Hounds Town USA’s friendly staff coddles pups, ushering them to peaceful, private boarding rooms to rest up for days spent cavorting with peers in the expansive doggie play area. Rovers spend the day romping with their fellow canine campers, with playtime bookended by a hearty morning and afternoon feast of Nutro dog food presented in stainless-steel dishes or on the back of a interning cat. When the capering concludes, pups make their way to their private abodes to get a good night’s sleep atop orthopedic, chew-proof bedding. Owners can outfit dogs with a pack containing their own food, bedding, and toys if desired, allowing pups to revel in the sights and scents of home more effectively than scrapbooking their favorite bones.
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The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
The Priceless Parrot Preserve sounds like a jungle. The calls and conversations of more than 100 birds from 29 species form a symphony that strengthens social bonds. Well-behaved members of the flock greet visitors and play with toys hanging from the ceiling, whereas animals with behavioral issues—often the products of abuse or neglect—hang back, working with volunteers and founders Gene and Marietta Avery to grow and recover. As a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Gene provides medical care to the often malnourished birds and ensures that they receive a rich diet of nuts and fruit.
Gene and Marietta Avery founded The Priceless Parrot Preserve to care for neglected and abandoned exotic birds. Their goal is twofold: to educate the public about the birds both as pets and wild creatures, and to give a permanent home to mistreated and unwanted birds. The couple originally adopted the birds out of their own pockets, but formed their own preserve when confronted with the sheer number of birds in need. Today, they specialize in taking in larger birds such as macaws and cockatoos that demand more attention and other birds that might be considered unadoptable.
In two separate jump rooms furnished with up to four huge inflatables each, kids bound off bounce-house walls, slip down air-filled slides, and navigate energy-burning obstacle courses. When taking breaks from bouncing, they challenge each other to games of skee-ball, Dance Dance Revolution, and pinball in the game room, replete with a Wii lounge and ball blaster. Kids can invade the activity-filled fun house during open-play times or birthday parties, which include private party-room space, game tokens, and DVD slide shows of the festivities.