From otter baths to rage rooms, beach businesses are feeding millennials and Gen Z’s appetite for experiences.
“Life is short and you can’t take the money with you,” said Erica Kirlin, owner of Rehoboth Beach-based Beachin Bash. “Might as well have a good time and make memories with your friends and family while you have them.”
There are unique memories to be made, thanks to new businesses like Kirlin’s, which offers, among other things, luxury picnics on the beach. You can bring a baseball bat to all the glasses you can break at The Angry Ax and Rage Room in Salisbury or hang out with wild animals at Barn Hill Preserve in Frankford, and your little one can start learning to garden at the ROOTS Youth Development Program in Georgetown. .
There is something else to consider regarding the consumption habits of the younger generations: social networks.
A swim with otters might cost you, but that selfie is priceless.
Get up close to otters and sloths at Barn Hill Preserve
Swimming with otters, sipping wine with sloths and doing yoga alongside kangaroos are just a few of the things you can do at Barn Hill Reserve in Frankford, an “interactive zoo”.
With 25 different species, the reserve also offers educational animal shows and tactile encounters.
“We try to inspire the community to meet conservation needs and protect animals in the wild through our hands-on experiences,” owner Josh Mueller said.
Most activities in Barn Hill cost between $30 and $60, with the exception of swimming with the otter, which will set you back $300.
Mueller is originally from Sussex. He went to college in Louisiana, where he earned a degree in ecology and natural resource management and met his friend and business partner Gabe Ligon.
“We are not just trying to exploit animals. It’s more of an educational thing,” Mueller said. “It’s very obvious, when you see the behavior and the enclosures of the animals, the care that we put into them.”
He hopes to continue expanding the facility, at 34215 Peppers Corner Road, to house more animals.
Luxury Beach Picnic and Bonfires with Beachin Bash
Beachin Bash specializes in making an event an unforgettable experience.
“It’s about creating the atmosphere and feel that makes your party or gathering perfect,” the company’s website says.
From Lewes to Ocean City, Beachin Bash will set up and break down your beach bonfire, plus provide custom koozies and individually wrapped s’mores ingredients. Charcuterie boards are the norm at gourmet beach picnics, which can also include trendy blankets and pillows and fresh flowers. Home movie nights aren’t just about the projector and screen – they have fairy lights, comfy seating, organized snacks, all nine yards.
“What we are best known for are our luxury picnics and bonfires on the beach, but we also offer private in-home chefs and bartending services, theme nights, concierge services” , Kirlin said. “We’re sort of a one-stop shop.”
The company partners with Full Belly Restaurant in Lewes for catering.
Beachin Bash’s next luxury offering will be boat charters, Kirlin said. The company hopes to launch sunset cruises, boat brunches and more this summer.
“Throwing Axes and Breaking Things” at The Angry Ax and Rage Room
Throwing a knife and smashing devices at The Hall of Angry Ax and Rage in Salisbury can be cathartic, according to owner Cat Curran.
“It’s just something new and different to relieve stress or just have fun,” she said. “(Younger generations) are used to being behind a computer, phone or laptop, and I think they’ve had enough.”
Curran’s business at 10A 2207 Northwood Drive features seven ax throwing lanes and two rage rooms. Ax throwing is $25 per person for a 30 minute session, and for an additional $20 they will enlarge a photo and put it in the bullseye for you.
The minimum age to participate is 10 years old and those between the ages of 10 and 17 must be accompanied by a participating adult. Adults are allowed to bring alcohol (maximum of one six-pack beer or one bottle of wine). Everyone signs a waiver.
Rage room sessions are $40 each for 15 minutes of smashing old microwaves, TVs, and beer bottles — though you can’t drink alcohol during this activity.
Want to go but don’t have anyone to go with? The Angry Ax and Rage Room offers speed dating nights every third Wednesday.
For children: ROOTS youth development program
Talon and Travis Holleman were busy racing the frantic race and climbing the corporate ladder until the kids changed their outlook on life. They left the Baltimore area to live in the woods in Georgetown and focus on self-sufficiency.
ROOTS stands for Reaching Outside Traditional Schooling. Its purpose is to teach children practical life skills not taught in public schools, including bushcraft (surviving and thriving in the wild), agriculture, animal husbandry, farming, canning, composting and more.
Workshop sessions are typically one hour per week for 12 weeks. In the summer, ROOTS also offers week-long camps. The children are divided into three age groups: explorers (1 and 2 years old), scouts (3-6 years old) and pioneers (7-12 years old).
While ROOTS is primarily aimed at children, Talon Holleman said they are also starting to offer workshops for teens and adults.
“More and more families are looking for alternative ways to live independently, especially since COVID-19,” she said.
A two-part workshop for adults on herbalism is planned. Check the ROOTS Facebook page for updates.