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20 Adult Camps for the Young At Heart

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When a presidential candidate says adults in America are suffering from a "fun deficit," you know it's time to take the issue seriously. The following 20 camps are alternative ways to spend your allotted vacation time. 

1. LEARN HOW TO RIDE A BULL AT SANKEY RODEO SCHOOL

This isn’t the mechanical bull at your local cowboy-themed bar. Sankey Rodeo School provides beginners and more advanced participants with the real bull riding, rodeo experience. With locations around the country and multiple sessions run throughout the year, the schools employ qualified professionals to guide you through every step of the way and teach you everything you need to know about the proper bull riding technique. Prices start at $415.

2. STAR IN A PROCEDURAL AT HOLLYWOOD TV STAR FANTASY CAMP

For those who’ve dreamt of walking the red carpet or posing for a magazine cover, Hollywood TV Star Fantasy Camp is the ideal retreat. The week-long (five night) experience includes the opportunity to act in two or three scenes of a crime procedural, have a photoshoot, be interviewed by "the press," have the chance to hobnob with industry professionals, and much more. Plus you can take home a DVD of your performance. Price is available upon request.

3. BECOME A KNIGHT AT ALLIANCE: LIVE ACTION ROLE PLAY

Leave your business suit at home and channel your inner medieval knight with Alliance: Live Action Role Play, the oldest LARP community in the country. Prepare an original character, wield medieval weaponry, journey through an ever-changing plot, and be a part of a diverse community of enthusiasts. Beginners are welcomed with open arms and events are held all over the country by different chapters throughout the year. There are both one day events as well as weekend long adventures. Membership prices vary and weekends start at around $60.

4. LIVE LIKE AN ASTRONAUT AT ADULT SPACE ACADEMY

You’re never too old for Space Camp thanks to the Adult Space Academy. This weekend-long, highly interactive program gives adults a chance to get a sense of the life of an astronaut. Train on simulators like the one-sixth gravity chair, build and launch a model rocket, and learn all about the history of space exploration. Prices start at $499.  

5. DIG DEEPER AT THE ARCHAEOLOGY RESEARCH PROGRAM

Join archaeologists excavating sites of the early Pueblo Indians (500-1280 C.E.) in the Mesa Verde region in Colorado at the Archaeology Research Program. Take a guided tour through Mesa Verde National Park, attend talks by archaeologists and scholars, study proper excavation techniques, and examine artifacts. The program is a week long and the price for nonmembers is $1720. Meals and housing are included.

6. BREAK INTO SONG AT BROADWAY FANTASY CAMP

Can you dance? Can you sing? Can you act? No? It doesn’t matter! As long as you love to, Broadway Fantasy Camp in New York City wants you to be on stage. Sessions last from one to five days and celebrate the magic of the Great White Way. During the five-day session, you learn music and choreography from classic shows like Phantom of the Opera and Cats, talk with theater professionals, get lessons in stage makeup, tour a Broadway theater, put on a show, and toast your success at Sardi’s! Prices range from $595 to $4995. Housing, most meals, and transportation to and from the program are not included.

7. Get in the kitchen at Upper Crust

Need to up your bake sale game? Tired of having to pass off your store-bought desserts as your own? Upper Crust at Paws Up Resort invites you to spend a long weekend in beautiful Montana and attend pie, cookie, and pastry workshops taught by professional chefs. Other activities include horseback riding, wine tastings, ATV tours, and a lot of eating. Prices start at $760.

8. Drink yourself silly at Sonoma Grape Camp

Immerse yourself in the Sonoma Wine Country for a two-day, three-night exploration of everything grapes. Sonoma Grape Camp is all about hands-on participation—visitors get to walk through the vineyards, harvest grapes, tour the winery, attend seminars, and of course, enjoy delicious wines. Prices start at $2000.

