At Great Play, kids are encouraged to break bottles—virtual ones, arranged on virtual shelves—in the center’s Interactive Arena. They are part of a hand-eye coordination game for kids, in which sensors track their “throws” and the computer-generated bottles projected onto the walls fall accordingly. Another version sees kids honing their throwing arms by aiming for an animated strike zone while a simulated crowd cheers.
But regardless of the specific games kids play on any given day in the 3,000-square-foot arena, each activity hews to the play center’s overall goal: to build kids’ motor skills and athletic abilities from an early age. Programs for younger kids focus on fundamentals, such as running, skipping, dodging, and tumbling. Meanwhile, athletic camps for older kids build skillsets that come in handy during pick-up games on the playground or at their first Olympic trials at age 3.
A motley collection of secure and sanitized play structures dominates each Catch Air location's indoor play arena to sate the lively imaginations of children as well as the safety concerns of their parents. Each of the four locations opens its doors seven days a week to unique lineups of attractions, including three-tiered castles covered in colorful nets and padding, with space shuttles attached to appease every child's love of anachronism. Tykes 12 and younger can wade through ball pits or take to an interactive, light-up dance floor to practice moves before they reach the age when practicing becomes embarrassing. The staff maintain a watchful eye at all times and clean every play structure daily before opening. Staffers also host parties to celebrate birthdays or the end of second-grade finals week.
Fitness Together is all about synergy. Specialized in one-on-one training, the center’s certified trainers design fitness programs that unite strength training, cardio routines, and nutrition plans that work together to catalyze weight loss. The plans’ strength-training component, dubbed Aspire 8, fuses resistance training and cross training to build solid core muscles without ever having to tear a phonebook in half. During Cardio Together regimens, the trainers get patrons’ heart rates pumping with a mix of aerobic workouts. Finally, the education-oriented Nutrition Together programs teach patrons how to make more healthy food choices, leading to a lifetime of nutritious eating habits.
A floating floor cushions heels at Daza Dance Ballroom Academy while overhead bulbs that shine like stars illuminate a flurry of foot tapping and twirling. Inside the spacious Buckhead studio, students set to work mastering the cha-cha in group classes, dipping a partner in private sessions, or choreographing a memorable first wedding dance. Professional instructors oversee lessons and participate in dance parties, which, unlike solitary-confinement cells, foster a social atmosphere to practice new moves.
Young Chefs Academy provides a fun, safe, and motivating environment for kids to become acquainted with the art of food and food presentation. Engaging chef instructors instill lessons of kitchen etiquette, safety, table setting, proper food handling, and more in youngsters who are growing up in a world full of laser can openers and pasta rakes. Classes vary at each location and educate a variety of age groups—with specially catered classes for the kindergarten elite (ages 3–5) and junior line cooks (around ages 6–11)—about basic food-prep skills for nutritional meals. Senior flambéists (teens and tweens) are offered advanced classes that dig deeper into kitchen secrets and hone specific skills and techniques that expand the parameters of cooking creativity. Check out the respective schedules for North Druid Hills, Sandy Springs, and Duluth to see what appeals to you.