Maybe it's the themed activity areas. Maybe it's the vibrant color splashed across each of the walls. Whatever the reason, kid stepping into Amaya Papaya's play lounge know that they're not walking into your average play date. Instead, they pass their time in a hybrid lounge that combines the best elements of indoor playgrounds, event and party spaces, and local shops for kids up to five years. Seven themed areas fend off boredom, with a creativity corner allowing kids to color on the chalk and paint walls and a construction corner letting them design cost-effective skyscrapers out of wooden blocks.
While kids play during drop-in playtime Monday-Friday, parents pass their minutes browsing the toys, games, and educational resources that populate the center's shop. After ringing up purchases, they can also kick back in comfy seats, keeping an eye on their child's play session while taking a break for themselves.
Amaya Papaya's staff also leads classes before open play and after closing time for both parents and adults, such as art and language classes and CPR training. To keep things fresh, they constantly rotate toys and pull out their etch-a-sketches to plan special events such as meetings with children's authors. Amaya Papaya is also available for private birthday parties on the weekends.
Between 1984 and 1986, Michael Echevarria. For three years running, he out-hoisted all comers to become, and stay, the U.S. Air Force powerlifting champion in his class. But it wasn’t until 1996, when he started training for bodybuilding competitions—which emphasize aesthetics and pageantry over raw power—that he learned how hard it is to shed body fat.
As a personal trainer and owner of Fitness by Example, he leverages that struggle to deliver tailored programs and boot camps to his clients that help them lose weight and build muscle. Clients, ranging from 11 to 91, amp up cardio strength during outdoor boot camps or glean all kinds of benefits, such as lower cholesterol, during one-on-one sessions. When he’s not helping patrons hit their target weight right in its smirking face, Echevarria authors myriad articles that outline clever tricks for speeding up metabolism or the benefits of flexibility.
Marino Dance Club founders Cindie and Jose Marino each bring more than 28 years of experience to the dance floor as they edify couples, kids, or solo dancers in the art of ballroom dance. Students can bring a partner or meet someone new in the intimate studio characterized by warmly painted walls and lighting that turns down when the music comes up or multiple microwaves are used at once. Group or private lessons cover the fundamental steps, spins, and transitions of styles such as the waltz, tango, and cha-cha, and practice parties provide a social gathering to try out newly acquired skill sets. Twice a year, Marino Dance Club invites its student body to the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Orlando to showcase their talents with freestyle dances and solo exhibitions in front of a panel of judges and an enthusiastic audience.
Listening to music from a young age does more than help someone dance well enough to get on the Jumbotron during basketball games. It can also improve a child's brain development, social skills, and emotional connections. The staff at Grow and Sing Studios make it their mission to aid in the development of children through a wide variety of age-appropriate classes. Instructors lead students through activities steeped in song and rhythm, from the parent-baby drumming in Kindermusik Village to the group sing-alongs during Music for Aardvarks. They also teach piano lessons.
Energizing beats fuel each furious workout at F.I.R.M. Fitness Camp as groups move together to shave off pounds and shape stronger bodies. Certified personal trainers start fresh each day with a new workout that employs dumbbells, jump ropes, and the Lebert Equalizer to keep heart rates pumping while building muscle mass. Unlike other boot camps, the trainers motivate through positive reinforcement rather than by yelling at clients or leaving passive-aggressive post-it notes on their fridges. Additionally, each energy-boosting session is held indoors, so students need not worry about sessions being canceled due to rain.
Spun sugar crystals float by spinning horses and pools of docile magnetic sharks beneath the glittering midway lights of Carol Stream Amusements' lively traveling carnival. The nearly 110-year-old fair company's third-generation of stewards bring rides, games, and snacks to states such as Florida, North Carolina, and New York, where it operates the state fair in Syracuse. A 65-foot century wheel soars above the bustle of the music-filled midway, where LED lights twinkle in patterns of white, green, blue, and red around its gondola cars. A merry-go-round sends fantastical steeds cantering around in a stately circle, while bumper cars careen around their nearby enclosure. Carnival games such as squirt-gun races and fishing for magnetized sharks yield prizes such as stuffed animals and inflatable Scooby-Doo, SpongeBob, and Henry VIII dolls, while flurries of corn dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, and taffy apples fall constantly on hungry fair-goers.