Made up of wooden footbridges, ziplines, and demanding rope courses, each of the 5 aerial trails at The Adventure Park at Storrs winds higher and higher above the forest floor. The color-coded pathways were built with climbers of all skill levels in mind, ranging from low-to-the-ground beginners' courses to the more advanced skyward trajectories. Safety orientations precede every climb, upon which participants embark while strapped into a climbing system that always remains securely connected to a safety line. The park strives to keep its surrounding forest and trees healthy by making sure light, air, and moisture flow freely along each trail.
On a ranch in the country, Epona Farms' trainers share the equestrian spirit with newcomers, youth, and champions-to-be in their indoor arenas and outdoor sand area. Triona Watson, an advanced coach since 1975, draws from her international experience to head up the facility's instructional programs. Her riding curriculum centers on three components: dressage, stadium jumps, and cross-country riding. Along with these focuses, her students learn English and Western styles of riding in an indoor arena and outdoor sand area. As spring turns to summer, Epona's horse whisperers expand their lessons into immersive day camps that teach horsemanship and leadership skills to adolescents, and let the children interact with other animals, such as rabbits and sheep. Younger children may be enchanted by PeeWee Pony School, a program that pairs pintsize novices with appropriate-size steeds to help instill a love for horses and riding at a young age. Additionally, the instructors focus on community outreach and work with special-needs children and young adults.
The sound of clanging metal emanates from a factory-like structure flanked by asphalt and trees. This plant doesn't manufacture station wagons or wrought-iron fences. Here, certified CrossFit coaches transform exercisers into athletes with barbells and sledgehammers. Classes revolve around functional workouts, which teem with strength-training moves inspired by Olympic weightlifters and gymnasts. In addition to building lean muscle mass with dumbbells and pull-ups, participants torch calories and cultivate stamina with cardio challenges such as rowing and sprinting. During On Ramp classes, instructors show newcomers how to exercise safely, whether they're wielding a heavy weight or jumping rope with a sleeping boa constrictor. The exercises can be scaled to different levels of fitness, allowing beginners and accomplished athletes to work out side by side.