Hot air balloons float into the air from Balloon Quest's idyllic launch location, taking guests on a bird's-eye tour of a stunning natural expanse studded with hills and lakes. Experienced pilots guide the rainbow-colored orbs on languorous tours, sweeping balloons' teardrop-shaped shadows over hills, dales, and the on-site mini-golf course. After their aerial tour, visitors can linger at Balloon Quest for a picnic on the grounds or a thought-provoking discussion of their top 10 favorite gravity-defying experiences. While flights are made year-round, Balloon Quest has very specific weather guidelines for flying, and rescheduling may be common.
At Pine River Stables, experienced equestrians and instructors pair guests with patient, well-trained horses for lessons or scenic rides through more than 100 acres of rustic expanse. For more than 40 years, expert instructors have been teaching horsemanship and proper riding techniques. Trails weave throughout the land, leading riders over peaceful hills and meadows and alongside a seasonal creek that migrates south every winter to become a Florida beach rivulet.
Extensively trained in the Hunter/Jumper riding tradition, Great Escape Stables owner Robyn Schamante harnesses her equestrian knowledge to guide students of all ages toward expert horsemanship and riding skills. During private and group lessons, Schamante and her amiable staff instill in their students the values of traditional horsemanship, such as kindness and respect for the stable’s docile mounts or gentleness when french-braiding a horse’s tail. Schamante also hosts special events, such as horse shows, throughout the year and day camps during the summer.
One empty school bus, twenty-seven abandoned cars, and a desolate two-story house are the only refuges for combatants roving an expansive urban field. Fourteen additional playfields set the stage for games, surrounding players in open fields and dense forests. It's at Futureball Paintball's 115-acre facility that friendly paintball and Airsoft battles unfold each day and have unfolded for more than 20 years. While vehicle carcasses characterize the urban landscapes, two airfields exhibit red inflatables that mimic the ruins of ancient bounce castles. Between games, a 5-acre picnic area serves as neutral ground to strategize and nibble snacks.
To ensure fair play, Futureball Paintball's staff leads brief orientations and monitors all action. They can also repair and upgrade guns.
Arcadia Stables stretches out across more than 70 acres of picturesque riding trails, rolling hills, and verdant woods. Formerly Tic-Tac-Toe Farms, the equestrian facility is now under the ownership of Marian Lohff and Danielle Weddle, who have managed to complete a laundry list of renovations in recent years. The equestrian experts’ hard work has helped to maintain the 100’x200’ indoor arena, where riders can master the art of English-style riding during private and group lessons. Adjacent to the indoor arena, a heated observation room—complete with a kitchenette—lets parents keep an eye on lessons, saving students from the hassles of additional pressure or the stench of a parent who hid inside the manure pile just to feel more involved.
The baseball and softball instructors at Great Lakes Baseball Academy share their passion for America's pastime with students as they draw upon accolades that include two national minor-league titles and a high-school state softball record for strikeouts in one year. Inside the year-round, 5,000-square-foot facility, coaches with experience at the major, minor, and high-school levels enrich players' skills during private lessons and team-training sessions. Line drives echo through three climate-controlled, 80-foot batting and pitching tunnels, which include Iron Mike pitching machines that hurtle balls from 40 to 90 mph and occasionally charge the plate. Along with their training grounds, the academy's shop stays stocked with such gear as the latest bats and gloves.