At the Columbia Association, visitors find not only a place to work out, swim, or enjoy the great outdoors, but a place to connect with the local community and get to know their neighbors. Families take in live music by the lakefront during summer festivals, or glide across the ice at the public rink. Meanwhile, aspiring athletes build muscle, flexibility, and form with practice at indoor and outdoor tennis courts, or regular trips to the high-tech Columbia Gym. Columbia Association also helps its members maintain a healthy lifestyle with a wide variety of facilities, including nearby golf courses, 23 swimming pools, and even an attached horse center, where humans can learn to ride and horses can get in shape for swimsuit season.
Husband-wife duo Julio and Lily Soto opened Azul 17 to celebrate not only Mexican cuisine, but to also embrace the culture through music, vibrant design, and a selection of more than 100 tequilas made with 100% blue agave. Their chefs all hail from Mexico and bring family recipes to the kitchen?including one chef's grandmother's recipe for black beans. It's ?old world style with updated presentation,? says manager Peter Bonohue. Peter has been in the restaurant business since he could legally work, and to him, Azul 17 has an especially fun atmosphere. ?I love tequila now,? he confessed.
While chefs simmer their signature mole sauce and servers add fresh lime juice to margaritas, guests recline atop white leather banquettes or modern chairs. Eyes dance with murals and shimmering blue-tile mosaics splashed against white walls. Those whites are illuminated with a multicolored neon glow as DJs spin club, house, and Mexican tunes starting at 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On Thursdays at 8 p.m., guests can spice up their tired hokey-pokey routine with salsa lessons.
During Race & Seek, an extra phone battery in your pocket could easily be worth thousands of dollars. The urban scavenger hunt sends teams of 2?10 out into city streets in search of 14 clues, which they must capture via photo or video with their smart phones. The first-prize winners haul in some serious bounty: $500 and free entry into the Grand Championship, where $5,000 waits at the finish line.
But a slew of physical and mental challenges stand in the way of that money. Harder and harder clues come in via text and email, and as participants decipher them, they must navigate the city largely on foot?no cars, bikes, taxis, or griffins are allowed?with the aid of GPS and a city map.
While other children were playing outside Charlene Randolph's bedroom window, she was buried in her coloring books, scribbling intently with her crayons. This passion for two-dimensional art led her to take a slew of illustration classes in high school, but it wasn't until college that she discovered the clay medium and the world of functional, three-dimensional art. Tossing her canvases and drawing pencils to the side, Charlene became the primary instructor at The ClayGround Studio & Gallery, a BYOB workshop that provides novice potters with all the tools, materials, and fire-breathing abilities needed to craft stoneware art. Charlene's own masterpieces are available for purchase through the studio's website or at various boutiques and galleries across the country.
Terrapin Adventures never fails to live up to its name—even their swing set gets the stomach fluttering with excitement. To be fair, though, the swing in question is anything but the traditional apparatus you'd find at a city park. It seats three people and starts its trajectory 40 feet above the ground, generating 2Gs of force as it swishes riders back and forth over the landscape. The park's other attractions are equally exhilarating. On the high ropes course, visitors attached to sturdy safety harnesses cross 18 traverses situated between lofty platforms; some must be tackled via a rickety bridge, while others require leaps of faith. The 43-foot high climbing tower offers 10 routes up and down, including a head-first downward climb over the Rainbow Serpent. Otherwise, the 330-foot-long zipline sends visitors gliding through the treetops at speeds of up to 20 mph, fast enough to beat the USA track team's star squirrel.
There's a Zumba class for every type of student at Savage Fit LLC. Beginners start with Zumba Gold classes, learning four basic rhythms ranging from merengue to reggaeton, and following along as an instructor sets them to international beats. Next, they expand upon this foundational repertoire with moves such as samba, belly dance, and flamenco, working their way up to follow simple choreography or incorporate strength-training with maraca-shaped hand weights.
While AquaZumba classes turn the dance party into a pool party, Zumbatonic turns it into a kids party where pint-sized students can shimmy and shake with friends of their own age and ability. When Savage Fit Studio isn't teaching Zumba, they also offer Pilates and yoga classes, as well as a girls' night out event on the last Friday of each month.