Vintage Paintball Park?s speckled outdoor arena unfurls ten different fields, including the Thunderdome, where players aged 10 and older engage in colorful combat under the watchful eye of trained referees ensuring safety. Amid the paintball crossfire, sharpshooters weave in and out of a variety of obstacles situated around urban landscapes, wooded courses with pillboxes and trenches, hilly terrain, and moms yelling to come inside for supper. The park hosts myriad battle scenarios that keep guests entertained throughout the day or for the duration of season passes. Private paintball lessons help players improve shooting accuracy before releasing them into the line of fire during Saturday and Sunday afternoon open play. An onsite concession stand replenishes body fuel with snacks and drinks so that players can jump back into games with the energy of a superhero bit by Ben Franklin.
As a girl, Lynette Weldon dreamed of horses and cleaned stalls in exchange for the opportunity to ride. But she was only allowed to take out horses known to be stubborn and difficult-the ones no one else wanted to ride. Over time, the experience toughened her riding abilities, allowing her to grow into a trainer with a knack for bonding with troubled ponies.
At Lost Creek Ranch, Lynette guides students and horses along trails and streams during riding lessons. Eagles often glide overhead in search of fretted field mice, and tufts of woodsmoke climb from the campsites of ranch visitors. She also guides many of her riding students to competitive shows where horses are encouraged to settle their differences through equitation rather than bare-hoof boxing or telling yo' mare jokes.
Great blue herons stalking the wildflowers along the Kinnickinnic River. Trout leaping out of the water to feed. Owner and lifelong outdoorsman Mike Kealy and his guides lead kayaking trips past these and more dramatic sites, which typify the undeveloped riverbanks throughout eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Each outing begins at a select meet-up point, from which guides provide shuttle service to and from the launch sites. Along with unveiling the rivers? untouched scenery, River Guide?s team can also add a fishing guide to each trip, taking guests into streams teeming with brown, rainbow, and zebra-striped trout.
About 30 minutes from Minneapolis, the crew of Kinni Kayak runs tours on the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisconsin. The 3.5-hour excursions travel an 8-mile stretch of the river in a secluded, nonresidential area teeming with wildlife. For first-time kayakers, Kinni offers lessons with instruction as basic as how to sit in the craft and hold the paddle and as advanced as paddling techniques and fish grammar.
A casual grill and pub, Bo's 'N Mine celebrates food and friendly competition in equal measure. Large flat-screen TVs hanging over the tables show live sporting events, and regular matches of Buzztime Trivia pit friends against friends, or friends against retired chess computers. In a dedicated game room, folks can keep the camaraderie going with arcade games, darts, and pool.
The menu of casual pub fare, meanwhile, seems designed to keep guests fueled for play. Popular sandwiches such as roast beef and chicken fajita are served alongside Bo's signature burgers, each anchored by 1/3-pound hand-formed patties made with meats sourced from Pierce County producers. Beer-battered shrimp or fish, and barbecue pork ribs round out the menu. As if the entertainment factor wasn't enough, many of the proceeds from dining and gaming go toward a good cause: Bo's supports five local and national charities.
A row of neatly trimmed trees lines either side of the winding driveway that leads up to the stately clubhouse at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course, welcoming visitors to its verdant grounds. Ever since players began spraying drives and rolling putts over the 18-hole course in 1994, the club has filled the space with similar congenial flourishes, including flower beds and a central lake fountain. After players hole out and exchange secret handshakes on the 18th green, they can head for drinks at the course bar, complete with a veranda where they can watch the sunset.