From Paragon Golf Center's multifaceted practice complex, Peter Yum improves pupils' swings by channeling wisdom accrued from a junior golf career and time spent under the tutelage of Tom Ness and Ben Doyle, two of golf’s most revered instructors. Peter dissects swings from the comfort of a covered 90-stall driving range with heaters, fans, and automated tee technology that raises golf balls onto hitting mats on command or in exchange for a shiny divot tool. While tweaking their swings, golfers can look at their reflection in stall-side mirrors, helping them better grasp Peter’s corrective advice on how to properly strike the ball or bedazzle their golf glove.
Star Zone Bowling keeps the competition rolling on each of its 24 lanes until at least 2 a.m. every night of the week. Clad in alley-approved footwear, teams cluster around one or two lanes to pepper scoreboards with a mélange of strikes, spares, and turkeys, dazzling onlookers with the flashy footwork and skillful tosses of ice-skating pizza-makers. A full-service snack bar soothes hunger pangs, as a game room brimming with arcade accouterments and a ball pit keeps visitors entertained between frames. Additionally, Star Zone Bowling boasts an onsite poker room, and a nightclub space, as well as an ample array of flat-screen TVs broadcasting touchdowns, home runs, and slow-motion replays of all British Parliamentary proceedings.
As impressive as the reconditioned, fully operational trains at Southeastern Railway Museum are, the trains that remain perfectly still may be even more spectacular. Where the former takes visitors on a pleasant ride and a offers a glimpse of railroading, the latter takes them into Georgia's past. There, visitors find glimpses of the state's burgeoning infrastructure: drive wheels taller than a car, dozens of antique locomotives and railway cars, and a restored 1871 passenger depot. One of the gems of this collection is the 1911 Pullman private car, Superb, which holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places for carrying both Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding. The collection also includes historic buses, fire fighting equipment, vintage cabs, along with one of the original people movers from the Atlanta airport. All of these fit into the museum's 35 acres—a large chunk of space, but just a blip when compared to the ground once covered by its displays.
Steel and steam aside, train enthusiasts can interact with the museum's subject matter in other ways. A variety of education programs are offered regularly for kids and the gift shop features train-themed hats, books, toys, and more. Rides are available on antique railroad cars year round—restored cabooses during the summer months and heated passenger cars during the winter—and are pulled behind a vintage locomotive. Riders can also hop aboard a park train, which returned to the rails in 2012 after 36 years of retirement from its original route at the Birmingham Zoo.
Like a firm refusal to stop wearing footie pajamas, the Dynamic Kids Expo is a statement in support of childhood. There, under the roof of the Gwinnett Convention Center, youngsters squeal with glee while hopping across the moon bounce, having their face painted with butterflies, and laughing at the exaggerated antics of clowns. A fun zone stocked video games and Spa-Kidz pampering services can ease away the stresses of recess while parents investigate the goods and services of exhibitors. These vendors sling wares for any age group and take all shapes, from a mural artist to highchair-organizer manufacturers to speech therapists. Special guests making appearances include Esther Caspino, a news anchor and celebrity chef, Atlanta Falcon's mascot Freddie Falcon, and a youth dance ensemble that’s been featured on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Proceeds from the event benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
It's rare to see dinosaurs in real life. It's even rarer to see them at the mall. But Gwinnet Place Mall patrons will see just that this summer, thanks to Fantasy Magic World, a pop-up amusement park composed of magical interactive exhibits. Beyond Dinosaur Land, whose dinos range from T-rexes to creatures no bigger than a turkey, there's plenty of other exhibits. An array of giant robots tower more than 25-feet tall and a mystical talking tree passes on wisdom, like which mall shop has polo shirts on sale. A team of Chinese acrobats put on regular shows at the amusement park, and the myriad carnival attractions range from inflatables to a ferris wheel, also known as a unicycle for brave people.
In the words of Pablo Picasso, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." The teachers at Pinot's Palette solve that problem with a bit of vine-grown inspiration. Held in studios equipped with ice buckets, corkscrews, and wine glasses, art classes encourage students to bring drinks and hors d'oeuvres to enjoy during the session. Stroke-by-stroke, pupils recreate either an original image selected or designed by their instructor, or a classic painting by the likes of Van Gogh. All classes include canvases, brushes, imaginary muses, and paints.