The YMCA Adventure Warrior Race gives kids and adults a chance to prove themselves against ropes courses, mud, water obstacles, and other unexpected mental and physical challenges—all while supporting a good cause. Amid the breathtaking views and tranquil waters of Lake Tris, runners maneuver around trees and carry heavy objects up the sometimes snow-covered Laurel Highlands mountains, climbing up to 1,000 feet as they go. Warriors aged 16 and older make a 4-mile circuit, whereas younger participants run age-appropriate distances of a half mile or a full mile. Trophies and the respect of all the woodland creatures are awarded to the top male and female runners, top male and female teams, and top co-ed team. According to the Daily American, funds raised from the race provide camp scholarships that allow kids to attend residential and day programs at the 263-acre YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles.
At North Versailles Bowling Center, bowlers hurl spheroids down well-waxed lanes crowned with a stunning diorama of the nighttime Pittsburgh skyline, taking timeouts to enjoy frosty beverages and cheesy pizzas from the nearby snack bar. Saturday nights are celebrated with glowing lights and music played by a live DJ, and ball hurlers attempt to celebrate the memory of Sir Isaac Newton by temporarily suspending the laws of physics with each roll. When they aren’t racking up strikes on the lanes or browsing Columbia, Storm, and Brunswick gear in the pro shop, visitors watch Pittsburgh sports teams on the lounge's five HDTVs or challenge each other to friendly rounds of billiards or trivia.
Former Marine and PGA-section-tournament champion Brian Machen assists his students’ swings by teaching techniques that he's refined across 12 years of instruction experience. Brian tracks swings using slow-motion and stop-action video, which help to isolate wayward movements so that he can suggest subtle adjustments in stance or switching out polka-dotted sweater vests for plaid polos. His fact-based, comprehensive cadre of tips applies to golfers of all ages and abilities, and after perfecting long drives on indoor or outdoor greens, pupils can access an online video lesson to force loved ones to watch during family movie nights.
Emphasizing a fun-loving appreciation of the artform since 1981, The Dance Company for the Performing Arts whisks students through social dance classes that are ideal for beginners. Under the supervision of artistic director Pat McKeown, highly trained instructors cure dance-floor phobias with experienced instruction in social dance. Meeting on Tuesday and Friday evenings, the eight-week class demystifies some of the most enjoyable dance styles known to bipeds and bipedal horses. Within the company's high-ceilinged and convivial facility, the secrets to that most beguiling of dances—the waltz—will be revealed, along with cha-cha, swing, and salsa. At the close of the supportive and noncompetitive eight-week session, participants may well emerge with the skills to impress their friends with a newfound capacity for proficient rug-cutting and clipping perfectly even samples of shag carpet.
For the four guys behind Full Pint Brewing Company, beer isn't just something to be enjoyed—it's a way of life. At their brewery and pub, they make and serve a variety of craft beers including the Chinookie IPA, White Lightning Belgian-style white ale, and the Little Brown brown ale. They supplement their lineup with seasonal beers, which run the gamut from stouts to ryes, and their limited release beer—cheekily named Nerd's Release—which they brew in extra-small batches during breaks in the brew schedule. To soak up the suds and ensure they remember their date's name, visitors can dig into a menu of bar-friendly snacks and specials such as soft pretzel bites with homemade sauces and specialty flatbread-style pizzas.
At Masterpiece Center for the Arts, instructors rekindle artistic creativity and help students find the medium that best inspires and challenges them. The center’s curriculum spans subjects as diverse as nature photography, henna tattoos, creative writing, and edible arrangements. Along with baseline classes in painting, drawing, and sculpture, students can delve into creating cartoons or glass mosaics, or they can take a 10-week class in cinema-style special-effects makeup.