The Arizona desert may be the last place one would expect to find a scuba store and training facility, which makes Dive Shack USA an especially sweet discovery. Helmed by professional instructor and diving veteran Jerry Portwood, the facility houses a wide range of scuba gear, including fins, tanks, and wetsuits. Its biggest draw, however, is its diving certification courses and trips, which whisk divers off on adventures to places such as Catalina Island. Once there, aquanauts can practice their new-found skills while getting up-close glimpses of coral or teasing dolphins about their lack of opposable thumbs.
Shots ring out over Eldorado Valley, filling the air with the distinctive crack of rifle fire. Within the foothills of the McCullough Mountains, visitors of all abilities refine their aim under the watchful eyes of the staff at Pro Gun Club. Spanning 160 acres of rolling terrain, the shooting grounds cover areas for firearms practice, shotgun sports, and even the chance to blow up a vehicle. There?s also a dedicated space for archery and opportunities for airsoft games. Between shooting sessions on the field, visitors can head to the clubhouse, which brims with amenities such as a fully stocked bar and flatscreen televisions.
Vegas Off Road Experience's wilderness-worthy Roughrider trucks harness the rage of a six-cylinder Ford engine and encase drivers and passengers in stable cockpit conditions cradled by 24-inch tuned suspension. On-staff instructors provide handling instruction and a warning against feeding the engine Mountain Dew after dinner, so that participants can harness the vehicle's maximum potential during short-track and desert-challenge excursions. Visitors maneuver the resilient metal monsters across natural desert jumps and mountain passes, or take to the professional-grade closed course to launch off of 40-foot tabletop jumps and around sharp turns. The on-staff instructors have competed in the Mint 400 race and pass on their speedy prowess through a racing-training program. Whether exploring their truck's off-road capabilities or hunting down tumbleweeds that cut them off during a desert romp, drivers are always equipped with safety gear, GPS, and radio communication.
Scubafy Dive Center's veteran dive Instructor, co-founder Charlie Franks, is Regional Training Director and an Instructor Trainer Evaluator for IDEA, and draws on thousands dives? worth of experience while teaching scuba courses. Charlie and his instructors guide small-group classes of budding divers aged 12 and older through open-water certification courses, which impart the skills needed to explore the liquid depths of nearby Lake Mead, international waters, or Zeus's hot tub. The shelves and racks of Scubafy's well-stocked dive shop are laden with new and pre-owned gear for divers of all skill levels. Rental equipment is available by the day or week, and air-tank refills, repair services, and all-inclusive introductory packages equip those who are getting their feet wet for the first time.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a California mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children's cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes for parents, newborns, and children under 1 year that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
Astudia Dance World embraces all types of music—even kinds that haven't been written yet. Their Jam class trades order for on-the-spot creativity, encouraging students of any instrument to show up and practice the art of improvisation. It's a far cry from the more structured TRAC class (which stands for theory, reading, arranging, and composing), but both offerings celebrate creativity under the supervision of expert instructors.
Directed by Jane Maurer and William Blair, this team helps pupils of all ages explore the wide and varied world of music and dance. Their lessons cover classical styles such as jazz, tap, and ballet in addition to acrobatics, hip-hop, and musical theater, wherein every actor is required to carry a tuba. Meanwhile, instrument classes focus on the piano, guitar, or drums. All of these skills come together in recital performances, where parents can witness their children's progress and cheer them on.