Sometimes, you just need a fairy godmother to make your dreams come true. Wings & Whimsies has such a creature, and her name is Babbling Brooke. The magical Brooke flits about town with fairy friend Zephyr, bringing along all the games, decorations, and costumes necessary to create a fantasy-themed birthday party for young children. In the span of mere hours, Babbling Brooke and Zephyr transform backyards and local parks into fantastical worlds complete with knights and dragons, kings and castles, or auditors and tax evaders.
When they're not injecting a little magic into kids' lives with birthday parties, they're doing it with storytelling and music at library and school events. The two fairies have no trouble captivating their young audiences; after all, they are both members of storytelling guilds such as the National Storytelling Network.
Students glide slowly across the gleaming wood floors of Columbia Tai Chi Center, their controlled purposeful movements sihouetted in natural light from a window. Wesley Adams, the director and head instructor, leads students through the moving meditation that is Tai Chi, helping students find balance and peace as they learn the ancient discipline. Wesley also offers Q-Ex Mindful Movement classes, a contemporary fitness program that draws on the ancient practices of Tai Chi and Qigong to help build strength and reduce stress. All his classes are small, with a 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio to ensure all students can benefit from personal attention and no one student hogs all the relaxation.
Firearms from top manufacturers??such as Ruger or Smith & Wesson??line the shelves of Palmetto State Armory. Along with rifles, handguns, and BB guns, Palmetto sports a constantly expanding stock of additional gear, from ammunition and reloading supplies to accessories such as holsters and magazines. Besides supplying equipment, most of Palmetto's locations double as air-conditioned shooting ranges.
Though built in 1893 to manufacture textiles, the Columbia Mills’ storied stone halls now weave tapestries of knowledge with exhibits on everything from lasers and space travel to South Carolina's role in the Civil War. Boasting accolades by Columbia Metropolitan magazine and the Smithsonian, South Carolina State Museum devotes each of its four floors and part of its fourth dimension to art, cultural history, natural history, and science and technology represented by more than 70,000 artifacts.
Through a series of permanent exhibits, curators lead visitors on a cultural and geological voyage. Guests stroll through years of traditional and contemporary art by state artists, marvel at a 43-foot white shark display and full dinosaur skeletons, or cast imaginations back in exhibits on turn-of-the-century transportation, laser technology, and aviation. The museum also excavates the surrounding landscape to present 14,000 years of local culture in Native American tools and colonial-era lifestyle items.
Five galleries also house changing exhibits featuring assemblages of artifacts from Civil War–era Charleston or 300 years of American-made telescopes, each carefully monitored to ensure they contain just the right amount of science. While museum staffers frequently rotate their exhibits, they also host traveling displays and send others on the road through the Traveling Exhibits Program. Various education displays such as interactive children's labs, living-history reenactments, and lectures from visiting scholars further enrich all-ages visitors.
In Poland, Eddie Balcerzak raced professionally and coached Warsaw's KKS Polonia Cycling Club. He continued on this career trajectory in the United States. In 1985, he found employment with the 7-Eleven cycling team, which subsisted entirely on Slurpies, and then linked up with U.S.A. Cycling. While working for the team, he helped the athletes cycle to a silver medal in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics and clinch gold in the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Today, as the owner of South Lake Cycles, Balcerzak shares his wisdom with a new generation of cyclists. He works alongside bicycle mechanics and pro coaches who outfit customers with all the equipment they'll need to race a triathlon or take a joy ride on an aircraft carrier.
Jeffery Archery's craftsmen hand shape natural hardwood into traditional longbows, and their pro-shop stocks contemporary compound bows from brands such as Bowtech. The facility also includes a 12-lane indoor range, where archers can practice at distances from 5–20 yards.