Ever since its inception in 1935, the South St. Paul Rod & Gun Club has challenged visitors’ aim and timing in the rugged backwoods surrounding the Mississippi River. At year-round shooting ranges, guests raise their shotguns on four trap-shooting fields and three skeet-shooting fields. They can also travel to eight raised, wooden stands on a 50-target sporting-clay course or switch up positions on a five-stand field, blasting at targets shot to simulate the flight patterns of various game birds. To challenge technique and speed, staffers fire a range of specialty targets such as vertical-launching springing teals and arcing chandelles.
When not training beginners, the club’s staffers host leagues and seasonal tournaments where competitors test their shooting prowess. All visitors can refuel at an onsite restaurant and bar, or stock up on shells, earplugs, and apparel at the pro shop.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1,689 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 or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
The accommodating staff at Mattie's Lanes, Sports Bar & Grille eggs on competitive appetites in an alley boasting polished wood lanes, tap brews, and a full restaurant menu of classic grill fare. Automatic scoring systems let players relax between rolls, giving them time to nibble house-made pizza with italian sausage. An onsite pro-shop keeps pin-seeking projectiles on target, and an arcade with skee-ball and video games occupies idle hands before they knit ugly sweaters. Ball hurlers can bask in the black-lit glow of Ultra Bowling nights on Fridays and Saturdays or bring along their closest pin-pummeling buddies to celebrate a birthday party.
For more than 30 years, Raceway to Fun's grounds have offered visitors six outlets for their adrenaline. Two miniature golf courses beckon players to putt their way around large rocks and down angled fairways or traverse bridges to strike through loops and other obstacles. In a pool, participants as young as six board colorful bumper boats whose guns can spray off even the most severe of grass stains. Nearby, sharp turns on a winding go-kart track challenge drivers behind the wheel of single or double-rider karts. Golfers at the driving range launch balls over green fields while sluggers stare into the eyes of 16 pitching machines at the batting cages. Visitors can engage in each activity until dusk, when the sun setting on the horizon and the sky fading to dark blue signal both closing time and the start of the man in the moon's terrible stand-up routine.