Seven days a week, the Houston Museum of Natural Science cultivates knowledge with interactive exhibits that shuttle minds into such far-flung realms as tropical rainforests and outer space. Permanent exhibits house everything from the skeletons of brachiosauruses in the recently expanded Morian Hall of Paleontology to artifacts from ancient Egypt and the Americas. Housed inside three stories of glass, the museum's butterfly habitat teems with more than 1,500 winged wonders from around the globe, which frolic around a 50-foot waterfall, and flutter through exotic plants. Visitors can also gaze skyward in the Burke Baker Planetarium, which casts more than 10 daily shows with curve-mirror projection technology. Eyes marvel at the planetarium's 30'x18' full-dome digital theater, capable of transporting families to the aurora borealis in the Arctic Circle or to the nougat-flavored center of a black hole.
Most camp counselors can teach children how to tie-dye a T-shirt or braid a friendship bracelet. Very few, however, have experienced the exhilaration of vaulting into the end zone for a goal-line touchdown or intercepting a game-winning pass in front of thousands of rabid football fans. Across the country, Sports International Football Camps grant participants the opportunity to learn firsthand from professional athletes, whose gridiron battle scars have been forged by bell-ringing collisions with fearless opponents and reckless mascots on motorcycles.
Since 1983, the organization has partnered with veteran high-school coaches and pros, such as three-time Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes, All-Pro linebacker Brian Cushing, and Super Bowl champion–cornerback Terrell Thomas. In those years, the camp has schooled some 96,000 alumni, including current NFL quarterback Byron Leftwich. Coaches break campers into groups by age, position, and ability and run practices that are competitive yet fun and supportive. For in-depth focus on the specific techniques of skill-position players, the camp also offers special academies for passing and receiving as well as kicking, punting, long snapping, and cooler lifting for Gatorade victory showers.
Dance Du Coeur Sugar Land Dance Studio slims and tones bodies with customizable, indoor boot-camp classes held on a morning and evening schedule within a gleaming, 6,000-square-foot facility. Instructors lead one-hour workouts that can be modified for various fitness levels to challenge the body from head to toe and tone flabby shadows. The course eschews weight training in favor of exercises designed to strengthen the core and confuse muscles into better shape. Students do not need to take classes consecutively; they can drop in any time boot-camp classes are held.
Stomping Grounds Playland is many things at once. Part play center, coffee bar, and restaurant, its target demographic spans generations, all of whom should find plenty to do within its 7,000 square-foot facility or 2,000 square-foot playscape. A play structure delights kids with obstacles and colorful tunnels, and an expanded toddler area keeps the youngest visitors occupied. To fuel this fun, the onsite Brewster's Caf? serves up kid favorites such as hot dogs and mac and cheese.
However, the caf? has even more options for adults?not to mention a dining area with free WiFi. Baristas pour cappuccino, organic chai tea, and specialty espresso drinks such as white-chocolate mochas. These caffeinated treats complement an array of signature sandwiches and salads. Stomping Grounds Playland also caters to parents with comprehensive party packages; party planners take care of everything, including food, activities, and all the paperwork required to receive a birthday wish.
Pieces by local artists, yoga demonstrations looping on a flat-screen TV, and comfy furniture all line the sun-soaked lobby at Bikram Yoga Sugar Land. The waiting area exudes the same soothing vibes students find inside the studio, where teachers lead 90-minute yoga sessions. Each class consists of 26 postures and two breathing exercises, which pupils of all ages and body types enact in a room heated between 105 and 107 degrees. The heat helps bodies stretch during the intensive cardiovascular workout, which burns calories, melts away stress, and increases flexibility.
If that sounds overwhelming, don't fret??the studio hosts beginner's classes several times a day, and supplies helpful info for first timers. Bikram Yoga Sugar Land even offers courses for kids, special-needs children, and babysitting for moms. Once class lets out, students can enjoy one of the studio's relaxing spa treatments, which range from massage therapy to organic facials.
What began as a small studio with five enthusiastic dance students has transformed into a full-fledged company that's educated thousands and won multiple awards along the way—including a Certificate of Congressional Recognition. Today, Strictly Street Salsa has a whole team of instructors that has danced its way across the likes of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Spain, and Rome and is ready to introduce students to new cultures through the art of dance. The studio offers classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced dancers in both salsa and tango and hosts dance workshops that blend Latin dance with various cultural elements, including African movement, gypsy music, and good old-fashioned American screaming.