Like a beacon of fitness, Envision Memphis sits atop the historic Cadre Building in downtown Memphis. There, personal trainers await to whip clients into shape with boot camps, yoga classes, and one-on-one sessions. Visitors working out alone keep equally busy. Cardio and weight machines tone muscle alongside body balls, and ample floor space allows for plentiful pushups or spontaneous break dancing. In addition, a full-size boxing ring with padded safety equipment hosts full-contact kickboxing practice.
In the pre-computer age, wagons and trucks loaded with cotton samples once flooded Front Street, where cotton traders graded, bought, sold, and shipped their wares on the floor of the private Memphis Cotton Exchange. Formerly off-limits to everyone but members and their guests, the restored 3,000-square-foot room—adorned with ornate architectural flourishes from 1924 and a 30-foot ceiling—opened to the public as The Cotton Museum in 2006. Through documentary films and exhibits, the institution traces the history of the exchange and the impact of cotton on culture and society. The museum's oral-history project collects testimonials from merchants, mill workers, and sharecroppers, and its hall of fame honors innovative industry leaders who turned to cotton after unsuccessful attempts at lassoing clouds. Outside, a 30-minute self-guided walking tour highlights nine historical stops around Front Street, whereas the Exploration Hall's interactive indoor exhibit, The Changing World of Cotton, describes industry advances in mechanization and environmental sustainability.
Range USA's staff's goal is not only to school students in responsible gun ownership, but also to create a communal environment. Instructors teach classes ranging from basic handgun and advanced tactical training to programs designed specifically for women and youths. When spending a day at Range USA, the facility's own 1776 Deli & Eatery keeps hunger from interfering with focus. Prior to your visit, check out the FAQ page, which anticipates visitors' questions.
Instructor Lynn Givens knows from experience the kinds of dangers lurk in the world. After an experience with a stalker who threatened her and her son, she started training in armed self-defense, going on to earn a state instructor's certification in less than a year. Wanting to help prepare others for such threats, she joined the instructional team at Rangemaster, where today she and several other instructors lead more than 30 training courses.
Understanding that all clients have unique training needs is what drives the staff at Rangemaster. The team operates under the direction of owner and chief instructor Tom Givens, who previously spent 25 years in law enforcement and security. Applying training standards compliant with organizations such as the NRA, Tom's team-teaches classes from the Level I – Basic Personal Protection Course to advanced classes such as Low Light Skills and a three-day Dynamic Marksmanship course. When not leading classes, the instructors oversee a range that welcomes the general public and members, who enjoy perks such as class discounts and their own entrance music played at every visit.
Most of the modern world is mapped—GPS devices capably guide people through entire road trips and atlases describe more terrain than most people could cover in an entire lifetime. While it's difficult to reawaken humanity’s sense of surprise and discovery, The Mid-South Maze is up for the challenge. Every year, the maze’s manufacturers spend months carving up their cornfield into clever patterns that, when viewed from the sky, might appear as a famed sports logo or the face of a long-departed pharaoh. On the ground, however, that pattern vanishes, leaving wanderers to use their wits to navigate the arching corn passageways.
The Mid-South Maze entertains with more than just its winding labyrinth. On Friday and Saturday nights in October, actors clad as ghostly apparitions haunt the herbaceous hallways of a spooky tractor ride. A giant jumping pillow launches kids skyward and gently cushions their falls, and a corn cannon fires ears of corn at targets up to 100 yards away. Anyone who hits a target wins a prize from one of the maze's sponsors and the right to eat nothing but popcorn balls until Thanksgiving.
Thrill-seekers of all ages weave through Golf & Games Family Park?s 40-acre mini metropolis of indoor and outdoor attractions. Scampering legs can dart and dash through the neon-clad, 6,000-square-foot indoor laser-tag arena. A burbling waterfall streams through the park?s 54-hole mini-golf course, hemmed by lush landscaping and statues of various jungle-inhabiting creatures. Bumper boats bob in cerulean waters churned by colliding vessels as they circle a central, life-size elephant statue, and two go-kart courses cater to future and present-day adults. Guests can engage in more conventional contests such as volleyball, basketball, and horseshoes within the bucolic tree lines that frame the open picnic pavilions or hone various swing types at the park?s batting cages, 120-stall driving range, and spacious putting green.