Fueled by a passion to make the Asia-born sport of badminton more accessible and popular here in the United States, the founders of Bay Badminton Center lovingly maintain 37 regulation courts across three locations. They’ve designed everything to let players concentrate on their game, from an electronic court-queuing system that keeps everyone in order to adequate lighting that reduces strain on the eyes. They even installed a full Robbins flooring system that allows players to lob shuttlecocks back and forth without worrying about slipping on a mat or being unkind to their leg joints. After games, guests can hit the shower-equipped locker rooms to rinse off. Players who haven’t yet surgically replaced their hand with a racket can rent one or buy one at the fully equipped pro shop at each location.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
Founded in 2000, the Burlingame Aquatic Club initially catered exclusively to competitive athletes, many of whom rose to win several swimming events and earn spots on Olympic Development teams. In 2011, the City of Burlingame recognized the nonprofit's successful track record by granting it management of all the aquatic programs run from the facility (except for high-school athletics), allowing the club to now host open swims, lessons, and community events. Visitors of all ages and experience levels can glide down the 50-meter lanes of the outdoor, Olympic-size pool, or acclimate to the water in a wading area. They can also splash away calories in aqua-aerobics classes, or learn how to yell "shark!" in semaphore during CPR and lifeguard training.
Having first encountered yoga in 1990, Robin Duffy quickly fell in love––a love that culminated in her founding Being Yoga eight years later. Certified to teach both Bikram and Kriya styles, she works alongside instructors, who also teach Yin yoga and meditation classes. These yogis pass on traditions that stretch back for millennia inside their peaceful studio, marked by stenciled drawings of bamboo branches. The facility features locker rooms, a bamboo floor, and a boutique stocked with yoga equipment by Gaiam and Prana. To keep her karma levels on the jubilant end of the spectrum, Robin also aligns her studio with the Green Yoga Association, which encourages eco-friendly practices such as avoiding plastic water bottles and saluting ladybugs.
With the help of her kids, certified personal trainer Jodi Hamilton-Eichensehr designed a family-friendly playspace celebrating the fun of fitness with games and obstacle courses centered on a giant animal-themed jungle gym. Guarded by a toucan and gorilla, the gym's labyrinthine interior conceals bridges, tunnels, ladders and slides, as well as a trapdoor to the Fountain of Youth. As kids traverse the gym, their bodies covertly enjoy a full cardio workout while building balance, hand-eye coordination, and confidence. Small-group fitness classes teach children about nutrition before building up their appetites with activities such as dashes through the jungle gym or sprints across a running track peppered with hurdles. Jodi also hosts adult classes, which emphasize fun, varied fitness, from cardio to strength training, to build parents' stamina during capture-the-flag tournaments at the office. Staffers also host unforgettable soirees for birthdays, which split guests' time between the jungle gym, party room, and video arcade.
Junior Gym's instructors believe that physical activity and self-confidence go hand in hand. That's why they keep all of their gymnastics, tumbling, and fitness programs noncompetitive. Kids aged 6 months to 7 years old can step through the entrance's blue archways and into the 4,600-square-foot fitness facility, where, under the tutelage of seasoned instructors, they might learn to walk a balance beam or partake in social-development activities replete with music, movement, and parachute games. These activities unfold amid a maze of mats, bars, and obstacles, which the instructors rearrange weekly to confuse any infants plotting a mutiny.
As an alternative to regular fitness classes, Junior Gym's instructors also host camps and the Terrific Tots program. During these loosely structured sessions, CPR- and first-aid-certified teachers tell stories, help kids make arts and crafts, and serve healthy snacks.