A Pocono mountain vacation spent experiencing new adventures with loved ones can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. According to a study out of the University of Toronto, experiential gifts (events you live through) foster stronger relationships between giver and recipient than material gifts (objects you consume). Experiences, especially new ones, activate happy chemicals in our brains. This helps us build deeper social bonds with the people we travel and spend our lives with. Oxytocin (the “cuddle” hormone) and dopamine (the “motivation” chemical) are to thank for those warm, generous feelings you share with family and friends. If the experience is also thrilling and physically active, our endorphins join the party, too. Think about your favorite memory. Why does that one stick out? When visiting the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, the beautifully rugged landscape offers plenty of opportunities to engage in meaningful experiences that you and your family can enjoy as special gifts on your vacation and reflect on for years after. Here are our top picks for Pocono Mountain vacation adventures that your family will love: Ziplining at Pocono TreeVentures See the world from above! Even if you've never stepped into the woods, the supportive staff at Pocono TreeVentures will make you feel like a ziplining, tree-walking, rope-climbing, pro by the end of the day. This family-friendly outdoor aerial forest adventure park is great for all levels of outdoor explorers from beginner to expert. With over 90 elements, the Pocono TreeVentures ropes course has something for everyone. The park features 1,000-foot dual racing zip lines, tree climbing walls, and 9 zip lines connected by bridges and ladders. Courses range in level of difficulty and height, too. The highest point of the advanced course is over 40 feet off the ground. Closed toe shoes are required. For current course conditions, call: 800-446-0231 Racing a real race car at 160MPH Have you ever driven a Lamborghini? At Stock Car Experience, you can satisfy your need for speed by racing down NASCAR's famous 2.5 mile Pocono Raceway at up to 160mph! Experiences start with a three lap ride in the passenger seat to an emersion where you are taught how to handle the car and drive yourself. Different cars and distances are available depending on the type of experience you and your family want to have. For thrill-seekers interested in taking a luxury car out for a spin can select from their exotic car collection which includes a Ferrari 360 Spider, Lamborghini Gallardo, Maserati MC Sport, and Audi R8 V10. Teens too young to get behind the wheel themselves can ride shotgun in a 600 Horsepower NASCAR style race car. The age minimum for the Ride Along experience is 14. Guests interested in a driving experience need to be 18+ with a valid driver's license. Have fun cheering each other on as your family zips through the track. Family members are welcome to watch with no additional charge. Or, race each other at 50mph (and 1 inch off the ground) with a few rounds of Team ProKart Racing. For reservations, call 877-786-2522 Skydiving from 13,500 feet in the air Fly 13,500 feet above the Delaware Water Gap, Pocono Mountains and the New York horizon as you experience freedom on a whole new level. Sky's The Limit Skydiving Center offers the ultimate skydiving experience for guests 18 and older. Encouraging, helpful instructors will be there to support you and have your back. Literally. If this is your first time skydiving, your first experience will be a tandem jump. You, and any family members brave enough to jump with you, will be accompanied by a licensed instructor on your first jump. Tandem students will exit the aircraft between 10,000 to 13,500 feet. For reservations, call 1-800-335-JUMP. Family vacations and day trips that include novel, stimulating experiences are the ones that your family will remember for the long haul. Post-vacation, these cheerful moments become happiness anchors that your loved ones can use to emotionally refuel when their feet land back in reality. Planning an overnight trip? Relax in mountain serenity at Pocono Mountain Villas.