At Gameworld, fun materializes in a variety of forms, from bowling to arcade games modeled after sporty endeavors and amusement park rides. Bowlers launch spheres down regulation-size lanes or the abbreviated alleys of a replica of Highway 66, featuring mini lanes striped with a highway median that cater specifically to toddlers, but can entertain competitors of all ages. After lifting bowling balls, gamers can cool down in the arcade, a haven for a veritable timeline of electronic adversaries from yesteryear's Pac-Man to modern Daytona racecars, as well as air hockey and a small climbing wall. The MaxFlight Simulator reigns supreme among its peers, emulating the jolting twists and turns of a rollercoaster ride without the annoyance of picking bugs off of teeth. Players refuel at Perky's Pizza with crispy slices or entire pies made to order, which can also power kids through bowling birthday parties that include bowling, gaming, and goody bags.
What makes a chili recipe the best there is? The judges at this year's Chili & Salsa fest will have to figure that out for themselves as they award entries of chili—and salsa—in this year's competitions. At Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park, the scents of fall food mingle in the air, making it tricky for patrons to decide whose wares to sample. And as evening comes on, so does the crowd, as the event shifts to watching college and NFL football on the big screen.
With proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Club and Idaho Select Player's Fund, BAM Jam incites three-on-three hoop wars between players of all ages and skill levels, with 142 teams playing on 22 courts its first year alone. Grab two buddies or half an octopus and take part as downtown Boise transforms into an eight-block, multicourt labyrinth of bracketed competitions, with divisions designed to evenly match third-grade female dribblers, men older than 40, teenagers older than 20, and elite adult and high-school players as all vie for netted glory. With a guaranteed minimum of three games per team, even ragtag Lilliputian trios can pursue quixotic competition in the city streets—all under the keen eye of the BAM Jam monitors, who keep conduct sportsmanlike and mischievous backboards from wandering off to the concession stand midgame.
Under the guidance of new ownership, the instructors at Bikram Yoga Boise have no problem welcoming beginners to the practice. After all, each of them remembers the experience of their own first lesson. Some took part in a 60-day class challenge and some simply saw it as a new adventure in fitness, but all of them fell in love almost immediately with the benefits inherent in sweating and stretching.
It helps that the style accommodates all skill levels. Because students perform the 26 poses to the best of their ability, they needn't have any experience or a life-sized rubber stand-in to begin taking classes. The postures build off each other to stretch muscles, ligaments, and other tissues throughout the body as the surrounding heat in the studio—up to 105 degrees—makes them more pliable. The warmth also boosts circulation and the release of sweat, which helps to purge the body of built up toxins. As practitioners become accustomed to the poses, they can benefit from increased strength and range of motion.
At Warrior Fit Body Boot Camp, nationally certified trainer Darrin Walton uses metabolic-training techniques to help clients get fit and svelte as quickly as possible. His classes revolve around high-intensity intervals and circuits, which often include kickboxing moves, bodyweight exercises, and battling-rope drills. Many workouts emphasize Tabata training, in which participants rest briefly between intervals to rev up their metabolisms for up to 48 hours. During each class, Darrin exudes enthusiasm and cultivates a supportive vibe among students of all skill levels. He also charts students' body composition to keep them motivated as they watch their fat levels drop, their muscles bulk, and their pecs lay eggs and multiply. A collection of online tools—including a goal tracker, a meal planner, and a nutrition learning center—helps students cultivate healthy habits outside the classroom.
Melanie has been active in the health community—as a fitness consultant, personal training, and yoga and Pilates teacher—for more than 14 years. But it wasn’t until she discovered pole fitness while mining that she was able to combine all her passions into one activity. As she started experimenting with pole fitness, she felt her experience with yoga, Pilates, and fitness classes coming together into one comprehensive workout. She knew that with her background in health and fitness, and passion for pole fitness, she would be able to help students achieve their fitness goals. And so PoleFIT Revolution was born. Today, she and a team of instructors teach a variety of classes, such as pole fitness, aerial yoga, boot camp, and stretching classes to ensure all students are receiving the workout that best suits their body.
Bowlers step up, drop, and roll balls down 20th Century Lanes' 24 modern lanes, ending in an eruption of clanking pins, hoots, and hollers. As the scattered pins are reset, the bowling alley's automatic system calculates the score while visitors lounge in plush purple chairs. Between frames, bowlers can fuel their forethoughts of turkeys with barbecue-beef sandwiches or pizza from the café, grab a cocktail from the Gaslight Lounge, or stroll into the pro shop to purchase a new bowling bag that matches their Sunday's best bowling gown. 20th Century Lanes also hosts events such as bowling tournaments and league play, and resident coaches lead private, couples, and team lessons.
