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.
Curves has established nearly 10,000 gyms for women in more than 85 countries, with 4 million members worldwide. Three Anchorage locations invite ladies of all fitness levels to the training circuit. Circuit trainees gather in a circle comprised of 13 resistance machines and 13 recovery stations. During the course of a 30-minute workout, they alternate between machines that work two opposing muscle groups with a single motion and recovery stations where they run, dance, or swagger in place to maintain heart rates. Ladies carry Curves Smart chips that feed their personal fitness info into the training machines. A green light on the chip indicates sufficient workout intensity, which rises as one's strength increases.
Curves now offers the 90-day Curves Complete program, which pairs diet and exercise with the motivation of peers and trainers.
At Alaska Horse Adventures LLC, trails extend from the stables and into deep woods with mountain views, immersing riders in the natural beauty of the local landscape. Rides are tailored to accommodate all skill levels, allowing beginners to enjoy leisurely strolls along forested trails while advanced riders take advantage of more open terrain, streams, and the lack of backcountry speed-limit signs. From the vantage point of a noble steed, riders can catch glimpses of moose, bears, undomesticated uncles, coyotes, and migrating birds in their natural environment. Alaska Horse Adventures LLC also organizes seasonal activities such as backpacking trips and winter sleigh rides.
Rockin’ B Riding Club’s 2.5-acre ranch boasts an indoor and an outdoor arena as well as a network of wooded paths for private rides. These facilities are home to seven school horses, who help teach young riders equestrian basics during camps and lessons alongside veteran instructors. Using the Certified Horsemanship Association curriculum, teachers focus on the basics of English- or Western-style riding but also throw in lessons on how to groom horses and how to tell the difference between a mare and a tall four-legged table.
Anchorage City Trolley Tours introduces visitors to multifarious attractions in the City of Lights and Flowers, including the world's busiest floatplane base on Lake Hood, the monuments at Earthquake Park, and the waves of Cook Inlet. While Alaskan-raised trolley drivers dish out useful info and fascinating history about each part of the city, riders will smell Anchorage’s famous flowers and spot majestic moose eating grass and debating their retirement options. Be sure to show up 15 minutes early to nab a seat next to the large, photo-friendly windows inside the heated, enclosed apple-red trolley. Potential passengers should fill out the online seat reservation page to secure a spot.
Phaze One Skate Park provides a year-round, indoor skating haven for young skaters and BMX bikers. The lofty, graffiti-decorated gymnasium park includes ramps, stairways, rails, and platforms to practice and perfect impressive skate tricks. Phaze One’s helpful staffers are there to make sure skaters wear safety helmets and awesome facial expressions at all times. After two hours of practice and completing the world’s first septuple-axel-salchow skate flip, young grinders can peek around Phaze One’s on-site gear shop. Check out the schedule for optimal shredding hours.