At 7:15 in the morning, kids begin to arrive at Odyssey Early Learning, with 4- and 5-year-olds dashing to the door, and babies and younger children drowse on a parent's shoulder. Inside, the staff—all trained in early childhood care—greet the kids and direct parents to a sign outside posting the activities of the day. Teachers corral students as young as 6 weeks and as old as 5 years into age-appropriate peer groups.
In class, instructors blend play and academics, engaging little right brains with music and art lessons and creating new left-brain folds with science projects, math problems, and reading. Throughout the activities, the staff aims to develop social, emotional, intellectual, and motor skills to better prepare kids for the classroom, playground, and tree-house conference room. At the end of the day, parents get a daily feedback report, and every month, staffers prepare a progress report. Parents can also monitor classroom behavior via an eye-in-the-sky webcam, accessible through a password-protected website.
Gymnastics rings dangle from the ceiling and flags dress the walls at SeaCity CrossFit, where workouts draw inspiration from Olympic sports such as weightlifting, gymnastics, cycling, and running. Here, experienced coaches stress form and posture during training sessions that incorporate strength and cardio exercises. The trainers focus on performance and skill acquisition as students use tools such as kettlebells, medicine balls, and sandbags to perform functional exercises. They’ll tailor movements to a variety of fitness levels to ensure that every participant, whether they’re pro athletes or infrequent exercisers, gets the most out of their workouts.
Shape Up Fitness nutritionist and fitness expert April Rojas tightens tummies and trims torsos with exercise programs tailored to shed pounds and fitness inhibitions. Tone trouble spots at unlimited classes led by certified aerobic instructors, and engage in kinetically charged moves that condition the upper and lower body, core, and hard-to-slim foreheads. Warm up with calisthenics and plyometrics before plugging into circuit-training sessions that get hearts pumping and substructures sweating with permissible pain. Each day is slightly different than the next, and Shape Up Fitness's instructors ensure a boredom-proof workout regimen while hosting a free nutrition seminar once a month for those wondering if gravy is a fruit or a vegetable. New boot-camp sessions begin February 1, March 1, March 30, and April 28.
Artworks seeks to strengthen creative children's artistic instincts and inspire self-expression through classes and events that focus on experimentation and imagination. Art classes ($100–$150/10 classes) introduce children ages 2–10 to past artists and techniques through open-ended exploratory projects. Instructors encourage budding apprentices to creatively craft with media and materials rather than demanding exact likenesses of older siblings in papier-mâché. Classes are offered throughout the school year and into the summer at both the Nacogdoches and Mainland locations.
As a certified Cessna pilot center, Stinson Flight Training Center spotlights interactive, hands-on training in expertly maintained Cessna aircraft. A fleet of Cessna 172s—armed with Garmin G1000 glass cockpits—simplifies primary flight with high-definition digital screens that show at-a-glance engine data, flight sensors, and reruns of Small Wonder. The center offers both discovery flights for tender-footed aeronauts, as well as continued training for those seeking to obtain FAA licenses.
“It’s the rare visitor who won't discover here that his or her ethnic group has contributed to the history of Texas,” noted the New York Times in its description of the Institute of Texan Cultures. The 26 different ethnic and cultural groups represented at the educational center incline one to agree with the Times. The article went on to list the institute as a top San Antonio attraction due to its “imaginative, hands-on displays” and kid-friendly features, including an adobe home and one-room schoolhouse. Along with heritage festivals and other events, the institute features both long-term and rotating exhibits, as well as a photo archive with more than three million images.