In 1972, when most other 7-year-olds were building their baseball-card and bottle-cap collections, Jay Villemarette began collecting skulls. His lifetime hobby evolved into a full-time vocation in 1990 after he opened Skulls Unlimited, a one-of-a-kind bone-replica shop that earned the limelight on popular TV shows such as Dirty Jobs and Ripley's Believe It or Not!. By 2010, Jay's widespread success led him to establish the Museum of Osteology, which currently houses the largest privately held collection of osteological specimens in the world, with more than 300 skeletons and, most importantly, zero zombie sightings to date.
Education abounds throughout the 7,000-square-foot space as visitors investigate rare species, skulls, and skeletons from all corners of the world. The form and function of the skeletal system weave a common thread through each of the museum's exhibits, which showcase topics such as adaptation, locomotion, and specific categories of animals, including marsupials, birds, and reptiles. After exploring displays and begging skeletons for their teeth-whitening regimen, interim osteologists can visit the gift shop, where souvenirs, toys, and replicas of museum models are available to start personal collections.
In 2005, Jason Williams and Ken Faught assembled a team of experienced racers and designers to create the driving experience at Pole Position Raceway. Williams, a motocross racer since 1984, and Faught, a three-time land-speed record holder at the Bonneville Salt Flats, recruited professional drivers Kurt Busch and Jeremy McGrath to help their engineers. They reimagined every detail of the track from the ground up, creating indoor courses that balance the grip of asphalt with the swervy fun of polished, concrete slick tracks. Pole Position?s Formula EK20 Pro Karts rumble over the track powered by 18-horsepower motors (nearly triple that of average gas karts), which reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour without filling the temperature-controlled arenas with fumes.
After the first Pole Position Raceway opened in Corona, California, it soon spawned 14 locations stretching to the Atlantic. Technicians maintain the fleet via handheld computers, and top drivers are regularly sent out to evaluate karts? handling and reading comprehension. During races, up to 12 guests compete in contests that last about 10 minutes.
Pirates Cove Scuba's certified instructors imbue beginning or advanced pupils with the requisite knowledge and techniques for plunging beneath aquatic surfaces and stock a full selection of dive equipment to help them to breathe easier while below. After briefings expound on what participants should expect when underwater, one-hour introductory courses gradually familiarize students with navigating H2O while wearing scuba gear before they explore the unseen depths and sunken pool-noodle wrecks of Pirates Cove Scuba's pool.
Open-water certifications expand on introductory knowledge with further classroom and pool study. Full-certification-seekers conclude schooling during scheduled weekend lake trips, which include four dives in open-water environments that, if properly performed, earn former novices final certification and congratulatory smooches from impressed catfish. To keep divers submerging in style, Pirates Cove Scuba carries equipment from Dive Rite, Henderson, and Seadive, which aquanauts can don on trips to Cozumel and other tropical destinations booked through the dive shop's travel desk.
After building a successful inflatable-delivery business, the family that owns and operates Bouncin Craze Delivery decided to open two locations where their air-filled attractions remained permanently fixed to the ground?Bouncin Craze and Bouncin Craze II. There, kids experience the thrill of the bounce on boat-, slide-, and superhero-shaped inflatables that staffers regularly sanitize to prevent the spread of germs. While kids challenge gravity and explore the game room, parents access free WiFi and nosh on items from the snack bar, or brush up on their air hockey at the complimentary tables.
Families celebrate birthdays or their toddler?s first successful juggling routine within the centers' private party rooms, which can be decorated with balloons that are conveniently available in-house. The Oklahoma City location's Art in Craze also allows families to create masterpieces together using nontoxic paint, stamps, and play-doh.
In 1981, the founders of Mademoiselle Figure and Fitness opened the doors to their gym with a vision for it to become a place where women can get away from everyday life and focus on their fitness. Today, the staffers continue to support their female members’ fitness goals at two locations. Every member is assigned to a trainer who can meet with them for personal training sessions at no extra charge. As an added measure, trainers will give clients a call, e-mail, or smoke signal encouraging them to stay on track if they haven’t shown up at the gym in a while.
Both locations have heated pools where members can take Aqua Zumba and other water-based classes or do laps before relaxing in the whirlpool, steam room, or sauna. The trainers also lead Zumba, step, and other workouts on land. In addition to an indoor track, the gyms stock strength and cardio equipment from Precor, Life Fitness, Nautilus, and Cybex. After working out or stopping in for a session on the vibration platforms or tanning beds, members can pick up their kids from the babysitting area.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros; the Beginning Digital Photography course teaches students to harness the intricacies of their instruments, and the Pro Academy offers inside tips on how to successfully snap wedding portraits, pose recent grads, or tease out candid emotions. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.