Harry Houdini was legendary for his daring escapes, but he's still never escaped the public's imagination. To wit: AKA Houdini, whose artifacts offer a hands-on glimpse into some of his most infamous tricks. Along with the Appleton-raised illusionist, The History Museum at the Castle's award-winning exhibits focus on other notable Fox Valley natives, including Senator Joseph McCarthy. Dating back to the 1840s, the museum's collection of Fox Valley artifacts includes 35,000 photographs and 20,000 pieces, such as parts of a vintage gas station. At an exhibit tracing the origins of the area's most famous foods, such as frozen custard and fish fries, visitors can even spear sturgeons inside a life-size virtual ice shanty.
These pieces of Fox Valley history are housed inside a Masonic temple listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1923, the temple exemplifies the medieval, Norman Revival style with rough-hewn stone, vaulted ceilings, and fire-breathing dragons guarding its entrance. Designed as a community center, the temple continues to serve that function by hosting the museum's year-round events, including papermaking programs and magic workshops.
Inspired by watching her sister turning and leaping in ballet class, Harley Atkinson began dancing at the age of 3. Throughout her life, she has gained a strong groundwork for dance, performing at the prestigious Makaroff School of Ballet and moving on to study contemporary and modern dance in college. Now a teacher at her own studio, she believes that everyone can learn to dance. She aims to free her students of their self-imposed limitations, motivating them to move their bodies to the music and gain confidence in their own styles. Following in a tradition she learned from her parents, Harley also offers reiki sessions for people who want to relax sans toe tapping.
The studio’s light and airy atmosphere contributes to the freedom of leaping as high as your body will allow. Upbeat music plays over the speaker system, a cushioned wooden floor prevents injuries, and floor-to-ceiling mirrors wrap around the walls to expose any tap-dancing shadow people.
Before Bob Burns was a tournament winner, he was operating a one-man golf center just north of Appleton. Bob Burns Golf was founded in 1975, and in those days specialized in repairs, custom-built clubs, and golf instruction. By the 1980s, the company had grown—as had its reputation—and Burns was being invited to host seminars on club design, manufacture, and repair by leaders in the industry. His career on a perpetual upswing, the PGA Master Professional invented his trademark No Bananas driver around the same time. Today, his golf lessons are considered among the top 50 in the world by Golf Range Magazine, and in his downtime he acts as the accessible golf editor for Palaestra, where he focuses on making the game accessible for those with disabilities.
Martial arts at Appleton's Soto's Martial Arts America is a great workout that will leave you feeling Zen.
Their instructors know how to work out your body completely with one of their specialties being in MMA.
If you're trying to get to the next level of fitness but aren't quite sure how to get there, the gym also has personal trainers available to meet with you at any time.
Jab, hook, kick! These kickboxing classes will teach you the basic fundamentals and give you a great cardio workout.
Test the cross fit challenge at this location to finally see the results you've been working towards.
Drivers can make use of the parking lots near Soto's Martial Arts America.
The crisp sound of ice skates slicing across fresh ice fills Appleton Family Ice Center, a nonprofit community rink that hosts ice-based sports, skating lessons, and open-skate times. New renovations present visitors with healthier options at the concession stand and a brand-new skating surface as smooth as a silk scarf wrapped around Kenny G. When it’s not hosting birthday parties or serving as the home base for the Fox Cities Ice Dogs or Valley Figure Skating Club, the center also welcomes the public for evening events that include live music, refreshments, and periodic sweeps from a Zamboni decorated like a fire truck.
Snack on tasty pub fare at Shark's Club Billiard Bar, a local favorite.
This restaurant also operates a bar, so a round of drinks with dinner is not out of the question.
During the restaurant's weekend rush, waiting in line is the name of the game (so avoid Friday and Saturday nights if you're looking for something quick).
If you're driving, that's no problem. Parking available onsite.
The pub food at Shark's Club Billiard Bar is great to munch on while catching up with your friends, so head on over today and enjoy great conversation and a great bite to eat.