Instructor Cheryl Frazier takes a holistic approach to horseback-riding lessons; instead of just teaching students to ride, she also imparts grooming and tacking skills. That way, her students form a bond with their horses before hopping on their backs to guide them through European and Western riding techniques. She caters her lessons to accommodate beginning to advanced riders, and some of her more experienced protégés make up a blue-ribbon-winning show team and a 4-H Club dedicated to showing horses and providing community service. The farm is also home to a tack and consignment shop that stocks gently used show outfits and last year?s fashionable neon pink and glittery horseshoes.
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Family Day
Pro Tip: Old fashioned outdoor fun where children run, climb, jump, and explore at their own pace.
Good for Kids: Yes
Walk-ins Welcome: Yes
When Melinda?owner of Three Bears Acres?looks back on her own childhood, she remembers a time of carefree joy. She recalls running off into the woods with friends after breakfast, hunting for salamanders and building forts, and returning home only when hunger called her. As a mother of three, Melinda found that same sense of play and freedom to be missing from her children's tightly scheduled lives. She wanted to make a place for kids and their families to celebrate activities with similar freedoms.
The result is Three Bears Acres, which is part educational farm, part massive playground. The farm boasts flowers, fruits, and vegetables, which visitors can tend, harvest, and even bring home to cook. Staff members and the website have a few suggested recipes in which to use the fresh-grown produce. The playground, meanwhile, consists of more than just towers, slides, bridges with troll tolls, and tunnels. Kids cook up anything they can imagine in the Mud Kitchen. They blast each other with water guns in the shaded Water Wars arena, or try their hand as street artists on the Grafitti Wall. Parents get into these activities too, and Melinda says the most rewarding part of her job is "seeing children and parents happy."
One hundred acres of scenic meadows and forested trails wind around the perimeter of Wildwynn Stables, which features a 5,184-square-foot boarding barn, a 220'x180' arena of jumps and obstacles, a 60-foot wooden ring, and a 100'x80' paneled training pen. Owned by a family boasting three decades of experience with equines, the stables board steeds in comfy 12'x12' stalls. Cynthia Cooke, East Coast Open Show Circuit's 2010 Trainer of the Year, lays the foundation for showmanship competitions in private and group lessons. At weeklong summer camps, Cynthia demonstrates her expertise during daily riding sessions and wrangles kids as they learn riding safety and how to care for their own steed, which covers grooming and braiding carrots into their manes for later.
Flakes of ice float through the frosty air, twinkling in the light. Rosy-cheeked children skate across the glittery ice, clutching their parents' gloved hands and shrieking gleefully. Though it seems as though it belongs in the pages of a winter fairy tale, this is the scene of a typical August afternoon at Polar Ice House. The hot summer sun burns brightly outside, but the temperature inside the vast indoor ice rink remains a brisk 45 degrees.
Although the wintry conditions make the rink a less than ideal venue for a bikini fashion show, the cold environment is perfect for the skating lessons, hockey games, and public-skating and hockey sessions that the rink hosts year-round. The center's attentive instructors lead students of all ages and experience levels through fundamental skating skills, progressing to advanced techniques, such as jumping, spinning, and karate chopping aggressive abominable snowmen, once students have mastered the basics.