9. Shimmy and Shake at the Burlesque Showgirl Retreat

Get ready to rock those sequined headpieces. The Burlesque Showgirl Retreat from Burlesque Bikini Bootcamp is four days and five nights of intense showgirl action. You aren't just staying at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Vegas and sipping cocktails by the pool. You spend three full days learning and rehearsing a group burlesque number to perform in front of a live audience, have the opportunity to work on a solo routine, take a field trip to the Burlesque Hall of Fame, and hear from a guest speaker, among other razzle dazzle. Prices start at $1299.

10. Be amongst the trees with Boulder Outdoor Survival School

Test your survival instincts and see if you really have what it takes to make it in the wild. Boulder Outdoor Survival School runs several Field Courses that focus on living in the present without the burden of technology or literal (and metaphorical) baggage. With only a knife, a poncho, and a blanket, participants hike through Southern Utah and learn the ancient skills of the Puebloan people. Trips last from seven to 28 days and prices start at $1595.

11. Battle the undead at Zombie Survival Camp

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead or think zombies are in our near future, a weekend at Zombie Survival Camp in New Jersey will prepare you for the worst. Learn how to effectively throw a knife, use a crossbow, practice first aid, employ Zombitsu to defeat all evil, and how to stay healthy and safe in case of an emergency. You also get one-on-one time with experienced firearm experts so you can perfect your skills before returning home. Weekend camps are $450 per person and meals and lodging are included.

12. Look up at the stars at Astronomy Camp

Embrace your nerdiness and attend science camp for adults! Astronomy Camp, run through The University of Arizona, is a two or three day hands-on program that introduces participants to the wonders of the cosmos. Visit one of the nearby observatories and operate high-powered telescopes, attend lectures and workshops from scientists about space, and hear from space artists and musicians about how space has impacted their work. Tuition is $600 for two days.

13. Grin and Beer it at Black Fly Craft Brewing Camp

Earn your alcohol by learning the craft-brewing process. The Black Fly Craft Brewing Camp is a yearly event held at Great Camp Sagamore in New York. Attendees take courses on the craft brewing process, participate in a home-brew evaluation, and hear from brewing experts on all things beer. The weekend costs $279 per person and includes meals and a beer pairing dinner cruise on Raquette Lake.

14. Embrace Your Inner Freak at Coney Island USA's Sideshow School

Day camps can be just as fun as sleepaway camps and the Coney Island USA’s Sideshow School is proof. Classes are offered on 3 to 4 consecutive days and cover sideshow skills like fire eating, sword swallowing, and even snake charming. Tuition varies depending on class length.

15. Defend yourself at Incredible Adventure's Covert Ops

Learn Krav Maga under the blazing Miami sun at Incredible Adventure’s Covert Ops two- or four-day missions. Led by a former Israeli Defense Force soldier who specialized in undercover operations before working as a bodyguard for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the program covers firearm use, counter ambush tactics, and shooting from a moving vehicle, among other methods of combat. Prices start at $2950.

16. Search for clues during Murder Mystery Weekend

Stay at Point Sebago in Maine during their yearly Murder Mystery Weekend, and you’ll get a chance to solve an elaborate crime played out through an immersive theatrical experience. On Friday night, someone will die (spoiler) and it’ll be up to you and the rest of the guests to race against the clock to determine whodunit. Prices start at $165 and include meals, entertainment, and lodging.

17. Find a home on the range during Arizona Cowboy College

Live the life of a cowboy at one of Arizona Cowboy College’s week long sessions. The first two days are spent at an equestrian center, and after that you saddle up and ride on over to a working cattle ranch. Topics covered in lessons include roping, safety, grooming, handling, and everything it takes to run a ranch. The program is $2250 and participants are advised to bring their own harmonicas.

18. Build a boat at WoodenBoat School

If your community were relying on you to build an arc and save all the people and the animals from a flood, could you do it? If that’s something you’re concerned about, or you just want to learn about woodworking, WoodenBoat School in Maine has a plethora of one or two week woodworking and boat building courses for all levels. Beginners can take an introductory course, while those with a bit more hammer and nail knowledge can build a dory, a dinghy, or a skiff. Tuition varies by class and room and board are available for an additional cost.

