A PADI 5-star instructor-development center, Atlantis Outfitters offers the highest quality of support, equipment, and training for scuba divers during its four-hour Discover Scuba Diving class. The shop’s skilled staff of veteran divers will begin with a short academic session and demonstration before securely strapping their aquatic apprentices into fins, a mask, and a snorkel. Once you plunge into the safe, typically shark-free confines of a local indoor pool, you’ll practice techniques for exploring a watery world of fish that got away, singing whales, cartoon octopi playing rib bones like marimbas, and glacier sweat. The diving class can also be applied toward your diver’s certification; speak with your instructor if you’re interested in mastering the art of scuba.
Premier Flight Academy's team of certified flight instructors guide students through lessons in their FFA-approved simulator and a fleet of Diamond planes. Commencing the one-hour simulator session, students climb aboard an authentic flight-deck simulator equipped with dual controls, full-motion video, and fully-trained flight attendants to emulate an array of single- or twin-engine aircraft models. Students learn the controls, including a Garmin GPS, as they virtually practice approaching unfamiliar airfields and responding to scenarios such as flying with failed equipment. Simulators also create real-time weather conditions for cross-country flights, and enable guests to practice managing their crew in the event of interference from virtual hot-air balloon launches. Budding pilots begin their 1.5-hour flight training with a brief simulator run and an instruction session, followed by a journey in an actual plane. Instructors brief their protégés on aeronautical facts and theory, such as dynamics of flight, aerial safety, plane controls, and sudden changes in gravity, during ground training. After the ground training, student and instructor pairs strap into a United States Military training-approved Diamond plane, whose large canopies, slow flight speed, and easy handling allow for a safe hands-on experience. Guided by KLX135A or Garmin GPS systems and their instructors' knowledge, pupils take the controls and soar like eagles wearing jet packs over the countryside for 30 minutes of flight time.
Craft Akron is devoted to providing space and education for local lovers of all things handmade and crafty, and its stitch series and sewing series give aspiring seamsters and seamstresses 12 different classes from which to choose. Take an intro to machine sewing course ($35, two hours) and finally discover that the classic household contraption has other applications than Kafkaesque torture and taking up space on the dining room table. If you're already familiar with a sewing machine, you can take it a step closer to self-awareness with an intermediate machine course ($45, three hours) and gain the confidence needed to create a garment composed entirely of buttonholes. A hand embroidery course ($35 plus a $5 pattern fee, two hours) cuts down on rages against machines by teaching students how to manually gussy and garnish with gusto.
Urban Tactical Defense Center’s diverse team of trainers includes lifelong martial artists, former military personnel, and current police officers. Within the 8,000-square-foot facility—with two sparring rooms and a gym—these trainers pass on the self-defense and fitness techniques they acquired during their demanding careers to students of all ages, covering everything from defense tactics to proper firearms training. They rely on myriad approaches to boost health and self-confidence levels, imparting combat techniques during martial-arts and unarmed-combat classes; fending off calories in Combat Fitness Bootcamp courses; and bulking up entire bodies in circuit-training sessions. They even sprinkle meditation techniques from Chinese qi gong in some of their programs.
Alternatively, the staff leads youngsters through its own original MANTIS curriculum (Manage Any Nasty Trouble in School), acquainting them with tactics for dealing with bullies, teaching them self-defense moves, and hopefully giving them the strength to lift 12 action figures at once.
Michelle Alpern, an avid swimmer and Red Cross-certified lifeguard since high school, is the founder of the Kids and Infant Safety Swim (KISS) Swim Program. Tailoring lessons to each student’s needs, Michelle and staff lead sessions for infants, toddlers, kids, and adults, focusing on the swim-float-swim method in a fun, safe, and nurturing environment. She specializes in childhood education, and her training includes more than 175 hours of pool instruction, child psychology and physiology, and CPR and AED certifications.