The coaching staff at D1?which is co-owned by professional athletes such as NFL player Peyton Manning, MLB player Chipper Jones, and NFL player Philip Rivers?refuses to discriminate between professional athletes and everyday exercisers. They scale the strength-and-cardio workouts of their group boot-camp classes and one-on-one intensive courses to individual abilities, bringing out the best in each student regardless of his or her workout history.
The typical D1 gym houses modern indoor turf fields with adjoining weight rooms, giving instructors the space to invent expansive obstacle courses that may require students to lift tires or tug 747s. In the boot-camp program, coaches meet with students one-on-one to discuss progress and find ways to improve. Each facility also houses a sports-therapy clinic, where expert therapists ease muscle injuries through rehabilitation programs and strength-restoring exercises.
At Vestavia Bowl Family Fun Center, kids are encouraged to knock things over. The staff strives to spread a passion for bowling through various youth incentives, from organized leagues to the Kids Bowl Free promotion—a system that awards children complimentary games to take up summer free time. The staff even lends out kits to area P.E. teachers as part of the In-School Bowling Program, furnishing classes with balls, pins, carpeted lanes, and lengthy lesson plans on how to find the ball's finger holes.
By tutoring youngsters in bowling techniques, the center hopes to instill the same fondness for the sport held by its managerial team. Certified bowling coach Keith Henderson heads the pack of competitive players—many of whom boast sanctioned 300 games on their records—and oversees 34 lanes equipped with computers and overhead scoring monitors. For an ethereal gaming environment, black lights illuminate the lanes during select hours and birthday parties. Guests can also test their dexterity at pool tables and arcade games. Meanwhile, the snack bar preps burgers, hot dogs, and wings to pair with draft beers; patrons can even take advantage of Eat & Bowl specials, which offer a combo meal and two games for one price.
Magic City Ballroom Dance Studio's experienced instructional feet ignite the dance floor with a variety of lessons that demystify the art of rhythmic motion for dancers of all skill levels. Dance styles such as the tango, mambo, and samba infuse hips with infectious Latin rhythms while the Viennese Waltz, the fox trot, and the lindy step add pizzazz to wedding dances or an expressive trip down the produce aisle. Not content to only host energetic classes, the studio also supports one-day dance competitions, inviting dancers to show off their hard work for a chance at prizes and statues of bronzed jazz hands.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts more than 1,800 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they?re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness?s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
More than 12,000 different plants line the meandering paths of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Spread across its 67.5 acres and more than 25 gardens are 30+ works of outdoor sculptures on display, making it one of the largest collections of public horticulture in the US. Between walks in the gardens, guests can relax in a Japanese garden with a traditional teahouse, and kids can opt into one of the educational programs to understand the science behind botany.
The botanical gardens also host events year round, such as antique shows, plant sales, and cocktail parties, so that the plants don't get bored and fall asleep. Additionally, the lecture series brings in big names and novelists to discuss their trade and put on shows for the garden's visitors.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.