"####National Historic Landmarks: Preserving a Link to the Past
This attraction is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Read on to learn about what criteria a site must meet to be inducted.
Visiting a landmark breathes life into history by reminding us that the past is more than ink and paper—it’s brick and mortar, flesh and bone. The National Register of Historic Places catalogs and preserves such locations, but how does a landmark qualify for historic status?
One way is for the building itself to have played a role in United States history. That’s the case with Boston’s Old North Church, where Paul Revere ordered lanterns hung in warning—one if by land, two if by sea, three if by hang glider. A site might also be associated with a person of importance, such as the John Coltrane House in Philadelphia and the Robert Frost Farm in Vermont. Another criterion is that a location represents an American ideal. This could be said of Washington D.C.’s Sewall-Belmont House, the home of the National Women’s Party, or José Clemente Orozco’s mural The Epic of American Civilization, which depicts history from the Aztecs to industrialization.
More abstractly, a site can be inducted into the National Register as an example of a particular architectural style—Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin is emblematic of the Prairie school—or as a singular architectural feat outside of any particular genre, such as St. Louis’s Gateway Arch. Other locations are deemed significant for their contributions to scientific and cultural knowledge. In Chicago, one can visit the site of the world’s first self-sustaining nuclear reaction, marked by Henry Moore’s Nuclear Energy, and in Southern Illinois sits Cahokia, an ancient Native American city founded sometime around 700 AD.
History isn’t just the past—it’s an ongoing entity. Historic-landmark status can be granted to virtually any type of building or location, no matter how old or young it is. All that matters is that the site is culturally significant and fundamentally American, rather than simply a shared hallucination such as Mount Rushmore."
Ironwood Outdoor Center has a bit of an infestation problem—in the form of flying squirrels. The thing about these flying squirrels, though, is that they're actually people. After donning a helmet and harness, brave adventurers are hoisted high into the sky before being "dropped" to sail through the air. But the Flying Squirrel is just one of the exhilarating activities at this nonprofit organization, whose aim is to instill self-confidence and nurture a love for nature in kids and adults alike.
Adrenaline junkies can get their fill with the zipline, ropes course, and a vertical play-pen, while those looking for a more subtle day of nature can hike Ironwood's verdant trails, explore the sensory garden, or paddle down the creek in a kayak or a giant wooden shoe. Open from early spring to late fall, the center welcomes single-day visitors or groups celebrating a birthday, family reunion, or graduation.
By the Numbers:
2000–the year the park opened
84 acres of woodland and wetland
241 species of flora and fauna
2.5 miles of hiking trails
1.5 miles of creek frontage
2 ropes courses—one high and one low
The normal rules of gravity only apply to half of Stratosphere Trampoline Park's 20,000 sq. ft. interior. Trampolines blanket the other half, inviting visitors to leap and bound during free play or in high-flying games of dodgeball like the ones mankind aspires to play on the moon. When they're done jumping, visitors can dive into a foam pit, and youngsters can head to a special kids' area equipped with padded and netted trampolines. Nearby, speed wall, laser maze, arcade games, and an air hockey table stand atop normal, non-springy surfaces.
Stratosphere's newest attraction is the Ultimate Ninja Challenge, based off the popular TV show American Ninja Warrior. Ultimate Ninja Challenge is a timed obstacle course with multiple elements, including quad steps and warped walls. The course is sure to be a challenge for all ages, with participants as young as five having finished it. The course appeals to nearly all ages and skill levels.
One gym can hardly contain Master Solomon Brenner's martial-arts expertise, which is why his school—Action Karate—has expanded to 13 different locations. Brenner believes that the martial arts are a lifelong pursuit, so he takes on students aged 3–93.
His classes for kids blend fitness with self-discipline, whereas his classes for adults focus on toning exercises and self-defense. Not all of his classes involve combat; some dedicate entire hours to pure strength training or cool-pose striking. He and his staff also host birthday parties for kids, which include fun martial-arts instruction, games, and a ceremonial slicing of birthday cake with a samurai sword.
Horseback riding is one of those rare activities that can be enjoyed by people of almost any age. In fact, at Going for the Gold Farm, kids as young as 3 can hop in the saddle and learn how to ride. Head trainer Megan—who's especially adept at building confidence in both horses and riders—instills a sense of positivity into Going for the Gold's classes, which are available at the farm or even off-site around town. What's more, she starts newcomers at the very beginning and works with them step-by-step as far as they want to go—even up to competition-level riding.
After several years of teaching out of rec centers, school cafeterias, and even fire houses, Westampton Martial Arts now has a permanent training facility. The school is owned by the Kirkpatrick family, and their deep roots in the area have inspired them to offer classes for just about every segment of their community, from wee ones to teens to grandparents who want to impress their teens. Among other techniques, students learn how to stay fit and defend themselves through Brazilian jujitsu, hapkido, karate, tae kwon do, and muay-thai kickboxing.