In 1976, Joan Barnes—a California mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children's cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes for parents, newborns, and children under 1 year that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
Metro Dance Academy helps create a love of dance and cheerleading in students through a robust slate of classes. With a wide variety of classes for students of all skill levels, the instructors at Metro Dance Academy strive to help dancers grow as individuals and as a group by fostering a positive, encouraging atmosphere. The dance program offers a curriculum that spans jazz, tap, ballet, princess ballet, hip-hop, technique, musical theater, and contemporary dance. The dance schedule runs from September through June and culminates with an end of year recital in the spring.
Helping youngsters succeed in gymnastics comes as second nature for husband-and-wife coaching duo Rosen Manolov and Neli Manolova, whose own daughters, Rali and Iva, grew up practicing gymnastics under their direction and now lead classes at The U.S. Gymnastics Academy. Rosen?s stint as the men?s gymnastics coach for Bulgaria at the Sidney Olympics and Neli?s years of competing internationally are experiences they call upon while guiding aspiring gymnasts toward their personal goals, whether they be to join an Olympic team or to dramatically end conversations with back handsprings.
The U.S. Gymnastics Academy?s sprawling 13,000-square-foot facility provides enough elbow room for fledging flippers to flourish, and its in-ground trampolines, foam pits, and high-quality equipment ensure a safe and fruitful learning environment. The world-class coaches also host various fun and creative summer camps, where kids tumble, draw, and learn to build campfires by high-kicking kindling in rapid succession.
The acrobatic arm of the River Road Park and Recreation District, Gymnastics Northwest offers classes and parties for tumblers aged 18 months to 16 years. Reflex beams, rings, and an in-ground trampoline await first timers and intermediate students for weekly classes and events. Open-gym sessions run on Fridays for acrobats up to age 8, and Action Nights see junior jumpers aged 6?12 bound on the spring floor and feed the pommel horse every third Saturday of the month.
At Tilton's Gymnastics, founder Lori Tilton and a staff of instructors lead lads and ladies through the intricacies of floor-based gymnastics and tumbling exercises. Teachers make an effort to learn students? abilities and personality on an individual basis, using their intel to determine the most appropriate class for them. At their location, students caper and gambol in a supportive atmosphere free from competition or posters of B?la K?rolyi?s stern, uncompromising mustache.
The staff of fitness instructors at Endurafit Training Facility leads both group classes and private sessions designed to tone muscles and burn fat. The group classes feature full-body circuit-training routines with students performing 45–54 different exercises during each session. The private sessions include one-on-one training in addition to custom nutrition plans and monthly measurements.