Voted No. 4 in the Top 10 Birthday Chains for Kid Birthday Parties in 2010 by Parents magazine, Pump It Up pulses with inflatable play sets and actually encourages kids to bounce off the walls. Within the indoor playground, a stalwart staff oversees the neighborhood of bounce houses and air-filled playthings, such as a classic bounce castle and slick inflatable slide that cushions children's heartfelt reenactments of Cool Runnings. Throughout the week, families can pop in for open play, or tote along their own mini entourage for birthday-party packages complete with private rooms and complimentary invites. Parties come as straightforward packages or as themed events that place the birthday child in structured story adventures where they take on the role of a mighty and clever superhero or pirate captain that drank too much saltwater.
Shakespeare in the Park in Royal Oak bills itself as Michigan's only professional outdoor Shakespeare event, and for two remaining weekends this summer, the professional players will take to the open-air stage in a re-imagined version of the Bard's classic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The 1960s-styled production features a cast of actors that bring the 16th-century play to life through vibrant, sleek, Mod-motifs. The lawn-style seating of the outdoor theater allows visitors to bring blankets or lawn-chairs to enjoy the arts in casual, summer style, with free parking nearby. Water Works is offering a special August 6 performance of the production, specifically designed for the hearing-impaired, in which costumed members of TerpTheatre's shadow actors interpret the lines onstage while the action plays out.
A mid-Michigan institution since 1929, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra performs for more than 20,000 visitors every year. Music director and conductor Timothy Muffitt currently leads its roster of professional musicians in concerts that explore a variety of musical styles, including classical masterworks, a pops and chamber series, and brassy big-band engagements.
Wild Beaver Saloon's energetic staff dish out classic bar eats, selections from a full bar, and the occasional choreographed bar-top dance. Fun-filled evenings kick off with a slate of thin crust pizza such as pepperoni ($8.99) or three types of cheese ($7.99), while domestic beers ($3.25) sooth heated palates and gasping beer fish. Imported suds ($4.25) present varying tastes of foreign degree, pairing well with home favorites such as a signature chicken quesadilla, a triumvirate of chicken, melted cheese, and red onions ($7.99). Pairs of chili dogs ($5.99) and full racks of smoked ribs ($18.99) challenge hands to stay free of slippery sauces in preparation for games of pool or longest handshake contests.
As a benga beat pulses through the crowd, the Kenya Safari Acrobats defy gravity and the body's limitations as they leap through hoops, tumble from human towers, and limbo under bars. In one of their most famous and startling acts, a single performer stacks, climbs, and then balances on a single-file tower of rickety wooden chairs. Meanwhile, other performers juggle up to six straw hats, bend metal with their hands and teeth, or walk across a bed of nails. As artistic ambassadors of their native Kenya, the acrobats tie educational relevancy to their school performances in stories that highlight the importance of physical fitness, respect for elders and the true meaning of the Swahili phrase "hakuna matata," which The Lion King incorrectly translated as "get rich or die trying."
Music director Dr. Gregory Cunningham brings his agile baton-wielding skills to the podium of the Warren Symphony Orchestra for a second year. Teaming up with the Oakland Chorale—Oakland University's elite, competitive touring choral ensemble—the orchestra will usher in the holiday season with a program that awakens cheer in Yuletide lovers and Grinch collaborators alike. Selections from Handel's Messiah send the spirit soaring on famous choruses, and a slew of popular wintery tunes keeps the auditorium cozy as hot cocoa drunk from a hand-knit mitten.