Why build a business based purely on surprising people? “Because life moves fast and we don’t play nearly as much as we should,” say Surprise Industries founders and sisters Kat Dudina and Tania Luna on their website. By setting up surprises for big groups and individual clients alike, the duo, along with their imaginative staff, encourages the giddiness of play that often gets lost in the shuffle of adult responsibilities. With only a location and a time to arrive, participants are swept into an unpredictable adventure that may involve anything from attending an ice-sculpting workshop to being elected chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Climbers of all ages and skill levels scamper across roughly 22,000 square feet of climbable space inside Brooklyn Boulders's rock-climbing gym. A dedicated route-setting staff organizes color-coded problems on craggy, angled top-rope walls as well as bouldering walls that reach up to 15 feet. To help visitors master these walls, seasoned instructors train them in three basic types of climbing: bouldering, top-rope climbing, or lead climbing. They teach these skills through classes such as the peak-performance program, which combines seven classes in lead climbing, bouldering, and cross-training to accelerate students' learning. To ease stressed muscles and promote calm reflection, staffers also lead all-ages yoga lessons and monthly yoga workshops.
Brooklyn Boulders also injects creativity into its special events, which encourage visitors to climb in costume around Halloween and take part in competitions during which they pretend the floor has turned to lava. Staffers also invite local graffiti artists to display their murals inside, work to preserve regional climbing areas by partnering with Access Fund, and coordinate programs through its BKB Foundation—a nonprofit that provides greater access to rock climbing for kids and adults.
Today’s Groupon lets you step outside your shell, just like a naked turtle. For $75, you’ll get a one-year membership (a $198 value) and a $75 credit toward outdoor and urban excursions with Adventure Society. Featuring more than 67 different activities on nearly every weekend of the year, this game-changing organization is the first of its kind in New York. Navigating the perks that come with your membership is an adventure in and of itself.
Destination Backcountry Adventures’ licensed guides help civilians explore the wilderness, providing remedies to nature deficit disorder with beginner-appropriate expeditions into the Catskill and Adirondack Mountain preserves. The guides lead adventurers through landscapes and waterfalls legally protected for more than a century, and along the way, they enlighten hikers with facts about the area’s natural history and ecology, and in some cases, the opportunity to pick wild berries. Tours are dog-friendly. All levels of nature enthusiasts from novice to expert, can challenge themselves with activity options such as hiking, backpacking, back country yoga, and many more activities for both single- and multi-day adventures in the authentic, challenging wilderness. Visitors can opt for single-day excursions, on which they summit a Catskills peak, or multi-night trips, during which they trek to higher peaks and spend the nights sleeping amid a tranquil forest. On all outings, hikers nosh on gourmet fare such as cheese and sausage plates and upscale trail mix, rather than the original trail mix, assorted gravel. The center also hosts in-store classes, workshops, and more to provide its future adventurers with all the tools necessary for an exciting expedition.
The organizers of Out-Fit Challenge, the first national LGBT mud run obstacle course, aim to spark new friendships between its runners by creating challenges that require not only personal perseverance, but the occasional helping hand. Obstacles such as barbed wire crawls or mud pits force racers to get dirty, and tandem climbing walls make runners rely on each other to progress.
After making it to the finish line, participants mingle with newfound friends or long-lost parents at the after-party. After showering, racers can don their finisher’s award with pride. Each participant can pick up their complementary beer from one of the bars, before mingling, dancing to live music, or chowing down on the food vendors’ grub.