At its two Columbia locations, Plex Indoor Sports aims to provide complete indoor recreation with artificial-turf fields, ice arenas, inflatables, basketball courts, family entertainment center, and full-service cafe. Both facilities offer after-school programs providing access to soccer, football, and lacrosse programs, ensuring that children learn the proper techniques required to work toward goals and play safely. Total-fitness classes are also available throughout the week, highlighting invigorating methods such as yoga, Zumba, and hip-hop aerobics. The Sandhills location hosts a roller-skating rink, and the Irmo location houses an NHL regulation-sized ice rink with public skate times in between hockey games and practice sessions of the local ice-fishing team.
A 30-foot rock-climbing wall towers over the Family Entertainment Center, granting visitors an elevated view of a facility packed with wall-to-wall inflatables and family activities. Visitors can roller skate, set new high scores at the arcade, or attempt to stay atop a mechanical bull. Other attractions include bungee jumping, a rock-n-roll ride, and more.
Measuring 6,074 yards from the tips, the course at The Club at Rawls Creek doesn't demand extreme distance off of the tee to score well—but it will challenge golfers' short game and putting skills. Installed in 2006, the course's mini-verde Bermuda grass greens create an ultra-fast surface, requiring a touch more delicate than a headcover made from a pink feather boa. The layout also features numerous par-threes with elevated tees, where tee shots drop as much as 60 feet to reach the flagstick.
After their round draws to a close, golfers can refuel at the Creekside Grille. There, four flat-screen TVs broadcast the day's sporting events, and porch seating lets guests look out onto the grounds and discover constellations from the divots in the grass.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,074 yards from the tips * Four tee options
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden garnered a "Best Day Trip" award from Charlotte magazine in 2009 for its copious collection of exotic and endangered animals that captures the majesty and variety of the wild. Explorers of all ages journey through nine locales that artfully recreate natural habitats, encountering ring-tailed lemurs, slender-tailed meerkats, and tale-spinning birds who sing of their raucous college days. When it's time to smell the roses, adventurers may cool their heels in one of five botanic gardens, each representative of a different plant group. Budding zoologists and their families may engage in animal demonstrations and discover the keys to keeping rattlesnakes or learn that giraffes, unlike their animal cookie cousins, love being fed.
Fueled by the impassioned teachings of owner Diane Barnes, MindBody Health & the Mindful Living Studio bolsters well being with holistic education, including mini retreats that explore such topics as nutrition and balanced mind-body connections. Cultivating the Garden of Health allows attendees to begin the year anew without bribing Dick Clark to count down from 10 by covering a number of methods for integrating holistic living skills into everyday routines.
Certified professional photographer Gene Taylor has fine-tuned his artistic vision while working in photojournalism and portrait photography for more than 30 years. During classes at Your Photo Safari, Gene introduces students to the photographic arts and the workings of DSLR cameras. Sessions begin in classroom settings, allowing students to get acquainted with camera basics as well as advanced features such as setting white balance and reducing blur. After learning how to navigate the multiple settings and buttons on their digital cameras, students traipse to area gardens to explore the natural world through their lenses. The hands-on experience allows students to take home artfully composed shots of plants bathed in natural light or trees planking over riverbanks in a bid for Internet fame.
With more than 35 years of kid-entertaining experience, the friendly staff at The Little Gym provide a safe and fun locale where kids can stay active in a nurturing and non-competitive environment. Visiting youngsters glean skills and confidence while participating in hands-on activities that help enhance emotional, intellectual, and social skills. During classes full of physical activity, 4 to 12 year olds can learn to focus minds and bodies through the art of karate; 3 to 12 year olds learn to summon rain and showers of candy through dance. When four consecutive weeks of engaging exercises have left young ones yearning for more, the annual membership allows for eleven more months of exploration and growth. Gymnastics, sports skills, and parent/child classes for babies are also offered. Check the schedules for Columbia and Lexington for availability and call ahead for reservations.