State investigator Suzan Armstrong sifts through heaps of paperwork, carefully mulling over government cases. Though her eyes focus on the documents' dense text, her thoughts momentarily drift away to daydreams about erecting a creative haven where people can funnel their imaginations into a slew of colorful crafts. In January of 2007, Suzan's reoccurring daydream materialized when she hung up her investigative briefcase, broke the glass on her emergency paintbrush holder, and opened her own franchise of Color Me Mine—named one of the top 10 places for kids' birthday parties by Parents magazine.
The 1,750-square-foot studio brims with décor and fixtures crafted by its own staff members, including custom-tile floors and a grandfather clock made from shards of shattered pottery. Patrons browse well stocked shelves of ceramic plates, vases, and—thanks to an exclusive partnership with the magic magnate—Disney characters, then garnish their chosen bisques around crafting tables in the main studio or long tables in the private party room. Experienced staff members stand closely by to help with bisque or paint selection and answer any questions about materials, design ideas, or how to emblazon Tinker Bell with a perfect Mona Lisa smile, then glaze and fire each creation to forge a bounty of long-lasting keepsakes.
The ASE-certified techs at North Star Body & Paint are experts at mending busted buggies as well as trucks and boats. As a full-service repair shop, they're qualified to work on both foreign and domestic models, offering services from frame repair and custom paint jobs to restoration and glass replacement. Their more than 25-year commitment to upkeep also extends to shining up autos inside and out with detailing.
Ever since The Alaska Club opened its first location in 1986, they've been striving to serve their members by adding amenities, classes, and opening new locations. Though each location?s offerings vary, they supplement their well-stocked fleets of cardio machines and strength equipment with cycling studios, climbing walls, basketball courts, swimming pools, and play centers for the kids. The club also offers spa services including hydromassage beds, tanning, and saunas.
Group fitness classes include yoga, step aerobics, and Pilates, and personal trainers stand at the ready to help clients focus on fitness goals. The clubs also offer swim lessons and summer camps for kids, setting in stone their commitment to making The Alaska Club a place for the whole family, not the half-formed family, which needs at least seven more years to gestate in the laboratory incubator.
Alaska Snow Safaris organizes snowmobile tours of the Alaskan backcountry scheduled daily from November through May. Tours include one-day adventures on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race or multiday excursions along the Susitna River and past breathtaking views of Mount McKinley.
Anchorage Athletic Club combines years of fitness expertise with the palpable camaraderie of several group exercise classes led by a supportive staff. Solo workouts on cardio and strength equipment can grant the athleticism of a half-man, half-Walter Payton, and three specialized studios host hot-yoga sessions to promote breathwork and the development of a lithe figure. The club augments its body-sculpting services with add-ons such as childcare and tanning beds, and a roster of premium classes hones kung fu jabs and the self-defense maneuvers of krav maga. The Anchorage Athletic Club's staff maintains a friendly attitude while placing a premium on motivating guests in an affable and helpful way.
Hillside Music's savvy instructors fill inquiring noggins with the know-how to channel rock, classical, pop, and folk styles while shredding on one of more than 12 different instruments, including piano, guitar, and violin. One-on-one lessons, offered for students ages 4 and up, eliminate tensions that may arise between multiple students who want to name their guitar Steve. Musical mavens tailor lessons to the appropriate pace and musical interests of each pupil, focusing on student-selected songs as opposed to the curriculum proposed in Beethoven's instructional DVDs.