When Kandace Martin and her husband began their weekend business of renting inflatable jump houses for children's parties, they dreamed of being their own bosses on a full-time basis and having more control over their busy schedules. As luck would have it, their collection of bouncers, wet and dry slides, and obstacle courses became so in-demand that they were booked every weekend—prodding the couple to finally quit their day jobs and focus on bounce houses full time. A few months later, they expanded their business model by setting up permanent, air-filled residence inside an 8,000-square-foot building. Hoppity Hop Inflatables' indoor playground hosts nine inflatable obstacles for sock-footed kids to climb, bounce, and slide on. A 15-foot slide introduces children to the nonpunitive aspects of the law of gravity, which is further explored by walking the plank of the pirate-ship-themed bouncer. Toddlers, meanwhile, romp in an exclusive area filled with soft toys and miniature bounce house. Free wireless internet access keeps adults occupied, and the snack bar fills bellies with a vast selection of concessions, including chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and pizza.
Amid the sprawling halls of Hendersonville Expo Center, outdoor enthusiasts wend through upwards of 100,000 square feet of displays helmed by thousands of local and regional purveyors of outdoor recreational equipment for land and sea. Fleets of RVs and personal watercrafts sit patiently as visitors daydream about future fresh air adventures or daring action movies they could film aboard the crafts. An onsite food court prevents stomachs from interrupting leisurely strolls through the show with whining growls.
For baseball fans looking for a serious environment to improve their skills, 3-6-5 Baseball Academy offers a 6,000-square-foot full-turf facility, as well as instructors who have all played at either the collegiate or professional level. Practicing baseball is as American as apple pie or as Dutch as appleflappen, which is why the gooey center of 3-6-5 Baseball Academy contains the indoor batting cages, pitching mounds, and the ProBatter Pitching Simulator. The simulator uses video effects to accurately mimic the feeling of batting against a Major League pitcher—without the hassle of cussing matches and an umpire whispering dark secrets in your ear.
Fighting Spirit Karate and Fitness specializes in competition USA-NKF Karate and Functional Fitness. As a member of the US Olympic Committee, Sensei Joe Valdez prepares all ages for olympic-style karate competition. As a certified trainer and MD, he directs functional fitness classes that include non-traditional methods.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level?starting as young as 6 months?and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6 to 9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Surveyor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Commissioner for Indian negotiations??plenty of obligations kept General Daniel Smith away from home for long stretches. When time off presented itself, however, he retreated to Rock Castle. Starting in 1784, Daniel built the limestone abode himself over an 11-year period; his family remained there well into the 20th century. The oldest building listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Middle Tennessee, the rechristened Historic Rock Castle now houses numerous authentic period items, from quills to china. On the house's 18-acre property, meanwhile, visitors can hike wooded trails, explore an aromatic herb garden, or gaze upon Old Hickory Lake, the only body of water that can also smoke bacon. The grounds likewise host year-round events, from weddings and live music to historical reenactments.