Nestled upon a patch of land that's passed through the hands of five generations, The Lessman Farm owes much to its current paterfamilias, Ronald Lessman, who began drawing in sightseers and visitors with his catfish pond, self-built house, and otherworldly sculpture gardens. Guests walk the shores or ply the waves of the 30-acre catfish lake, casting for regularly stocked populations of bass, perch, and crappie as they take in the majestic scenery of the rustic prairie. But what draws the most attention from visitors is Truckhenge, an arrangement of half-buried torpedo trucks, mysteriously lifting their engines skywards in what appears to be an industrial-age interpretation of Stonehenge. The Lessmans' outdoor installation is folk art on a monumental scale, proudly flaunting its offbeat flavor and inspiring visitors to express themselves without hesitation or apology or to bury themselves waist-deep in the ground at a 45-degree angle. A healthy respect for individualism and the avant-garde prevails throughout the property, with other attractions drawing attention from tourists, such as the enormous quonset hut farmhouse handmade from recycled materials or the huge beer-bottle glass wall mosaic.
At any of the 15 Great Life Golf and Fitness locations, guests are encouraged to invent their own triathlon of gusto, switching from swimming in the pool to getting a total body workout to playing a round of golf. Great Life has facilities scattered throughout Kansas and Missouri, including golf courses such as the National Audubon Society–certified River Oaks and the links at The Oaks, which were designed by Tom Bendelow and opened in the 1920s. Golfers looking for quick rounds can drop by the nine-hole courses at Maple Creek, Abilene, and CedarBrook. Gyms such as the 14,000-square-foot fitness center at Berkshire allow members or guests to pump iron or run on treadmills when they aren’t helping their golf balls safely reach the greens by paying golf carts to drink all of the water hazards dry. Although amenities vary at each club, all of Great Life Golf and Fitness’s venues boast a pro shop, and the courses at Berkshire and Prairie View maintain driving ranges where golfers can make golf balls practice flying without their parachutes.
After decades of winning the admiration of stock-car racing fans with his aggressive driving strategy and off-track charisma, Rusty Wallace now gives others the chance to experience the rush of racing. He joined forces with Sodikart to roll out the Rusty Wallace Kart Experience, pairing kart with driver at some of the country's most celebrated racetracks. Racers can hop in a custom RT8 (or its kid-friendly counterpart, the LR4) and hit the gas, tearing up everything from the versatile road courses and speedy main track of the Atlanta Motor Speedway to the challenging lava pits of the Milwaukee Mile.
But this go-karting business has a big brother?the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. It's a high-speed trip into the pro-racing trade, with breathtaking ride-alongs and racing experiences in stock cars. Guests buckle up and sit shotgun alongside professional drivers as they fly down straightaways and around curves. They can even get behind the wheel themselves, finally feeling what it's like to be a professional driver.
Kicking. Punching. Developing valuable social skills. One of these may seem out of place, but rest assured that it's not. At least it's not at Brown's Tae Kwon Do, where students learn how to defend themselves even as they build self-confidence and make new friends. Students of all ages and skill levels participate in indoor and outdoor classes every day, learning new techniques as they advance through the rainbow of belt levels. Of course, fitness-minded students can always throw up their dukes in cardio kickboxing or fitness boxing classes that build strength and endurance.
Nail tech Melody Williams beautifies nails with expertly administered manicures and pedicures. With an arsenal of brand-name products such as Tammy Taylor and OPI, she shapes nails, applies polishes, and exfoliates hands and feet before pampering treatment areas with massages. Along with Melody and her fellow nail pros, Salon Renew rounds out its team with stylists that administer haircuts, highlights, and coloring using top products from haircare manufacturers such as Redken and White Sands instead of smashed markers.
The Topeka Symphony Orchestra heralds its 66th year of performances, as well as the final season for conductor and music director Dr. John Strickler, with its upcoming 2011–2012 season. On opening night, "Czech Mates" tasks the professional soundsmiths with transmuting the pages of Dvorak's Symphony no. 6 and Tchaikovsky's violin concerto into an aural spectacle. Ivan Zenaty, an experienced maestro who currently resides in Dresden, leads the concerto's melodic charge and waves his baton with fingers nimble enough to play cat's cradle one-handed. "The 5th!" unfurls an ear-tickling soundscape that includes Beethoven's Symphony no. 5, as well as Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem and Rainbow Body by Theofanidis. White Concert Hall sports more than 1,000 seats, allowing patrons ample room to indulge in the orchestra's acoustic delights or privately conduct their own shadow-puppet rendition of Amadeus.