In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers 4 months old–12 years old with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
Though guests to Island Waterpark might meet humans on their way to the water, they might also encounter Pelican Pete—a giant blue pelican in a floral-print shirt and bermuda shorts. He and an athletic lifeguard staff oversee guests as they wander among fountains and roaring water in attractions designed for everyone from toddlers to adults. Bright-blue tube slides spiral down into splash pools, a giant bucket tips gallons of water onto passersby, and a three-story open slide sends riders on a straight shot into a landing zone that pads their descent with a foot of water and a coral reef packaged in bubble wrap. Aquatic revelers can also float down an endless lazy river and children can frolic under arching fountains and waterfalls in the kids key largo lagoon.
Since 1955, the Rotary Storyland and Playland have sparked young imaginations and earned a place in the hearts of multiple generations. At Playland, classic amusement-park rides, such as a ferris wheel, tilt-o-whirl, and a historic carousel, induce merriment and occasional regret over eating multiple corn dogs immediately before boarding. In the center of Playland lies Splash Junction, a free place for patrons to cool off on hot days under jets of water. Across the lake, Storyland takes a different approach to fun, populating its grounds with themed playground equipment inspired by classic tales, such as the legend of King Arthur and the lesser-known story of Jack and Jill starting a bottled-water business.
CrossFit Combat Fitness coaches, armed with degrees in kinesiology and exercise science, lead workouts designed to enhance their clients’ agility, endurance, and speed inside a 2,100-square-foot facility. Each session focuses on different exercises; sometimes participants toss 20-pound balls, sometimes they flip giant tractor tires, haul 80-pound kegs, or spring from a standstill to leap atop stacked plyo boxes. Coaches customize workouts so participants are asked to do only what they can physically handle. Classes are scheduled five days a week, and on off days athletes can hit the open gym or stay home and read the dictionary, whichever they prefer.
The FAA-certified instructors at Future Eagles Aviation put clients behind the controls of actual aircraft as they teach them the ins and outs of aviation. Students amass skills such as navigation and cockpit familiarity on the ground in adventure flight school before lifting off in a Cessna 172 training aircraft for 30 minutes of flight time. Kids can also take to the sky during Future Eagles Aviation’s youth aviation summer camp, a weeklong foray into the world of cloud skimming and Peter Pan mimicry during which kids aged 10 and older practice on simulators and log real flight hours in training aircraft.
Narrow fairways and small greens shape the layout at Airways Municipal Golf Course, an 18-hole course carved in the shadows of Fresno Yosemite International Airport. Tree lines and sand traps add scenic impediments to errant shots, and slick putting surfaces make for testy putts once golfers make it to the green. Before rounds, golfers can rehearse their swing at the on-site driving range.