Posted October 4, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT
Looking to get a corporate group out of the office and interacting? Here are 10 new group activities for that can work for teambuilding, meeting breaks, incentives, and other kinds of corporate outings.
1. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises at 42nd Street is offering day cruises to Bear Mountain on the weekends, from September 17 through October 30. The sail (about three hours each way) along the Hudson River brings guests to Bear Mountain State Park, where admission to Oktoberfest is free. The festival will have live music, dancing, and craft vendors. Passengers can also preorder a picnic lunch for $14 or choose from a selection of German food and beer. Boarding begins at 8:30 a.m. at Pier 83, departing at 9 a.m. The cruise returns at 5:30 p.m. For groups of 20 or more, tickets are $46 per person, and for every 20 tickets purchased, one complimentary ticket is included.
2. D.I.Y. crafts space Make Meaning opened in September 2010 and offers teambuilding activities for kids and adults in its 5,000-square-foot site. The venue can host as many as 300 people for events, or several smaller groups for creative activities like soap- and jewelry-making. Make Meaning offers on-site staff to guide projects. An in-store café can provide catering for events. Make Meaning's current promotions include 20 percent off experiences after 7 p.m. for groups larger than three and new events and classes for the Make It After Dark series.
3. Chelsea Piers' Hybrid Games Mat Stacking Challenge is a new team-oriented challenge where teams choose a representative to climb a rock wall in the sports center, using the large soft mats stacked up high. The activity's goal is to grab a flag placed on the wall about 20 feet above the ground. The team member making the “grab” is harnessed and belayed by trained rock climbing staff. This activity challenge can be tailored according to group dynamics and size.
4. Brooklyn Boulders has a new series called Slackline. The course explores balance and encourages groups of climbers and athletes to join. The YogaSlackers class uses the practice of “slackasana,” a style of yoga developed by rock climbers. During the workshop, attendees will partner with others for training drills and core conditioning. A segment of the class will also teach students how to kneel, sit, stand, and turn upside down on tightrope lines. The class, taught by Adi Carter, is held for groups of 10 at $25 each class. The two-hour sessions begin October 16 and run through December 6.
5. Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg hosts blending sessions for groups, letting others become winemakers for an hour and a half. The teambuilding activity begins with a cocktail reception to kick off the event. Food can be ordered from the winery's in-house chef. Attendees are broken up into teams of four, where each has its own station with beakers holding five notable varietals of wine. Guests will learn how to smell and taste grapes and mix the different varieties. Then groups put their best blend forward for a blind taste test competition. The event can be finished off with a dinner or wine tour to see the winemaking process. Prices start at $100 for groups of 15 to 40 people.
6. Camaje released its fall tasting class schedule for groups of 12. In November, tastings include Chilean and Argentinean wines for $65 per person, for two hours with eight wines paired with traditional South American foods and cheeses. In November, “A Wine for $20 for the Holidays,” also $65 per person, will take groups of 12 through eight different wine varieties paired with hors d'oeuvres.
7. The New York Open Center's new fall lineup includes new daytime and Saturday evening events. The center is hosting events for groups and offering 15 percent off most classes if five or more spots are purchased and 20 percent off if 10 or more people sign up together. New events include Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow's lecture today; a workshop on street photography on October 16; and a creative event led by Julia Cameron entitled “True North: Mapping Your Authentic Creative Trail.”
8. A new outdoor cooking class trip from Outdoor Bound was created for corporate groups who want to mix cooking with nature. Guests take a short hike through Harriman State Park before reaching an outdoor kitchen area. The class is an hour and a half long and brings in one of three local chefs to lead the group with discussions about local ingredients and how they can be incorporated into an outdoor meal. Guests will interact with the chef and guides, who will help them work with food like sea bass and vegetables. A rock peninsula backdrop doubles as a seating area for the prepared lunch. For groups of 10 to 25, the cost is around $200 per person.
9. Due to recent flooding in New York and its surrounding areas, the Leaders Institute has teamed up with local food banks to incorporate charity into its teambuilding programs. The institute now pairs corporate teams with charities in need of food through a fun and interactive golf activity. People are divided into teams with canned and boxed food items in front of them. Groups are asked to build a miniature golf course out of these items, play against each other, and then break down the course. The team members then work together, placing the food packages into boxes that are then donated to the food banks. The two-hour activity runs from $40 to $100 a person, depending upon the size of the group.
10. Teambuilding takes a mysterious turn with Watson Adventure Scavenger Hunts' Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt. The company launched the new hunt in June for both indoor and outdoor settings (outdoor hunts are exclusively available to corporate groups in 22 locations). The new game lasts 90 minutes to two hours and challenges participants with sharp questions help them piece together missing elements for crime solving. Current murder mystery themes include espionage, Leonardo da Vinci, and “Beware of the Curse.” Private hunt prices start at $600 for weekend hunts and $750 for weekday hunts. Watson Adventures handles groups of all sizes, from as few as eight participants to as many as 500.