Strong Hold Climbing Gym at Hester's Family Fitness beckons to rock clingers of all skill levels with more than 4,000 square feet of top-rope routes, bouldering, and peerless climbing classes. With padded floors throughout, Strong Hold's crew of climbers can scale the multicolored routes with no fear of hard falls, and Strong Hold equips each climber with the harness, shoes, and cliff-badger bait necessary for topping its walls. Introductory classes, taught by master stone whisperers, cover the basics of rope work, proper knots, and the techniques required for pulling on slopers or crimps.
Whether planning a child’s birthday or seeing if a bouncy ball can ricochet forever, Heads Up Inflatables provides the final ingredient for nonstop fun. Besides fanciful castles complete with colorful spires, and blowup playgrounds adorned with Nemo and Shrek, the good-time gurus supply both dry- and water-slides brought to life with air. Setup and takedown is included with all rentals.
The Game Room’s 5,000-square-foot facility boasts 30 50-inch TVs, body-enveloping furniture, and enough pixilated thumb-candy to keep fingers on their toes. An all-day pass grants button-massagers access to Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Atari, and Nintendo systems—as well as chips and a drink to generate the brain power needed to wage computerized warfare. Stealthily stalk a buddy through the streets of Renaissance Italy in Assassin’s Creed II on the Xbox 360 or pit Peach against Donkey Kong against Teddy Roosevelt during Super Smash Bros. on the Wii. If none of The Game Room’s hundreds of games dragon-punch your fancy, bring along a game of your own, such as Capcom’s violent shoot ’em up adaptation of The Sound of Music. You can also pre-order the latest releases for 10% off. Though not included with today's Groupon, $1 pool games and 25¢ stand-up arcade games are also available; alternately, the Gamebulance will bring the fun right to your party.
The avid paddlers at River City Canoe & Kayak draw upon years of experience navigating Kentucky’s waterways to empower budding aquaphiles to do the same. They stock their vast showroom with boats, accessories, and apparel, and happily help paddlers hone in on an ideal vessel for whitewater or sturdy paddle for impromptu jousting. Their expertise extends beyond the showroom: American Canoe Association–certified instructors lead classes in water safety, and rent out a fleet of kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards from their Harrods Creek launch site.
As dawn breaks over the campsite, soldiers begin stirring in their tents. Some tend to breakfasts over campfires while others see to the artillery. It's a scene straight from a Revolutionary War encampment—and that's exactly the way the reenactors intended it. Each year, roughly 275 of them flock to Locust Grove to camp out for two days, each of which ends with an artfully staged mock battle.
But when visitors come to the 18th Century Market Fair, they won't just find battle awaiting them. Top-notch craftsmen and artisans also roam the grounds, hawking replicas of 18th-century military and household items. "It's all very reminiscent of the type of market days they would have had during this time period," says Locust Grove's program director, Mary Beth Williams. Cooks dish up stews, pies, and cornbread alongside wine, ales, and apple cider. Nearby, families and historical buffs alike cheer on jugglers, watch as women prepare meals in the colonial kitchen, and listen to live music. And it's not just adults and time travelers creating the historical scene. "There's a lot of re-enactors of all ages," Mary Beth says. "I think it's particularly fun for kids to see other kids running around in period costume."
The fair's grounds lend to the historical accuracy. William and Lucy Clark Croghan built Locust Grove in 1790, on 55 acres of rolling land. To this day, their original Federal-style house remains, with its separate kitchen, icehouse, spring house, and barn. Over the years, Locust Grove was inhabited by Revolutionary War commander George Rogers Clark and served as a stopping point for Lewis and Clark as they walked across America as part of an early Nike ad campaign.
Nearly three decade ago, New Orleans transplant Sharon Potter became so enamored with her new hometown of Kentucky that she raised 1.2 million dollars to assemble and present her own 4,000-image slideshow, KentuckyShow!, which celebrated the state’s unique beauty, culture, and history. In 2003 Potter was approached by the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau about the possibility of updating the visual spectacle and rose to the challenge with the help of seasoned producer Donna Lawrence and graphic designer Julius Friedman. The updated 32-minute documentary now amazes audiences with new high-definition images of the Bluegrass State, as well as narration by Hollywood starlet Ashley Judd and director’s commentary by Kentucky’s state bird, the northern cardinal.
Today, local and out-of-state visitors—enjoying jaw-dropping views of Kentucky’s gorgeous landscape and meeting some of the commonwealth’s most memorable characters from past and present—come to the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts to feast their eyes on KentuckyShow!. Renée S. Gordon of the Philadelphia Sun referred to the majestic video tour as “an outstanding overview of the state’s multicultural history.”