The round sun teeters on the barn's gable roof, threatening to roll right down. In a quick burst of wind, leaves begin clapping, as if in response to the equestrians trotting regally past. A smaller group of 10 riders wait patiently as guides corral a posse of good-natured horses, who toss their manes and lift their hooves with the joy of motion on a woodland trail ride past Wolfshohl Horse Training's gardens. Downwind, an individual lesson has a skilled trainer versing a 5-year-old about tack, grooming, and the techniques involved in English and Western riding styles. After patrons dismount at trail's end, they can question guides about holding a special event, boarding a pony, or the uncertain ramifications of using a lucky horseshoe to break a mirror.
Just north of downtown New Orleans, the family-owned-and-operated Northshore Riding Club encompasses seven picturesque acres of land fully equipped for horse riding, boarding, and grazing. Pony parties turn high birthday hopes into rambunctious reality with interactive equine celebrations. A trained horse whisperer in no way resembling Robert Redford will accompany the pony (or ponies) as the birthday kid and pals groom, pet, and take hand-led rides. Cowhands-in-training can also poke through the stables while learning the ancient secrets of equestrianism. The party concludes with a present gifted to the guest of honor by Northshore's benevolent ponies. Call to reserve a date and time.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts more than 1,800 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they?re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness?s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms.
Though severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina just five months after its debut, Slidell Rocks Climbing Gym rebuilt and reopened just months later and continues to provide the community with opportunities to build up muscular and cardio strength. The climbing center showcases top-rope challenges on walls nearly 40 feet high, as well as lower courses for younger climbers. Two bouldering rooms mimic the lifestyle of ancient arachnid cavemen with rooftop grips and seven hangboards. Between summit attempts, climbers can relax in the concessions area, watching their favorite sports on the televisions and munching on rock candy harvested from an active sugar volcano.
Amid the high-tech environs of a climate-controlled arena with a turf field, Playmakers Indoor Sports facilitates the frolicking needs of recreationalists with a full menu of soccer, lacrosse, flag football, and paintball. Throughout the year, members of various skill levels unite at the enclosed facility for leagues and pickup games, eliminating alfresco annoyances such as bad weather and verbally abusive seagulls. Every Friday night, the Northshore location's field sprouts a series of inflatable bunkers for paintball sessions, during which sharpshooters strap on provided protective gear and the equipment necessary for dappling human canvases with high-speed brushstrokes. Staffers further enlighten budding athletes during sports camps and kids' programs, and the facility can be rented out for private parties.
The dexterous, certified instructors at Northshore Swim impart water-safety knowledge while teaching fun and effective swimming strokes for aqua wranglers of all ages. Youngsters and longtime earth dwellers can learn liquid locomotion alongside two to three other students with the two semiprivate lessons (up to $22.50). Registration ($35) gives pool plungers a chance to begin H2O exploration in the safe confines of the experienced establishment, with 45-minute timeslots available Saturdays or 30-minute sessions on weekdays.