During the 60-minute Stroller Strides outdoor class, moms and their babies tear up the trail for an hour. Participants mix stroller pushing and power walking with pit stops for resistance-band exercises that, taken together, bestow a total-body workout. Instructors provide everyone with exercise tubing and, in the event of a fussy-baby episode, will show you exercises you can do with your baby, such as the toddler-tickling squat jump or the nursery-rhyme and bicep-curl combo. Fit4Baby prenatal classes blend cardio and weight work for one hour of strength and balance training. The workouts help women at any stage of pregnancy stay fit and active while they adapt to their bodies' demands. All instructors are experienced in pre- and post-natal fitness. Indoor classes make use of sheltered venues, but apply the same principles as the outdoor sessions.
As a PGA-certified pro, Jeff Thomsen's distinguished golf career began decades ago, when the 16-year-old Thomsen swung his way to the Idaho State Amateur championship, becoming the youngest player ever to earn that rarefied distinction. His early success would pave the cart path to a long career that included 175 PGA Tour events, participation in 14 major championships, multiple tournament victories, and once saving a course-side community from a feral golf cart. Today, Jeff showers pupils with golf wisdom culled from both his 38-year competitive career and a certification from the Nicklaus/Flick Golf School. The passionate pedagogue helps players sharpen their game, lengthen their drives, and fold scorecards into paper cranes with hands-on, comprehensive lessons conducted at multiple courses throughout the hills of Treasure Valley.
There is no typical climb at Urban Ascent. With the help of a belaying partner to safeguard their ropes, visitors can scale up to 43 feet of weathered rockface on endurance climbs, or they can stick closer to the ground in the ropes-free bouldering area. Urban Ascent’s team challenges climbers by regularly revamping the 14,000-square-foot gym’s routes, rearranging footholds and installing pop-out boxing-glove gags to add an element of unpredictability to climbs. During private climbing lessons, instructors fine-tune veteran climbers’ techniques or teach newbies basic fundamentals. The staff also imparts climbing-safety basics to first-time belayers in 20-minute tutorials. Urban Ascent hosts summer camps, afterschool climbing activities for students, and corporate team-building workshops.
Newly built with a fleet of educational exhibits, the nonprofit Idaho Public Aquarium brims with underwater wildlife that scuttles, swims, and frolics, overseen by staff members and dedicated volunteers. Families peruse exhibits that give insight into a slice of aquatic life and emphasize its continuance, such as stingray touch tank and the shark nursery, where guests can witness baby sharks peeking out of their eggs while crooning peaceful lullabies or playing peekaboo. Added to the list are
new exhibits, such as the 17,000-gallon sea turtle tank and the North Pacific cold water tank. Sea-resident enthusiasts can also participate in birthday parties with private tours and a nighttime animal feeding.
As the early-morning sky lightens and the sun paints the horizon in purples, blues, oranges, and yellows, a fleet of balloons takes flight. These are Boise Hot Air Company’s balloons—colorful inflated vessels bedecked with purple and yellow stripes, red checkerboard patterns, and the stars and stripes of the American flag. Captains take groups aloft at 30 minutes before official sunrise in baskets equipped with seats and dividers for added safety. Flying only in fair weather and usually at speeds of no more than 8 miles per hour, the captains pilot leisurely flights low over the countryside of rolling hills from March through November.
At Essential Hot Yoga, formerly Sumits Yoga, students stand squarely on the hardwood floors of the heated studio. Instructors lead them through 75-minute classes, fusing inspiration from Hatha and Ashtanga power-flow styles of yoga to create a dynamic and fluid practice. Essential's two styles of hot yoga cover a sequence of balancing and energizing physical postures, called asanas, set to motivating music. The practice room's hot and humid atmosphere warms and relaxes muscles more effectively than a bear hug from an actual bear, helping yogis to reach deeper stretches.
With its name gracing a new 6,500 square-foot training facility, Asana Climbing has officially come full circle. Founded in 1999, the company has long been designing and manufacturing gear specifically for the sport of bouldering, including branded apparel, chalk bags, and chalk for gripping holds. In 2013, the company made the move to not only outfit climbers, but provide the climbing wall they aim to master. The company began inviting longtime brand ambassadors and newcomers alike to use the 2,000 square feet of bouldering space inside the new Asana Climbing Gym. In addition to challenges designed for experts and tournament-level competition, the facility offers a designated area for beginners and young climbers, a weight and cardio training zone, and a changing area with showers.
Throughout the year, Promote Idaho’s staff oversees expos that showcase local vendors that cater to events such as weddings and holiday parties. In the spring, the business partners with the U.S. Army to host the Treasure Valley Man Show, where guests listen to live music and mingle among muscle cars before entering duck, goose, and turkey-calling competitions.