At Sky Zoo, which bills itself as a "zoo of entertainment," guests can hop around from activity to activity. In the pool room they shoot billiards and play foosball, in The Big Room guests belt out karaoke songs or shimmy during Battle of the Bands sets, and in the front lounge they can take in a game on TV or throw darts. Sky Zoos fuels all of these activities with a full menu of pub food, including pizza and wings, and frosty pours doled out at its multiple bars.
Snakes slither in glass display cases, and lizards wriggle in the hands of trained handlers as they're held up in full view of a curious crowd. This is the scene as one of Repticon's presenters educates attendees on the biology, behavior, and typing speeds of exotic cold-blooded creatures at one of the year-round shows held in cities across the country. Reptile and amphibian breeders, scholars, and handlers engage audiences in lectures and demonstrations in the midst of live reptile exhibits, family activities, and displays for exotic-pet supplies. Presentations may focus on the genetics of large snake species, the specifics of exotic-pet care, and the effect that tiny hats have on the image of arachnids such as tarantulas, scorpions, and spiders.
Sports Barn's mammoth and diverse schedule of more than 120 weekly group classes leaves little room for excuses. Nationally certified instructors, including a former triathlete and a six-sigma black belt, teach just about every type of fitness class imaginable—from high-energy kickboxing and dance aerobics to mind-centering yoga and Pilates—for people of any experience level. Students challenge multiple muscle groups in high-intensity, low-impact CRCTBRKR (or Circuit Breaker) classes, which melt calories with strength training and compound-joint exercises. To further direct guests toward their weight-loss goals, an on-staff dietitian and attentive personal trainers devise personalized programs and custom-fitting donut-proof vests.
Among other amenities, the centers boast an indoor pool and two heated outdoor pools. Patrons can relax after their workouts in a hot tub or sauna, or book a soothing massage.
The Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga doesn't shy away from provocation. In fact, most of their productions are downright gutsy. The non-profit theater company— founded by local artists who eat, drink, and breathe stage dust—specializes in professional stagings of new and classic works that stir the imagination and gleefully push buttons. Not just geared toward grown-ups and theater connoisseurs, the ETC also conducts a youth program of camps and classes for the next generation of thespians.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.