At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The town of Brookside owns Five Mile Creek Canoe & Company, which works from a philosophy that nature is a splendor to be shared by all people. Five Mile not only grants access to a bonanza of camping and canoeing activities—such as bench pressing a canoe—it gives patrons the opportunity to control their own adventures. The campground presents enough activity opportunities to keep patrons busy throughout the day, including a playground, a 2-mile walking track, and a swimming hole.
When patrons want to set out on watery expeditions, they carry their own boats down to the creek and steer their vessels from beginning to end. After pushing past the shallow waters, canoes paddlers can traverse up to 26 miles of gently flowing creek lined on either side by a row of trees. These leaf havens obscure guests from the curious eyes of civilization, chipmunks, and Bigfoot's cousin, Steve. Before they hit the water, helpful staff members can give demonstrations to those with little paddling experience. They can also organize group floats for social paddlers.
Established in 1954 and having garnered the Birmingham magazine 2010 award for Best Dance Classes, Dale Serrano Dance Inc. and its troupe of talented instructors lead children of all skill levels, aged 2–18, in classes ranging from jazz and ballet to hip-hop, tap, and cheer. Budding ballerinas gracefully plié and gallivant about the class, and musical-theater mavens learn the ins and outs of stage performance. Dancers who commit to additional months of vigilant rehearsal and practice can showcase their talents at the year-end recital or opt for impromptu performances at nearby weddings and city-council investitures.
A hardwood maple skating rink shines beneath the glow of neon lights at Funtime Skate Center. In the middle of the rink, a checkered zone invites beginners to get a feel for their wheels as experienced skaters make laps around the rink's outer edge. The rink also does double duty on select days, hosting the Tragic City Rollers as they slingshot and skate their way toward victory and the pride that comes with never wearing shoes. In addition to skating and snacking at the on-site Funtime Café, the center houses four party rooms primed for birthday parties large or small. And, on Friday and Saturday nights, cosmic lighting and sound effects transform the facility into a world of wonderment and gossip-worthy handholding.
Helmed by an by ex-military parachute-regiment veteran who holds three World Skydiving Championship medals, the United States Parachute Association-certified instructors at Skydive Alabama fly customers up to heights of 14,000 feet for solo and tandem dives. The skydiving center supplies oxygen for these jumps, and conducts both ground schools and eagle-impersonation classes to get first-timers and experienced divers ready for their aerial plunges. Instructors take up to 18 participants to the height of the drop zone in a Grand Caravan turboprop plane, from which they free fall for more than one minute, either by themselves or securely fastened to an instructor. A professional videographer can also join visitors on each jump to capture the aerial experience.
In accelerated free-fall programs, instructors lead students through a ground school, up to seven flights with instructors, and several solo jumps, allowing them to earn their USPA diving license without having to compete a multiple-choice test inside a wind tunnel. While every dive takes place in the designated drop zone, ground-school classes are held inside the airport's dedicated hangar. The airport complex also boasts four cabins for overnight stays, a spectator area, and a restaurant where chefs serve up Southern comfort fare.
Excelling in hands-on seasonal entertainment, The Great Pumpkin Patch introduces youngsters and their accompanying adults to a fun, multihued environment packed with spring activities. Hop on a covered wagon with familial constituents and meander toward a nearby field laden with colorful Easter eggs and tax-preparing cottontails. Kids receive 10 surprise eggs before being whisked off to the inflatable park, ideal for bouncing on buoyant apparatuses while contemplating the space-time continuum. Take to the petting zoo for a meet-and-greet with the establishment's four-legged residents, or board a train for ultimate atmosphere perusal. After exploring the grin-inducing grounds, guests can visit the country store to purchase treats.