The two-hour lesson begins by familiarizing divers with the essential scuba equipment with an experienced instructor demonstrating how to prepare the gear for diving. Strapped on and strapped into the tank and gear, human merpersons will practice water entry, breathing through a regulator, dealing with prehistoric trilobites, keeping the mask clear, and just flippering around the pool. Dives take place in an indoor pool in the winter and an outdoor pool in the summer. A PADI-certified dive school and member of the National Instructors Association for Divers with Disabilities, ScubaVentures caters to the needs and goals of all divers.
Inanda Stables boasts boarding and training facilities and teaches equestrian enthusiasts the proper ways to ride and care for their cantering companions. During the two 30-minute private lessons, Centaur top-halves learn the tenets of basic horse safety, the parts of the horse, and the details of the equipment. After gleaning the essentials of the English saddle, horse-top explorers enjoy a leisurely walk and a comfortable trot atop an American Saddlebred horse. Wind down the lesson by soaking in the countryside views and nibbling tea-soaked crumpets atop a four-legged tour guide.
Whether training to become professional dancers or exploring ballet as a hobby, students at Huntsville Ballet School hone their craft under the guidance of seasoned dance experts. Artistic director Phillip Otto taught master classes in ballet at Yale and Vassar College, and school director Rachel Butler danced and taught across the world in places like China, Australia, and Turkey. The school operates in tandem with the Huntsville Ballet, giving dancers an opportunity to audition for performances alongside the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Former students have gone on to study at prestigious dance schools across the nation, while others have become mirror models for bedroom danceoffs.
For the last three years, more than 2,000 people have congregated in DeBardeleben Park for one of the most anticipated events of the summer: the Bob Sykes BBQ & Blues Festival. There, guests can enjoy the summer sun while listening to local and national blues acts, grabbing a plate of Bob Sykes’s famous ribs, or watching kids play on the inflatable slides. Crafts and activities draw festivalgoers’ attention throughout the day, with the food booths attracting crowds all day, as well as the face-painting booth and cool picnicking spots under the trees. Blues music filters through the open air like frisbees who can’t find their owners, culminating with artist Nikki Hill as the sun sets over the park.
A portion of the festival's proceeds benefit Hands On Birmingham and the Bessemer Education Enhancement Foundation.
Theatre Tuscaloosa sprang directly from the Tuscaloosa Community Players, a rag-tag troupe formed in 1971 that played hotels, churches, and the castles of wealthy Southerners before it moved to the Bama Theatre late in the decade. By the end of the 20th century, Theatre Tuscaloosa had racked up a wall full of awards, including the Governor’s Arts Award and numerous Druid Arts Awards. 1998 saw the completion of the Bean-Brown Theatre, which serves as Theatre Tuscaloosa’s current home. It’s also the site of the company’s first world premiere, A Dickens of a Carol, scored by Alabamian Brad Simmons.
Raised in a family that often gathered for social meals, Amanda J. Smith picked up an interest in cooking at an early age. Later, she cultivated her talents at Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando and studied under chefs such as CulinAero's Doug Kieley, who she names as a mentor. After deciding to launch her own business, Amanda outfitted a mobile catering trailer with a gourmet kitchen capable of food preparation onsite at parties or during highway drag races.
"I have everything I need at my fingertips to create all kinds of fresh, flavorful meals," she told Southern Family magazine this year. Those meals range from bacon-wrapped beef tenderloins and ornate spreads of sliced ham to petite cheesecake bites topped with berries. Amanda also sets up culinary stations at events so guests can select their own hors d'oeuvres or sample sweets arranged around a chocolate fountain.
The expert staff at Phoenix Paintball Division oversees multiple fields sprawling across 30 acres of paintball action. A woods field cloaks artistic assassins with trees and bunkers, and a tire-and-hay field conceals teams as they rally together toward victory. As in marital disputes between pro athletes, trained referees strictly enforce all rules, making safety the top priority at Phoenix. The pro shop rents and sells all necessary equipment, accessories, and apparel, as well as food and drinks to keep players fueled during friendly outings, group events, or special occasions, such as birthday parties.