Since 1972, Spare Time Clubs has evolved into a 10-club, full-service family sports club company that includes programs for both adults and children. Each location varies in size—some boasting multiple complexes—and houses amenities such as lighted tennis courts, pools, kids’ play areas, and fitness centers. At the Diamond Hills and El Dorado Hills locations, members can shine up in the onsite European spas, and the jewel of the Gold River club is a lighted stadium court encircled by a 5,000 square-foot observation deck. In the event of inclement weather or courts being overrun by ball-chasing dogs, players can schedule time at the dedicated indoor-tennis center, where eight fully sectioned-off, championship courts glow under the power of tournament-level lighting. World-class coaches develop kids’ court skills at the junior tennis academy, students of which can practice with an unlimited number of sessions at any of Spare Time’s other clubs.
At thebodybar(re), Barre classes fuse Pilates-based floor workouts with movements performed at the ballet barre which help participants burn calories during bouts of interval training, while increasing flexibility and toning muscles. The space is located inside Full Throttle Fitness, where kids and adults can accelerate their quests for fitness through hard work and focused instruction.
Tearing into a perfectly charred, sauce-covered rack of ribs satisfies the stomach, and the knowledge that you made them yourself feeds the soul. Students can do just that in classes held by the nonprofit organization California BBQ Association, which shares all of its proceeds with children’s charities throughout the state. The course catalogue includes beginner and advanced classes led by pit masters such as Ric Gilbert, an inductee to the association’s hall of fame, and Harry Soo, a contestant from the first season of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters. Fees cover the equipment and food needed to prepare dishes, freeing students from having to stop at a barbecue-sauce river and fill up some water bottles on their way to class.
The staff at American Visions Art Gallery know that shopping for artwork can be intimidating. So when customers fall in love with a piece at the Sutter Street shop, they can bring it home, hang it up, and continue to stare at it for up to 48 hours before making a final decision. It's all part of the gallery’s at-home trial system, which enables clients to make sure a piece fits in with their decor and won't come to life at night. They can test-drive pieces from a vast selection that includes originals and limited-edition work from 60 artists, and special receptions allow prospective collectors to rub elbows with one of the shop's featured artists between bites of light hors d'oeuvres. The shop also provides framing services for a range of personal pieces, and curates a curriculum of paint-and-sip workshops, where novice brushstrokes are steadied by a complimentary glass of wine.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level?starting as young as 6 weeks?and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6 to 9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Art teacher Kimberly Godinho sees her studio as a haven for students who might be otherwise afraid of exploring their artistic sides. Her background includes earning her bachelor degree in fine arts, and her current work as a professional artist underscores her expertise. Heartened by friends and wine, visitors of all experience levels follow Kimberly’s instructions to brush up the chosen project, which may include wine glass tableaus, pastoral landscapes, and the inky insides of a camera’s lens cap. All materials are included with each class, including canvas, paints, and smocks.