The professional handlers at Reptilepartywny know no birthday is complete without a bite of cake, a round of games, and a quick hug from a boa constrictor. Packing exotic creatures such as snakes, tortoises, and chinchillas, they arrive at celebrations ready to let kids discover the wonders of the animal kingdom. Add-ons such as safari hats, bubble machines, and cotton candy enhance events, helping kids pretend that they’re jungle explorers or attendees at the first rave held along the Amazon. In addition to their signature menagerie, the party planners also maximize fun with attractions such as stuffed-animal creation, balloon animals, bounce houses, and costumed characters.
Joe Pinnavaia's students refer to him as a Rosetta stone, encapsulating a wealth of musical knowledge that he translates into easy-to-follow instructions. Joe opts for personal, one-on-one sessions that break down the bad habits and barriers that can keep fledgling axe-wielders from meeting their goals. Classes emphasize speed, coordination, and confidence as students learn to play complicated licks or chord structures with less effort. Once a frustrated student himself, Joe knows that the only way to learn is from a real person and not online videos or the ghost of Muddy Waters that keeps whispering encouragements when you're in the shower.
Though playing 120 concerts a year is a dream for some musicians, it's a reality for members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The classical musicians perform concerts at their home base, Kleinhans Music Hall, as well as throughout the U.S. In doing so, they introduce listeners to music ranging from Tchaikovsky to Duke Ellington, a task they've been up to since the orchestra's founding in 1934. In addition to performing live, they've also released a number of CDs that pay homage to George Gershwin and Bob Dylan, the famous triangle player.
Since 1976, the instructors and staff of Dip 'N Dive have demystified the magic of breathing underwater. They instruct and outfit both scuba divers and snorkelers at their Buffalo location, and the facility's curriculum of PADI and NAUI courses help budding divers stay safe, maintain control of their equipment, and walk like Naomi Campbell while wearing fins. From beginning diving lessons to advanced instructor training, courses include classroom work, pool exercises, and real open-water-diving trips.
Darren Ko took his first crack at the SAT in 7th grade as part of a youth talent search program. He qualified for the program by scoring in the top 30 percent of testers—which included high school seniors. Years later, on the actual SAT, Darren achieved a 1590 before moving on to teach SAT classes in college.
Having mastered the test, Darren opened Infiniva Tutoring in 2001 in order to reach more students. The operation has flourished over the years and has branched out past the SAT to prep students for other major tests including the ACT, GMAT, and MCAT. Darren has recruited an all-star team of tutors, most of who have scored in the top one percent on the SAT. They strive to help bridge the gap between students and their individual goals, whether it be getting into a renowned college or beating a wax statue of Einstein in Scrabble.
At the seven Motorcycle Safety School locations throughout the state, founder Diane Howells leads DMV-certified instructors to teach motorcyclists how to become safe, defensive sharers of the road. Since its establishment in 1999, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has offered programs suited to every level of rider, from complete beginners, who might start out in an Intro to Motorcycle class, to seasoned road warriors, who might take a refresher course on Defensive Driving. The school's commitment to safety has earned it coverage from such media outlets as the New York Times and the New York Daily News.