When not hosting the 10th-largest adult hockey league in the United States, The Gardens Ice House opens its three full-size rinks and one mini rink for public skating sessions seven days a week. Upon arrival, revelers visit the rental desk to select hockey or figure skates, or one of each in attempts to perfect the elusive salchow-wall-check combo. A kindly staff of zamboni jockeys keeps the spacious, glass-lined rinks slick and mirroresque. After skating up appetites, speedsters can grab bites to eat and start conversations with a coffee machine at The Gardens’ Ice Breaker Cafe.
Alison Miller, a passionate dancer with a master's degree in performing arts, founded The Ballet Academy in 1981. Ever since, she and her team have led children, teens, and adults through classical-ballet routines based on the teachings at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet and the Royal Academy. Students can also opt for Stretch and Tone classes to lengthen the muscles.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros; the Beginning Digital Photography course teaches students to harness the intricacies of their instruments, and the Pro Academy offers inside tips on how to successfully snap wedding portraits, pose recent grads, or tease out candid emotions. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
Much like the climate and the cost of a pickle, Sport Fit facility features vary by location, but all three locations harbor vast vaults of workout equipment and group classes. During your 30 consecutive days of training montage, mold and shape muscles into the clenched face of your favorite World’s Strongest Man with dozens of machines and free weights. Otherwise, stride onto the tennis, racquetball, or basketball court and win back legal ownership of your pancreas from that fast-talking vice president. Those who benefit from cardiovascular camaraderie can buoy spirits and sink flab with group fitness classes such as salsa, karate, functional fitness boot camp, and cycling.
CEO Peter Harvey believes that a quality gym staff must demonstrate more than technical expertise. "Service doesn't only mean showing someone how to do an arm curl," he says. Certified personal trainers develop workouts that zero in on each person’s specific goals, giving clients the skills to pole-vault over impassable plateaus. By steadfastly refusing to hand out fish in favor of putting on master classes in fishing, they help clients become self-sufficient, educating them on fundamentals.
During these one-on-one sessions, and in solo workouts, guests set calories ablaze atop rows of continually updated equipment. Treadmills, recumbent bikes, and strength-training tools line the walls.
Members can also drop in for as many group classes as they can muster. Inside a separate studio, stationary cycles whir in time with galvanizing music, kickboxing strikes arc through the air, and barbells rise with each BodyPump rep. For more meditative practices, Pilates sessions and several types of yoga enhance flexibility and focus.
Supplying all materials, Art By The Glazz's artist-led painting sessions kindle creative talents during three-hour classes held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. New artists capture shapes and shadows inspired by a number of pastoral- or wine-themed templates, with step-by-step instruction from pigment professionals. The pigment-shy can embolden themselves with a drink from an onsite cash bar. Aprons protect against stray paint, wine drops, and the tears of fruit trapped in a beautiful but airless eternal present, although Art By The Glazz recommends wearing old clothes. Finished masterpieces chaperone each artist home, ready to be mounted on a wall or hung from the dining-room chandelier. The company also hosts corporate team-building events, small groups, and birthday parties, giving guests an enjoyable ice-breaking activity.
Pyramid Atlantic is a non-profit contemporary arts center that promotes artistic excellence in the fields of hand-papermaking, printmaking, digital media, and bookmaking. Among impressive facilities and tools are an antique letterpress, materials for hand-binding books, and the art gallery, which has a new solo show each month and is DC’s source for fine art prints and artistic activities. Members enjoy once-a-month, hands-on tutorials (such as screen-printing, bookmaking, and paper UFO folding), once-a-month tours of the new exhibits with the director of the Washington Printmaker’s Gallery (which curates Pyramid Atlantic’s exhibits), 10% off at the community arts store in Silver Spring, and 10% off live music and theater events.