When illegally trafficked animals are confiscated from the hands of poachers, they get sent to the safe haven of STAR Eco Station. The dynamic facility serves as a rescue center for these at-risk animals, while also educating youth as an environmental science museum. First-time visitors meet, touch, and learn about the center’s latest crop of exotic animal guests, including spiders, pythons, rare insects, and parrots. STAR Eco Station advocates “preservation through education,” and teaches visiting field trips or groups through unique events such as an all-you-can-eat bug buffet and their Bag Monster, a sculpture made out of the plastic bags used in one year by the average American consumer. Recognized on the state and national level for its philanthropic and educational work, STAR Eco Station is part of the larger STAR Education network, supporting after-school and cultural-enrichment programs for more than 500 schools in 61 districts.
From hand-selecting all of the restaurant's produce at a local farmers' market to testing recipes to ensure authenticity, the owner of My Thai Table influences every dish that emerges from the kitchen. Each platters carry an additional personal touch from the chefs, whose close ties to Phetchabun, Thailand ensure that their entrees simmered, stir-fried, and spiced according to the country’s culinary traditions. Noodle staples such as pad thai and pad see ew accompany four types of curry and three kinds of fried rice, as well as signature house specialties such as shish kabobs that bookend beef, shrimp, and chicken with mushrooms and pineapples.
A chic lounge attached to the dining area beckons guests to recline on sky blue ottomans and benches. The square tables set throughout the space play host to glasses of Napa Valley wines and frothy bottles of imported Chang and Singha beers. During private events, the rhythms of smooth jazz float from the restaurant’s live ensemble, enticing passersby to glance through the floor-to-ceiling windows and try to catch the echoes of a fading bass line with their bare hands. Starting December 20, customers can revel in live jazz every Thursday from 6—9 p.m.
Founded with the goal of bolstering childhood development via confidence- and fitness-boosting programs, Tricks Gymnastics, Dance, and Swim's team of instructors keeps kids of all ages active and engaged via a host of high-energy classes. The highly skilled and friendly crew works hard to foster a nurturing environment within each class, keeping a close eye on the kids while teaching them new skills via positive reinforcement and recognition of effort. All three locations offer dance classes that introduce preschool Baryshnikovs to the world of movement and grant school-aged pupils a chance to explore various styles ranging from ballet to jazz to ballroom hokey pokey.
Meanwhile, experienced coaches man gymnastics programs designed to combat inactivity and encourage healthy lifestyles. Young ones aged 0–5 burn excess energy and hone flexibility during Tumblebunny classes, and big kids build strength and character thanks to both noncompetitive and competitive programs. A variety of special events include date nights that enable parents to sneak off for an evening of fun while their progeny plays at the gym. The Folsom location further fortifies its kinetic curriculum with swim programs focused on teaching pupils the essentials of water safety and basic swimming techniques. Paddlers grouped into classes by age hop into the crystalline pool, splashing about in waters kept at a balmy 89 degrees to ward off loitering snowflakes.
With dozens of locations sprinkled around the sunshine state, California Sun makes it easy for tanners to bronze without fear of sunburn. As sunless bathers daydream within two levels of Ergoline beds, melanin rises to the skin's surface at the beck and call of a high-pressure cooling system or adjustable face tanners, leaving bodies with a golden glow in just 10–12 minutes. For those who prefer the misty kiss of a sunless spray tan, formulas by VersaSpa, Mystic Tan, or Norvell grace guests with new shades that can last from four to seven days and won't leave skin looking unnaturally orange or supernaturally blue.
The press certainly likes California Family Fitness, granting the exercise venue such awards as a top spot on KCRA-3's 2012 A-List and Sacramento News and Review's Best of Sacramento 2012 Award. The press, however, isn't the top priority for the gym's staff; they believe that, to quote their about CFF page, “awards don't greet you at the door.” Instead, they depend upon their dedicated staffers at the front desk, chaperones at the Kidz Club play zone, and personal trainers to make families of clients feel at home. Certified personal trainers take aspiring exercisers of all ages through regimens that make use of the 16 available locations' ample workout machinery. Seasoned instructors, meanwhile, hold group fitness classes, free with a membership, fostering community as they incinerate calories during high-energy Zumba, step aerobics, Turbo Kick, and Hip Hop Hustle. Nine of the locations boast pools that host swim lessons taught by certified water-safety instructors.
While hitting the gym, parents can drop wee ones at childcare havens lined with playgrounds and age-appropriate investment manuals. After breaking a sweat on the exercise floor, clients can also shed excess body moisture in saunas and tanning beds.