At Downward Dog Yoga & Fitness, ancient poses fuel challenging workouts and traditional calisthenics summon inner peace. That's because both types of exercise have a common goal: bolstering health by building community. During the studio's signature Vinyasa class, yogis of all levels stretch and bend together, learning from each other as they follow the cues of a friendly, experienced teacher. The mesmerizing vocals of Sting and U2 join the pre-modern chants of Krishna Das to inspire students during deep-breathing exercises, which focus the mind as they dissolve stress. The temperature rises to 90 degrees for hot yoga and hot Pilates, helping loosen tight muscles and drain toxins from the body. Hot yoga builds strength and flexibility with sitting, standing, and inverted poses, whereas hot Pilates targets similar goals with core-sculpting isometrics and a focus on bodily alignment. Trainer-led boot camps explore the other end of the fitness spectrum with jumping jacks and burpees, which melt more calories than a fondue party at Richard Simmons's house. To unwind after class, students can book a massage-therapy appointment with Hannah Zahs, who infuses Swedish and shiatsu strokes with soothing essential oils.
Diamond Dreams Baseball and Softball Academy's athletic facilities double as classrooms for players of all ages. A 10,000-square-foot arena houses indoor pitching mounds, technique cages, and throwing tunnels with Iron Mike and curveball pitching machines. An adjoining 2,000-square-foot performance center caters to youth and adult development programs.
Helming these facilities, experienced instructors adhere to a philosophy known as Life-Sport-Connect. As implied by its title, Life-Sport-Connect emphasizes the link between athletics and the real world. As athletes learn how to maintain a positive attitude, work as a team, and douse their coach in sports drink, they develop virtuous characteristics that affect their personal lives.
Classes, workshops, and camps primarily emphasize baseball, softball, and football. Regular baseball tournaments provide game time between local and regional teams, and a chance to show off with home-run derbies and throwing competitions.
An award-winning organization, the Iowa Children’s Museum engages and expands the imaginations of youngsters with interactive exhibits and hands-on programs. The Move It! Dig It! Do It! event invites pintsized minds to stretch themselves around the enormous equipment wielded by construction professionals, farmers, and bus drivers, and then witness how each vehicle fits into the next to defend the galaxy as Voltron. More than 40 activities and machines ensure all-day entertainment. Tots can scramble into the driver’s seat of a fire truck for a hero’s-eye view of the engine’s three-alarm chili dispenser or enjoy a haystack ride. Create your own cement garden stone before retiring to the Volunteer Guild’s Dig It! Café for purchasable snacks and water divvied up out from under a big tent.
With iridescent miniature golf courses in malls throughout North America, Glowgolf adds elements of phosphorescent fun to shopping sessions. Courses contain sights such as light-defying blush corals, incandescent animals, and lush foliage reminiscent of the glowing trees on Neptune. Each pass is good for three 18-hole games, giving golfers ample opportunity to get familiar with each hole's obstacles. Equipment is available on the spot, so players won't have to carry around personal clubs or seek out a bioluminescent caddie.
Kicking back with a beer in one hand and a brush in the other, visitors to Brush and Barrel can rest assured that visits will not only be relaxing, but fruitful, too. During classes, instructors provide easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions on completing a colorful composition, with subject matter ranging from urban scenes to serene landscapes. Meanwhile, Thursday afternoon classes designed specifically for kids allow young artists to explore their creativity in a fun, encouraging setting.
2011's Firecracker 500 Festival serves up more than 20 eclectic garage-rock groups bent on rocking an all-ages-audience's socks off over three thrash-filled days. Bands such as White Mystery and Pitchfork-reviewed quartet The Coathangers kick out jams with riot-grrrl grit, and headliners The Strange Boys shred psychedelic hooks sharper than Jimi Hendrix's diamond-tipped mustache-trimmers. The festival's full roster of up-and-coming acts can expose most attendees' ears to new shrieks and sounds.