19. Cook up a storm at The Culinary Institute of America

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Listen up, foodies and fans of the Cooking Channel! The Culinary Institute of America offers various cooking boot camps in New York, Texas, and California throughout the year. You can enroll in basic training, or a different boot camp that caters to your specific cuisine interests. Camps range from one to four days and prices vary. All tools and some meals are included in tuition, but accommodations are not.

20. Blow Your Horn at Railroad Reality Week

Toil and sweat while working on Nevada’s Northern Railway during Railroad Reality Week. Learn about what it takes to keep a train moving as you join the track crew, work in the maintenance shop, and ultimately get a chance to cycle through all of the roles that are required to get a train from Point A to Point B. The week costs $995 and lodging is not included.

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Drought Reveals Ancient Sites in Scotland That Can Only Be Spotted From the Air
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iStock

Typically rainy Scotland is in the middle of an unusually dry summer—and local archaeologists are taking advantage of it. As the BBC reports, the drought has revealed ancient sites, including Roman camps and Iron Age graves, that have been hidden by farm soil for years.

Historic Environment Scotland has been conducting aerial surveys of the country's landscape since the 1930s, but it's in seasons like this, when the crops recede during dry weather, that the buried remains of ancient structures are easiest to spot. Conditions this summer have been the best since 1976 for documenting archaeological sites from the sky.

Aerial view of field.
Historic Environment Scotland

The crescent-shaped crop mark in the photo above indicates a souterrain, or underground passageway, that was built in the Scottish Borders during the Iron Age. The surveyors also found remains of a Roman temporary camp, marked by straight lines in the landscape, built in modern-day Lyne—an area south of Edinburgh already known to have housed a complex of Roman camps and forts.

Aerial view of field.
Historic Environment Scotland

In the image below you'll see four small ditches—three circles and one square—that were likely used as burial sites during the Iron Age. When crops are planted over an ancient ditch, they have more water and nutrients to feed on, which helps them grow taller and greener. Such crops are especially visible during a drought when the surrounding vegetation is sparse and brown.

Aerial view of field.
Historic Environment Scotland

Historic Environment Scotland has a team of aerial surveyors trained to spot the clues: To date, they've discovered more than 9000 archaeological sites from the air. HSE plans to continue scoping out new areas of interest as long as the dry spell lasts.

It's not just in Scotland that long-hidden settlements are coming to light: similar aerial surveys in Wales are finding them too.

[h/t BBC]

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Billion-Year-Old Rocks Reveal the First Color Ever Produced by a Living Thing
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iStock

Billions of years ago, before there were plants and animals on Earth, there were rocks, tiny organisms, water, and not much else. It’s hard to envision what our barren planet looked like back then, but scientists now have some idea of what colors dominated the landscape.

As Vice reports, a team of researchers from Australian National University (ANU) were able to pinpoint the oldest colors ever produced by a living creature: purple-red hues dating back more than 1.1 billion years. The pigments, which appear pink when diluted, were found in molecular fossils of chlorophyll that had been preserved in rocks beneath the Sahara desert. A billion years ago, though, this area was “an ancient ocean that has long since vanished,” Nur Gueneli of ANU said in a statement.

Chlorophyll may very well be green, but these pinkish pigments are a result of "fossilized porphyrins, a type of organic compound that forms an atomic ring around a magnesium ion to form a chlorophyll molecule," Vice explains.

While this provides an interesting visual, the color itself is less important than what it reveals about some of the earliest life forms on Earth. Scientists determined that the chlorophyll was produced by ancient organisms called cyanobacteria, which derived energy via photosynthesis and ruled the oceans at that time, researchers wrote in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Larger planktonic algae—a potential food source for bigger life forms— were scarce, which may explain why large organisms didn’t roam the Earth a billion years ago. That kind of algae was about a thousand times larger than the cyanobacteria.

“The cyanobacterial oceans started to vanish about 650 million years ago, when algae began to rapidly spread to provide the burst of energy needed for the evolution of complex ecosystems, where large animals, including humans, could thrive on Earth," ANU associate professor Jochen Brocks said.

So the next time you encounter algae, you can thank it for helping you secure a spot on this planet.

[h/t Vice]

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