Youngsters clamor over air-filled merry-go-rounds, obstacle courses, and slides inside FunFlatables' indoor play arenas. Dyer's 12,00-square-foot facility houses giant aquariums, pirate ships, and 19-foot slides, while Merrillville's 9,000-square-foot playground sends kiddies whirling around on a bouncy carousel like the first cowboys before the discovery of real horses. Each bounce facility keeps toddlers from getting underfoot in dedicated Totland play spaces, complete with musical toys, miniature slides, and foam-covered floors. Outdoor-inflatable rentals bring the jump sessions to birthdays, block parties, fairs, and parole hearings.
The instructors of Origins Dance Academy have traveled far and wide to learn and practice their craft, from choreographing in Los Angeles to dancing in prestigious European and Canadian ballet companies to appearing in area musicals. That wide range of experience allows them to teach youngsters in a wide variety of classes, including tap, ballet, and hip-hop. Origins also occasionally presents its students in performances and sends them to competitions judged by technique, difficulty, and how well the dancers perform sequences from Swan Lake while partnered with real swans.
Northwest Indiana's first marathon launches from Freedom Park on April 27, 2014. Taking place entirely over scenic country roads, the Crossroads Marathon passes by Cedar Lake, Lake Dale, and at least one camouflaged bigfoot. The course is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and is open to everyone—walkers included—as long as they can sustain a 15-minute mile pace.
Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
Patti Komara, commandant of Patti’s All-American for 42 years, leads a team of friendly, highly skilled trainers in conducting gymnastics and dance classes for teens and younger tots. The Tumblebear Gym program (walking toddler–age 6) draws in dinosaurs, Hollywood, and outer-space themes to keep youngsters engaged in the graceful, athletic movements of tumbling. Gymnasts old enough for school-age gymnastics classes (age 6–18) learn and practice more complicated skills on the spring floor, the uneven bars, the in-ground trampoline, and more.