Amid 48 rolling acres, noble steeds and their mounts trot, canter, and jump over fences at Stone Bridge Equestrian Center’s three outdoor rings. Inside, the riding arena provides respite for riders on rainy days or cooler months, where equestrian and trainer Shelley Stewart regales students with her hefty experience that totals 18 years. Stewart brings her knowledge to a team of instructors who teach show-jumping and hunt-seat to students. Visitors can mount up on provided trained horses, or bring along their own steeds to partake in private lessons, trail rides, and camps.
Catering to all curious pilots—whether you own your own airplane, or are climbing into the cockpit for the very first time—the 45 certified flight instructors and team of mechanics at Freedom Aviation safely usher aeronauts to the skies. From their post at Lynchburg Regional Airport, the aviation academy's fleet of top-notch Cessnas are available for flight training programs ranging from multi-engine rating to Bald Eagle certification, which comes with an optional bird costume to be worn at all times.
The James River Association promotes stewardship and conservation of the historic James River and its tributaries and resources. The association advocates for the river's health among local residents and educates community members through a variety of programs and activities.
When the swirls of smoke clear, the 22nd century appears in all its neon glory. Well, not the actual 22nd century. But FunQuest certainly evokes the future with its multi-level laser tag arena, where players clad in vests dodge incoming beams while firing their own. Colorful obstacles glow in the dark and provide cover throughout the space, which is big enough to fit 20 competitors.
The rest of FunQuest contains equally family-friendly attractions, including a hardwood maple skating center. After optional lessons for all ages, visitors glide along to upbeat tunes on quad or inline skates, and participate in classic games like the limbo and hokey pokey.
Even more games can be found at the arcade. These ones dispense tickets, and once players have collected enough, they can exchange them for prizes, such as an oversized bow for the family giant who had to wait in the parking lot.
Finally, for youngsters under the age of 10, the PlayQuest indoor playground has plenty of slides to ride, bouncy floors to traverse, and tubes to crawl through.
Dan Hague is something of an expert on the sport of rock climbing. He even co-authored a book on the subject, The Self-Coached Climber, that lays out how amateur climbers can improve their skills on their own. Of course, if beginners and intermediate climbers want some help learning the ropes, he's more than happy to offer his expert guidance to them as well at his own facility, Rise Up Climbing. The 6,000-square-foot space houses roped climbing and bouldering walls that tower as high as 40 feet in certain spots. Lest beginners shake in their harnesses at the sight of the towering wall, the half-hour Basic Skills course teaches small groups the fundamentals of climbing, such as how to properly don a harness, belay for a partner, and talk trash to a conquered route.
The chefs at Bull Branch marry local and international ingredients in a menu of salads, shareable tapas, and entrees that strikes a balance between succinct and eclectic. Served in a intimately lit Bohemian setting that The Washington Post describes as "that perfect blend of casual and sophisticated, elegant and honky-tonk," dishes such as hummus, curries, and pulled pork harness the flavors of the Mediterranean and Middle East, Southeast Asia, and down-home America. Occasional live music in the evenings complements the pan-continental cuisine, as does a serving staff of UN delegates who, upon request, sprinkle borders of salt and pepper to delineate your entree and sides.