Ever since the Fawn-Doe-Rosa Wildlife Educational Park's opening in 1963, the deer inside have had terrible manners—no matter how many times they've eaten out of a visitor's hand, they refuse to say "thank you." Most people don't hold it against them, though. They're too busy wandering the woodland yard, petting its free-roaming occupants and keeping an eye out for other species. Aside from deer, the park houses elk, ducks, farmyard animals, and even predators in separate enclosures, including a grizzly bear and a mountain lion.
Many of these animals were hand-raised by the park's owners, who work with conservation organizations, rehabilitation experts, and the USDA to ensure the critters' comfort. By allowing visitors to get up close to their friendly, four-legged residents, they hope to make each trip a learning experience, one that connects humans with nature and sparks an interest in its preservation. They also host group tours that touch on wildlife facts, as well as pony rides for children training for a 21st-century revival of the Pony Express mail service.
Crisp, fresh country breezes rustle through the trees surrounding Eko Backen as guests revel in its many outdoor seasonal activities. During warm-weather months, its spacious, gazebo-dotted grass fields host weddings and vintage-car shows. Visitors pile into inflatable tubes during the summer to race down water slides, and in the winter, they navigate sloping hills covered in artificial snow. The staffers capably host events such as corporate getaways, birthday parties, and jury-duty reunions, providing pizza and snacks from their onsite eatery.
ProKart Indoor Racing lets riders tear through concrete turns and down straightaways at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Seated in low-slung black or red go-karts, drivers are just inches above the ground as they careen around the course. Computers track them during the race, recording finishing times. The track at ProKart's Maple Grove facility runs inside and outside, weather permitting.
Pump It Up's Inflatable Party Zone balloons kids’ excitement with an enormous playspace that welcomes open-play sessions and private parties. Tots 34" and taller run and leap in huge bounce houses, soar down an inflatable slide, and practice for future zero-gravity triathlon events in a bouncy jousting arena and basketball court. Various open-play sessions give kids of all ages free rein to the fun zone while accompanying parents stand by to officiate bounce-house property-line disputes. Pump It Up also boasts myriad celebratory and special-event shindigs, with friendly staffers supervising jumpers, and serving pizza and favors in a vibrant party room.
Gordon Franks and Pat Worley are more than black belts. They’re ninth-degree black belts who share their chosen martial art with youngsters and adults alike through USA Karate, the school they cofounded. The school - which opened in 1973 and has been operating for more than 40 years - was featured on the local CBS station and teaches self-defense techniques that help students graduate to higher-level belts and translate into increased agility, coordination, and self-confidence.
To put it plainly, Splat Tag is massive. Twenty-two paintball fields sprawl across its 600 acres. Woods, brush, and felled trees make for strategic cover, and through every patch of forest could be something unexpected. A helicopter, a bunker, or perhaps an enemy base, right there for the taking?provided players have enough paint.
The high number of play areas encourages players to linger, as does Splat Tag's policies. Open admission grants unlimited access for the day, with referees setting up 15- to 20-minute games. The fields admit up to 200 players per day, ensuring everyone can find those of similar skill levels. Splat Tag also hosts private and special events, including an annual gathering with enough paintballs to blot out murals of of the sun.