Why build a business based purely on surprising people? “Because life moves fast and we don’t play nearly as much as we should,” say Surprise Industries founders and sisters Kat Dudina and Tania Luna on their website. By setting up surprises for big groups and individual clients alike, the duo, along with their imaginative staff, encourages the giddiness of play that often gets lost in the shuffle of adult responsibilities. With only a location and a time to arrive, participants are swept into an unpredictable adventure that may involve anything from attending an ice-sculpting workshop to being elected chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Climbers of all ages and skill levels scamper across roughly 22,000 square feet of climbable space inside Brooklyn Boulders's rock-climbing gym. A dedicated route-setting staff organizes color-coded problems on craggy, angled top-rope walls as well as bouldering walls that reach up to 15 feet. To help visitors master these walls, seasoned instructors train them in three basic types of climbing: bouldering, top-rope climbing, or lead climbing. They teach these skills through classes such as the peak-performance program, which combines seven classes in lead climbing, bouldering, and cross-training to accelerate students' learning. To ease stressed muscles and promote calm reflection, staffers also lead all-ages yoga lessons and monthly yoga workshops.
Brooklyn Boulders also injects creativity into its special events, which encourage visitors to climb in costume around Halloween and take part in competitions during which they pretend the floor has turned to lava. Staffers also invite local graffiti artists to display their murals inside, work to preserve regional climbing areas by partnering with Access Fund, and coordinate programs through its BKB Foundation—a nonprofit that provides greater access to rock climbing for kids and adults.
Today’s Groupon lets you step outside your shell, just like a naked turtle. For $75, you’ll get a one-year membership (a $198 value) and a $75 credit toward outdoor and urban excursions with Adventure Society. Featuring more than 67 different activities on nearly every weekend of the year, this game-changing organization is the first of its kind in New York. Navigating the perks that come with your membership is an adventure in and of itself.
Boasting a membership of more than 80,000 North American singles, Meet Market Adventures offers free online dating, plus imaginative offline events. Shuck off your shyness with icebreaker games, dancing, and free hors d'oeuvres and drink specials at the Singles Mega Multi-Group Fall After Work Party, which takes place at one of New York's premier hotspots. The Singles Urban Race and Scavenger Hunt teams you up with three other people before sending you on a frenetic Benny Hill dash about town—creating ideal conditions for sparks and zero openings for awkward first-date silences. Otherwise, uncover a cute intellectual equal during Singles Pub Stumpers Trivia Night, or flirt with nostalgia over classic board games at Singles Games Night. Meet Market can also take the pressure off of finding a date for New Year's Eve with a blowout of more than 350 singles at chic STITCH Lounge. An Anti-Valentine's Day party, meanwhile, lets lovers of love and haters of Hallmark holidays boycott the execution of Saint Valentine with feng-shui love consultations, a live DJ, and free hors d'oeuvres and drinks. With admission to three events, participants will have plenty of chances to meet other singles, try out a new activity or venue in the city, and dust off decrepit datebooks that have long been relegated to doorstop status.
The organizers of Out-Fit Challenge, the first national LGBT mud run obstacle course, aim to spark new friendships between its runners by creating challenges that require not only personal perseverance, but the occasional helping hand. Obstacles such as barbed wire crawls or mud pits force racers to get dirty, and tandem climbing walls make runners rely on each other to progress.
After making it to the finish line, participants mingle with newfound friends or long-lost parents at the after-party. After showering, racers can don their finisher’s award with pride. Each participant can pick up their complementary beer from one of the bars, before mingling, dancing to live music, or chowing down on the food vendors’ grub.