For many, West Virginia is a pass-through state to get from one destination to the other. However, more and more people are starting to discover the hidden gems tucked in the hills of this wild and wonderful state. Off the beaten path, the opportunities that arise are just as much fun as they are educational.
At ACE Adventure Resort, the fun adventure activities and the education come in the form of STEM programming focused on hydrology, geology and ecology. Combine the two and students have fun-filled days of whitewater rafting, rock climbing and zip lining.
On the way to ACE, make sure to stop in at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine for a thorough history of mining in the area. The underground mine and hands-on exhibitions will allow students to explore, learn, interact and share.
After a day of adventuring in the underworld and seeing how coal has transformed the nation, take a quick drive up the road for a tasty lunch at ACE Adventure Resort.
Follow this up with a guided hike to the historic coal-era town of Thurmond, established in 1908. The small river town once moved more coal than the city of Cincinnati. This distinct hike gives another perspective on the history of the area.
Rise and shine, jump on a school bus and get down to the river for one of West Virginia’s premier adventures: a rafting trip down the New River Gorge. While utilizing ACE’s STEM program in hydrology, students learn about the science of whitewater and rivers. Take the biology classroom outside as students examine the critters within the water. Discover how precious waterways are by participating in a stream study where results are added to a larger national database.
Eat a delicious river lunch and then crush through waves, swim through calm pools and enjoy the second-oldest river in the world.
After a long day on the river, there is nothing better than a good campfire. It is the perfect ending to a great day, creating new memories with old friends.
Challenge the group’s team building skills with ACE’s low and high challenge course utilizing the Alpine Tower. Students work together to get to the top and overcome their fears with a giant swing pulled upward by their closest friends.
Afterward, reward the crew for a job well done with an afternoon at the waterpark filled with more than 50 giant inflatables, two giant waterfalls, a blob and a zip line into the water. Regardless of what the group chooses to do at ACE, there are lessons to be learned and fun to be had.
Make the stop. Drive down the beaten path. It’ll be worth the exploration.
ACE Adventure Resort