At The Gentle Zoo, youngsters feed pigs, pat ducklings, and interact with the other fuzzy residents. Elsewhere on the zoo’s 10 acres, guests can leap about on the bounce house, blast corn from the corn cannon, navigate the maze, or enjoy a leisurely ride on the tractor train. Such attractions enthrall kids at onsite birthday parties, while the mobile petting zoo’s 12–15 staff-supervised animals offer nuzzles and create memories in children's minds. The creatures also hit the road for the animal-encounters program, which combines hands-on animal contact with educational 45-minute presentations. The Gentle Zoo donates its proceeds from the program to its Creature Connection, Inc. nonprofit, which rehabilitates rescue animals before they participate in outreach programs for foster children and at-risk youth.
Dancemasters Studio's experienced instructors—including national-competition champions and a former onboard cruise-line dance host—introduce adult students of all skill levels to the world of social dancing in a 3,200-square-foot facility with two ballrooms. The studio’s schedule of group classes spans 19 different partner styles such as the waltz, rumba, and Argentine tango. The studio also welcomes students to monthly BYOB dance parties. As a live band plays, dancers show off their new skills in the areas of salsa dancing or sequin sewing.
During private lessons, staffers train individuals or pairs on technique and ballroom etiquette. They specialize in helping brides- and grooms-to-be prepare for their wedding day, providing expert choreography set to the couples special song or epic poem.
Since 2000, Art House has kindled creativity and a love of history by offering museum-quality art classes for budding Picassos aged three through adult. Inside each location, degreed artist-teachers helm classes year-round, guiding students through a structured curriculum in everything from drawing and painting to sculpting. The teachers combine lessons in artistic techniques with a study of art history in order to form a well-rounded educational experience that keeps kids from accidentally painting a self-portrait that looks exactly like Van Gogh’s. Art House also brings art-loving youths together in camps, workshops, and private parties.
Though many anthropological museums focus on peoples who are long gone, the International Museum of Cultures displays more than 10 storied exhibits on contemporary indigenous populations from around the world, including Papua New Guinea, Mexico, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here, visitors glean insight into the respective cultures and the challenges they face. As guests peruse the displays, they can explore Lakota Sioux artifacts such as dream catchers and arrowheads, learn about the hunter-gatherer Agta from the Philippines, and listen to Drumbeats of the World, an interactive exhibit that pulsates with percussive heartbeats from Ecuador, Pakistan, and Korea.