Matt White cinches his uniform with a fourth-degree black belt in tae kwon do, heads down to one of Triumph Martial Arts' three locations, and dishes up a fist-full of knowledge earned over 25 years of mat-slapping training. Recognized by the American Tae Kwon Do Association as the Regional Instructor of the Year in 2008 and 2011, Mr. White takes pride in combative victory and from passing those skills on.
In keeping with the Association's instructional format, Mr. White and his battery of four instructors teach the martial art and philosophy of tae kwon do to kids and adults. Tiny Tigers sessions reach out to students as young as 4 years old, teaching them important values such as helping around the house, excelling at schoolwork, and how to survive a wildebeest stampede. Students as old as 55 have started with no experience, going on to successfully earn their black belts.
Erv Wagner began shooting arrows at insolent targets in 1956, and since then he has earned a national title and maintained active membership in the National Field Archery Association, the Iowa Bow Hunter Association, and Mid-Iowa Archers. He passed down his love of outdoor sport to his son, and together they run Archery Field & Sports. They outfit first-time archers with the appropriate gear before granting tailored instruction at group or private lessons. Guests can test their aim at a 45-yard indoor range or inhale Mother Nature's fresh breath while shooting at a 20-target outdoor range. Those in need of a little more color can square off against opponents and drab blades of grass at the outdoor paintball field. Their pro shop dispenses the necessary paintballs, along with archery and hunting supplies.
Since 1979, Bruce Kennedy has leapt from airplanes more than 5,900 times. He opened Skydive Iowa in 1991, turning his love of thrilling free falls and bird's-eye views into a business. He and his team of USPA-licensed instructors teach visitors safety concepts and skydiving techniques before accompanying them into the air. At a height of 3,000 feet, skydivers leap for tandem or solo jumps. Jumpers drift above the earth for up to five minutes before a radio guides them toward a soft landing. Many of Skydive Iowa's instructors specialize in videography and can capture photographs or videos of skydivers for posterity.
Brenton Skating Plaza's outdoor ice-skating rink is comprised of a 160'x60' sheet of ice that can hold up to 220 skaters. There, skaters—equipped with one of 450 pairs of skates available for rent—can cut lines through the ice in the open air, surrounded by all-glass boards. Throughout the season, which stretches from November to March, the rink hosts skating lessons, broomball games, and public skating.
Des Moines Driving Range stretches out 5,000 square feet of grass tee area for golfers to tinker with drivers, irons, and wedges. Marked flags protrude from the elevated greens and shake with each passing wind gust to offer a realistic target for aiming golfers. In addition to an expansive driving range, the training spot accommodates short games with three chipping greens and three putting greens. The range opens its doors all week from 8:30 a.m. until dark.
Aspen Athletic Club amasses top-of-the-line equipment, seasoned trainers, and luxurious amenities within five gym spaces across Des Moines. A fleet of cardio and strength-training machinery from brands such as LifeFitness and Star Trac heavily populate the floors, allowing guests ample access to the equipment. In addition to a cardio theater, the Hickman gym boasts 12 onsite tennis courts and specialized studios for martial arts and women-only workouts. Visitors to the 14th Street location can sign up for aquatic classes or swim laps solo across the pool. Other amenities such as tanning, massage therapy, and gold-plated kettlebells vary from club to club.
Certified personal trainers plan out custom routines for clients, and highly qualified instructors lead Zumba steps, spinning seminars, and, at certain locations, fast-paced Les Mills classes. The professional staff also offer nutritional counseling at all locales.