When Frank Wheaton Jr. first visited the Corning Museum of Glass in the early 1960s, it caught his ire. On display were many marvelous works of glass—treasures forged of sand, wood, soda ash, and silica that represented the dawning of the American glass industry. Frank's problem? Those shiny, fragile masterpieces were being exhibited in New York and not where they were birthed: New Jersey.
As the grandson of glass magnate Dr. Theodore Corson Wheaton—whose glass pharmaceutical bottles were instrumental in giving rise to the Millville glass monarchy of the Wheaton company—Frank claimed his birthright and created Wheaton Village now known as Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center. The organization has a mission to engage artists and audiences in an evolving exploration of creativity, and has appealed to audiences of all ages for over four decades with its diverse traditional and contemporary arts programs, classes, workshops and exhibitions. Also on-site is The Museum of American Glass, housing one of the most comprehensive collections of American glass in the country, from the first glass bottles made in America, to celebrated works by Dale Chihuly and other contemporary artists who work with glass. Visitors can also experience the art of glassmaking, ceramics and flameworking in the Artists Studios, and the museum stores offer traditional and contemporary art in a variety of mediums.
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10.58 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.25 value).
Any coach will tell you that teaching absolute beginners requires patience. As luck would have it, Marissa Theobald of Marissa's Bit O' Luck Stable has patience in spades. She needed it to complete her equine industries degree at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, earn a license as a riding instructor and trainer, and work with problem horses, especially when they would ask, "Are we there yet?" from the trailer. Novice riders enjoy her calm, levelheaded approach as they learn the German method of riding, which emphasizes a balanced seat and developing a relationship with the horse—core tenets at any experience level. As riders advance, they can continue their education in dressage, jumping, and eventing under Marissa's tutelage, occasionally sneaking off to enjoy the miles of trails that abut the 9-acre ranch.
Children rattle through Monkey Town's colorful assortment of obstacle courses, inflatables, and playgrounds while closely supervised by a well-trained staff. With an open-play pass, children age 10 and younger, or octogenarians awakening from decades of enchanted sleep, can climb and slide around the soft jungle gym and partake in the miracle of human adhesion on the velcro wall. While kids consume their day of unlimited play and debates on pension-funding policies, adults can hang out in the parents' lounge and affix their eyeballs to a TV, or surf on the complimentary WiFi.
The extensive facilities of the 100-acre Saddlebrook Ridge Equestrian Center enable year-round riding with an indoor arena and access to trails that wind through the adjacent Wharton State Forest. Visitors can get a horsemanship education in the disciplines of dressage, jumping, or trail riding, and skilled trainers oversee every step of their advancement. Beginners start with the fundamentals, and more advanced riders utilize the center’s obstacles, such as a water complex and bank jumps—stair-like elevation changes which can prepare riders for swiftly galloping up and down flights of stairs during bank heists.
Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor Water Park invites dippers, divers, and lazy river rafters to their 58,000-square-foot splash factory that houses boat loads of tube slides, family raft rides, and other poolside attractions. Ungilled patrons ages 8 and older can challenge man-made waves with their mighty boards on the Flowrider surfing simulator, or play a pickup game of b-ball in Sam's Slamdunker pool that has hoops positioned in the center. Daycationers need not leave the premises for lunch, as Sahara Sam's houses a café with a menu buoyed by pizzas, sandwiches, and more. Aqua-loving visitors who plan to stay at the Wyndham Hotel in Mount Laurel will receive a discounted nightly rate of $79 when they reference "Sahara Sam's Groupon" upon booking. This rate applies based on availability and possible blackout dates.