The mission of the Idaho Botanical Garden has remained the same since its founding more than 25 years ago: to foster community appreciation and understanding of horticulture and natural conservation. Nestled in the Boise foothills, the facility's 33 acres house more than 14 themed gardens. Some feature carnivorous plants, native flora, or colorful and aromatic herbs, whereas others focus on rose varieties, succulents, peonies, and water-conserving plants. Garden staff use adjacent foothills for nature hikes and environmental education.
A day at the gardens may also include a snack at the Tea House or a trip to admire plantings on the roof of the Gathering Place gazebo. Pathways lined with Table Rock sandstone wander through the four quadrants of the green Celtic labyrinth, each representing one of the four seasons. In a separate Children's Adventure Garden, smaller visitors frolic in a colorful tree house and watch the ripple of fins at a koi pond. For self-guided family tours, the staff provide backpacks containing suggestions for things to see and do, as well as scavenger-hunt items, a magnifying lens, and binoculars so children can check whether that's really a Bubo virginianus slinking through the trees.
Under the guidance of new ownership, the instructors at Bikram Yoga Boise have no problem welcoming beginners to the practice. After all, each of them remembers the experience of their own first lesson. Some took part in a 60-day class challenge and some simply saw it as a new adventure in fitness, but all of them fell in love almost immediately with the benefits inherent in sweating and stretching.
It helps that the style accommodates all skill levels. Because students perform the 26 poses to the best of their ability, they needn't have any experience or a life-sized rubber stand-in to begin taking classes. The postures build off each other to stretch muscles, ligaments, and other tissues throughout the body as the surrounding heat in the studio?up to 105 degrees?makes them more pliable. The warmth also boosts circulation and the release of sweat, which helps to purge the body of built up toxins. As practitioners become accustomed to the poses, they can benefit from increased strength and range of motion.
At Warrior Fit Body Boot Camp, nationally certified trainer Darrin Walton uses metabolic-training techniques to help clients get fit and svelte as quickly as possible. His classes revolve around high-intensity intervals and circuits, which often include kickboxing moves, bodyweight exercises, and battling-rope drills. Many workouts emphasize Tabata training, in which participants rest briefly between intervals to rev up their metabolisms for up to 48 hours. During each class, Darrin exudes enthusiasm and cultivates a supportive vibe among students of all skill levels. He also charts students' body composition to keep them motivated as they watch their fat levels drop, their muscles bulk, and their pecs lay eggs and multiply. A collection of online tools—including a goal tracker, a meal planner, and a nutrition learning center—helps students cultivate healthy habits outside the classroom.
Bowlers step up, drop, and roll balls down 20th Century Lanes' 24 modern lanes, ending in an eruption of clanking pins, hoots, and hollers. As the scattered pins are reset, the bowling alley's automatic system calculates the score while visitors lounge in plush purple chairs. Between frames, bowlers can fuel their forethoughts of turkeys with barbecue-beef sandwiches or pizza from the caf?, grab a cocktail from the Gaslight Lounge, or stroll into the pro shop to purchase a new bowling bag that matches their Sunday's best bowling gown. 20th Century Lanes also hosts events such as bowling tournaments and league play, and resident coaches lead private, couples, and team lessons.
Coos, gurgles, and tiny handclaps form a soundtrack for Stroller Strides classes, one-hour sessions that are part play group and part workout, helping moms and tots forge friendships as they build strength, coordination, and flexibility. Certified instructors lead intervals of power walking and toning exercises that sculpt the entire body more effectively than bench-pressing babies. Workouts incorporate easy-to-use tools such as resistance bands and the strollers themselves, as well as environmental elements such as hills and trees during warm weather. Classes welcome moms of all fitness levels and babies who are 6 weeks old or who can grow a full beard. Stroller Strides also develops online resources to help moms connect with one another and work out in their homes.
For the past five years, the Ontario Reign have dominated opponents as the ECHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets and the 2012 Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings. Formerly the Texas Wildcatters, and before that, the Huntington Blizzard, the Reign rose to existence in 2008. And, rather than naming the team the old-fashioned way of letting a raccoon pick random letters from a bag of Scrabble pieces, the newly spawned organization turned to its fans with a name-the-team contest. That contest kicked off what has been a thriving relationship between the Reign and Ontario hockey fans. In fact, the Reign led the ECHL in attendance during their first three seasons. In 2012 and 2013, the team rewarded its loyal fans with back-to-back Pacific Division championships, and in coming seasons, hopes to be a perennial contender for the Kelly Cup.