Roger Alink has never owned a television. As a kid, he was too busy with the pigs and cattle that roamed his 160-acre home, and this love of animals and the outdoors only grew over time. In the early '90s, Alink decided to share this love with others, so he and a team of volunteers spent 30,000 hours establishing Wildlife West Nature Park.
In addition to the wild creatures, migratory birds, and GPS-lacking manatees who settle at the park, representatives of the region's indigenous animals and plants live and grow on its 122 scenic acres, much of which hasn’t been altered since the park's inception. Elsewhere, 30 wildlife exhibits mimic the natural habitats of the black bears, wolverines, deer, pronghorn antelopes, and birds of prey that inhabit them. Two miles of trail connect each habitat, and each enclosure is specially designed for the particular needs of its residents. The same custom care goes into feeding the animals: to keep the beasts psychologically spry, staff members provide challenges that echo the animals' instinctual eating habits, placing meals up in treetops, burying snacks that need to be sniffed out, and arranging candlelit dinners for mountain lions who forgot their wives’ birthdays.
Sustainable practices such as recycling, organic farming, and water harvesting turn the park into an educational example of eco-friendliness. Facilities such as the amphitheater and the heated, enclosed Bean Barn also welcome special events ranging from music festivals and bird-handling workshops to the kite-spangled Wind Festival and the ursine Bear Fair.
With more than 13,000 square feet of automotive artifacts and hands-on exhibits, Unser Racing Museum is dedicated to demystifying America's racing history. The museum focuses on the eponymous Unser family: four generations of racers who have collectively won the Indianapolis 500 nine times. Using this clan of drivers as the jumping-off point, the facility explores industry hallmarks from the first races at Pikes Peak and Indianapolis to the unveiling of modern racing technology. A newly completed annex features a showroom brimming with restored antique cars, including notable pace cars and racecars. The trophy room, meanwhile, houses thousands of pieces of vintage racing memorabilia, uniforms, and awards. Not all of the museum's exhibits are static, however: interactive video kiosks dispense trivia at the touch of a button, and a racing simulator lets visitors grasp the wheel of a replica car and chug a gallon of simulated milk.
Eschewing traditional race rules and methods, Dirty Dashers must overcome a slew of mud-slicked obstacles, including mucky climbing hills, crawling pipes, slip 'n slides, and bear hugs from Pigpen. Organizers encourage runners to sign up with friends to foster a fun-loving environment, and along the way, racers fuel up at optional beer- or root-beer-chugging stations. Further demonstrating its commitment to outdoor high jinks, each event's registration fees, donations, water-balloon sales, and shoe donations benefit local charities, such as NM[X]—an arts and athletics youth organization—and the Seattle-based Redeeming Soles charity, which dispenses gently used footwear to those in need.
Marie-Aude Preau began her passionate relationship with yoga in 1996, a relationship that dramatically altered her life. Her yoga practice is a fluid one—she teaches at different locations and leads students of all fitness levels. Her classes mainly follow basic Vinyasa flow, linking movement to breath to create a dance-like 60- to 75-minute session. By spilling from one pose to another, the classes help students build strength while increasing flexibility and muscle tone.
The formula for a perfect girl's night out is reinvented at the Pretty Muddy 5K. The staples are there: girlfriends ready to have fun,
Fans of Mario Kart know Rainbow Road as a glow-in-the-dark racecourse in outer space. So do fans of ABC's The Bachelor, only theirs is located on earth and strewn with more celebrities than turtle shells. To them, it's the series of inflatable arches that flashed hypnotically around Juan Pablo and Kat as they hurtled through the Electric Run. Seth Rogen, Carmen Electra, and a pink-wigged Vanessa Hudgens have also been spotted among the global event's hordes of runners and walkers.
Rainbow Road is just one of many "lands" that make up Electric Run's luminescent 5K. Any given Electric Run course contains five to seven of these brightly lit zones, each decorated according to its theme with neon trees, hanging umbrellas, phosphorescent cacti, and cascading fountains. Each land also matches the surroundings with its own soundtrack: upbeat and energizing for the wilder areas, calming and melodic for the surreal ones. Once the sun sets, participants travel through them all at their preferred pace. Everyone arrives at the same final destination, however?a DJ-propelled after party that keeps the night illuminated until the thunderous ka-chunk of the sun's timecard.
Combine the whimsy of a color run with the filthy fun of a mud run and a festive dose of bubbles, and you've got the Sandia MX Moriarty - Mud 'n Color 5K. Participants of this fusion event tear across numerous motocross tracks as they're pelted with colored powder, soiled with dirt and mud, blasted with bubbles, and challenged to conquer creative obstacles. Various race waves let participants choose their level of competition?Extreme Runners compete in a timed race for prizes, Team Runners rely on the camaraderie of their group of five or more, and Fun Runners are simply there to enjoy the course and add to their troves of collectible mud samples. A portion of proceeds from this event go to support Albuquerque Christian Children's Home's efforts to house and protect neglected, abused, and abandoned children.