There’s a fire in the field and only one way out. Unfortunately, that way is twisted and riddled with dead-ends. But at the end, past 5 acres of carved paths and corn-themed puzzles, past thousands of stalks of corn swaying in the wind, past delirious visions of poker-playing scarecrows, is a fire hose. Such is the theme of Ellms Family Farm’s interactive Hero Rush Amazing Maize maze, an obstacle that carries on pastoral autumn traditions with roughly 90 minutes of music and fun. Yet this maze is just one way that the Ellms family celebrates the changing season—it also serves up crispy apple-cider donuts, lobs wee ones into the air on the farm-favorite Jumping Pillow, and treats guests to a number of other themed activities it has developed over the years.
The farm’s history stretches back to 1984, when Chip and Sally Ellms planted their first batch of Christmas trees and began inviting visitors to stop by and admire the easy wind and downy flakes of winter. As the family grew, the farm kept pace, expanding to cover more than 200 acres and incorporate activities that help guests celebrate autumn as well. Throughout the harvest season, guests flock to the fields to play conductor or coal shoveler on the MooMooChooChoo train or pick out fresh pumpkins in the patch.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
At Harvest Meadow Farm, instructor Laurie Phillips draws on more than 30 years of training experience to guide her students in the ways of equitation, dressage, and jumping. She trains students of all ages and skill levels, and also trains horses according to natural-horsemanship techniques. Holding a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in equine studies, Laurie is both experienced and certified in training people with mental impairments, sponsoring a handicap program for Living Resources of Albany in 2010.
The “RoCM” in RoCM Dance stands for “rhythms of city motion,” and it’s a phrase the leaders of RoCM Dance take to heart. Not content to simply teach in studios, they head outside and throughout the Big Apple to lead classes and choreograph steps for flash mobs. Through their efforts, they hope to make dance accessible and affordable for everyone, regardless of skill level.
At Player?s Park Family Fun Plex, gentle hills and dales peppered with greenery surround an 18-hole miniature-golf course, the park?s scaled-down version of the nine-hole par-3 course. The par-3 course, open during the day and into the evening, provides players with short-game practice, just as the mini-golf course provides putt-polishing opportunities for players shorter than a putter. The mini-golf course and par-3 course are lit for evening play.
In addition to hosting rounds of golf, Player?s Park stays true to its name by inviting kids to play on a row of bounce-house inflatables. Families can also visit the ice-cream parlor, where they can play the quiet game as they chow down on Perry's ice cream. The parlor has an air-conditioned interior as well as an outdoor porch for those who prefer Mother Nature?s air conditioner?the flapping wings of a curious butterfly.
Actor and comedian Russell Brand frees chortles from belly prisons with his unique style of manic, irreverent humor. Riffing on the nature of fame and celebrity, Brand regales audiences with edgy observations and outsized characters to delight audiences grown bored with tamer comedians and telephone time-of-day services. Visiting a series of colleges, the tour filters the eccentricities of American universities through Brand's singular wit. George Mason University's recently renovated Patriot Center contains the glee in arena-style seating, ensuring everyone has a clear view of both Brand and the cricket whispering jokes in his ear.