Kidz-N-Play's indoor-play facility enthralls youngsters with its plethora of educational and recreational toys, structures, and activities. The masterminds behind the playground flank their moon bounce with two slides and a spacious jumping area, and crowd a large table with a wooden-train set. Their lego table gives kids a chance to practice building skills or explore a policy of aggressive economic expansion. A dance area equipped with Just Dance Kids for Xbox Kinect eliminates calories during lengthy boogying sessions, and a toddler play area sets tots on a foam-cushioned floor awash in age-appropriate toys. When designing the indoor playground, the owners didn't forget about parent and guardian visitors and equipped a seating area overlooking the playrooms with free WiFi and televisions.
In 1995, a group of families with children struck by CDH came together to form Cherubs, an organization designed to provide support and information to those touched by the condition. CDH, or congenital diaphragmatic hernia, is a rare condition that causes a malformation in a gestating fetus's diaphragm. The diaphragm either forms with holes or doesn't form at all, allowing the abdominal organs into the chest cavity and hindering the growth of the lungs. Roughly 50% of babies born with this heartbreaking condition don't survive, and those who do survive suffer from numerous and costly medical issues. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Cherubs helps families—more than 4,300 across the world, at current count—understand and persevere through the issues of CDH, while supporting efforts to find the cause and develop treatments for the condition.
One of the ways they achieve this is through their annual Masquerading Angels Ball, a formal event punctuated by elegant masks, live music, and plenty of libations. There, tuxedoed men and gowned women savor gourmet appetizers and cocktails from a cash bar as they play poker and blackjack at casino tables, all in an effort to fight a tragic children's medical condition.
Pro Tip: The best day of your life and bragging rights to say you did it.
What makes your business stand out?
The uniqueness of our races. We offer more than just a beer and a medal.
What inspired you to start or run this business?
I was inspired by other races and wanted to bring this excitement that I felt to the Raleigh area. The feeling of accomplishment that you get when you cross that finish line?words cant do it justice.
What is the best reaction you?ve ever gotten from a customer?
One woman who is in her 50s that had never done anything like this before said "This was the best day of my life." People's smiles and their tears when they finally cross the finish line and get that medal around their neck is the best thing to watch.
What?s your favorite part about your job?
Helping people achieve something that they never thought they would do.
Electric Foam 5K isn't measured by time, but by bubbles and beats per minute. Foam cannons and speakers line the roughly three-mile course, keeping pulse rates high with booming EDM anthems. By night, murals of lights and tree installations help guide participants of all ages as they run, walk, dance, or let their moms push their strollers to the finish line. Everyone is free to go at their own pace, and encouraged to dress in their most flamboyant costumes. At the finish line, they won't be greeted with a finish time or the disappointed glare of their P.E. teacher, but with an after-party of live DJs spinning such artists as Calvin Harris, Deadmau5, David Guetta, and others?all before one last avalanche of foam engulfs the dancing throngs.
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, running 2,180 miles over mountains, rocky slopes, and deep valleys. Since it was established in 1925, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has cared for the trail, maintaining 250,000 acres of public land. The organization educates hikers on Leave No Trace camping and why it's not a good idea to challenge a bear to a hugging contest.
Volunteers and trail crews build and repair shelters along the footpath and engage youth and community members in outdoor activities. In addition to these human-oriented services, the ATC works to protect endangered species living along the trail and to preserve the land's watershed streams and migratory corridor.
The educators behind Mad Science propagate a love of science, technology, engineering, and math through programs that immerse kids in exploration. Rather than standing at a lectern and droning on about static electricity or the life cycle of a cootie, the educators meet kids at eye level for experiments that actively instill principles of questioning and observation. Although their methods are fun, they're also meaningful—lessons align with STEM objectives and enrich classroom science curriculums. Scientists typically host workshops at school facilities, but also can transport their rockets, lasers, and slime to birthday parties and inquiry-based field trips.