In 1898—the same year Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium and composer George Gershwin was born—the Wyman Center opened its doors. Founded in St. Louis by a group of citizens intent upon granting the city’s children a respite from the often sweltering tenements, the organization’s first programs were designed to furnish participants with fresh air, healthy food, and fun-filled outdoor activities. Though the world has changed radically since the Wyman Center’s inception, it continues to uphold and expand upon its founders' original mission of providing teens from disadvantaged circumstances with opportunities, support, and educational programs.
Today, powered by a dedicated staff of community leaders and volunteers, the Wyman Center’s numerous initiatives revolve around leadership and outreach programs. Amidst 250 acres of sylvan land, the Eureka campus serves as a base for outdoor education programs available to a variety of organizations from educational camps to team building retreats. Under the watchful eyes of supportive staffers and any fruit bats flying overhead, outdoor adventurers can tackle challenges afforded by ziplines, climbing walls, and orienteering activities. Along with skill-building programs, a variety of getaway packages invite groups to revel in the alfresco amenities of the Eureka campus while celebrating birthdays, weddings, or family reunions.
Though most people hate the feeling of getting lost, that’s the point behind spending a day at the maze at Brookdale Farms. Not because the staff wants guests to wander aimlessly, but because the maze makes for a great way to enjoy the autumn sunshine at a relaxed pace and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Open as a family-friendly jaunt during the day and as a haunted attraction at night, the maze tests navigators’ skills and affords a rare view into how scarecrows live when they think no one is looking. Outside the maze, the farm offers other autumnal activities such as pumpkin slingshots, pony rides, adrenaline-pumping ziplines, and a hay jump, inviting families to spend a full day disconnected from their televisions, computers, and employer-mandated tracking devices.
Like a Caribbean resort, Yuppy Puppy Pet Spa soothes away the stress and worries that build up in canine minds while their owners are off relaxing at work. Pups of all breeds and sizes—as well as cats—jump into the arms of loving staff members for grooming and pampering sessions. Services range from the ordinary, such as nail clipping and ear trimming, to the opulent, such as blueberry and vanilla facial masks or soothing mud baths for the whole body.
But personality trumps beauty at play camp, where dogs’ dispositions decide which of three indoor camps they’ll call home for the day. Pooches can also pack their toothbrushes and curlers for overnight stays in private luxury suites—some equipped with flat-screen TVs—or the social lounge, where pups play all day and curl up in front of a movie at night.
The owners of Peak Nutrition founded their business with a simple goal of helping others. To that end, they provide customers with the supplements they need to kick-start a new diet, fuel a workout, or muster the strength to rip off their tank tops Hulk-style. On-staff nutritionists and dieticians can further help clients in their healthy pursuits with custom five-step nutrition plans.
The Tile Shop—as the name coyly suggests—specializes in tile for every imaginable surface and aesthetic style, making it easy for DIY handypeople to tackle small home projects, such as modernizing an avocado-green and penicillin-pink bathroom floor or re-grouting a small garden grotto. Underscore a kitchen with the appetizing orange of pirita siena ceramic tiles ($2.19 per square foot), then trim the counters in lizett beige ($3.99 each) for a complementary finish. Pick up a honeycomb pattern of hex matte black ($5.29 per square foot)—the quintessential backsplash for a gothy bumblebee—or add a touch of character to a small surface with a deep green verde butterfly mosaic ($11.99 per square foot). With its enormous selection of floor tiles, wall tiles, mosaics, and natural stone, the possibilities are as endless as a drive across Nebraska. The Tile Shop also has a plentiful selection of grout and tools for grouting it all together while grinning groutishly.