & Grill to recharge empty body batteries.
Windsor Mountain International Summer Camp hosts families on five-day rustic retreats on 365 acres of rural white-pine forest. Parents, accompanied by their children, can return to the days of bunking in cabins and dorms, roasting marshmallows, and kindling campfires with only a piece of flint and a smartphone. A daily activities schedule abounds with aquatic endeavors, such as canoeing, sailing, and swimming; adventurous challenges, such as zip lining and ropes courses; and creative activities, including music, theater, and arts and crafts. A winding network of hiking trails transports forest explorers along the shores of hidden lakes and through dense pine woodlands, where hikers can seek answers to the philosophical question of whether it’s possible to hear a falling tree’s cries for help.
Before they journey down Dr. Von Dark's Tunnel of Terror, riders sit facing each other aboard a two-person tube. But they won't actually see one another for long, since the aptly named doctor has designed a 300-foot jaunt whose twists and 40-foot plunge unfold in complete darkness.
The pitch-black tunnel is just one of many heart-pounding attractions at the more than 26-acre Water Country that have helped make Water Country the Parenting NH Magazine's Family Favorite Award for Best Water Park in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Additionally, visitors can dash down the 422-foot-long Racing Rapids slide, navigate a quarter mile of waterfalls and caves along Adventure River, or float in a wave pool with 700,000 gallons of water. Water Country likewise caters to youngsters with giant tipping buckets and a 40-foot-long pirate ship complete with slides.
During full days of sliding and splashing, guests can rest at one of the park's shaded cabanas and enjoy an array of tasty snacks and sweets from nearly 10 food options scattered throughout the park, including stands specializing in Dippin' Dots and fried dough.
Adventurers glide past pine and deciduous trees, navigating branches at 200 feet above the ground. As they reach a treetop platform, guides wave them along onto a bridge that swings high above the forest floor. This nerve-racking scene is the norm at Alpine Adventures, where professionals have led guests soaring through the woodlands of New Hampshire's White Mountains since 2006. Today, in addition to leading guests on three distinct canopy tours, each testing adventurers' courage with swinging bridges and fast speeds, they captain off-road adventures in six-wheeled Swiss Pinzgauers. Up to 11 passengers sit protected by seat harnesses and an overhead roll cage as guides narrate and charge through fall foliage, winter flurries, or summer volleyball games. An aerial park invites thrill seekers to explore cargo nets, rope ladders, ziplines, a treehouse, a climbing tower, and many other elevated obstacles.