At Pottery Hollow, kids and adults alike find inspiration to create ceramic works of art from a fanciful story about a potter in need of an apprentice to help him and his fairy friends adorn ceramic mugs, platters, and knickknacks with colorful paint. Guests enter the potter's enchanted hollow—complete with twisted tree trunks and brightly colored chairs—to work on the unpainted pieces stored deep beneath the forest. While guests create their masterpieces, staffers keep them supplied with paints and brushes and take finished pieces to be baked in the kiln.
In addition to walk-in sessions, Pottery Hollow's three locations host parties and events such as mommy-and-me sessions, bridal showers, and corporate events. And on Friday nights until 9 p.m., ladies can create beautiful works of art while sipping on their favorite BYOB drinks. Staffers also craft custom pieces in less than a week, which can be given as gifts, kept as future heirlooms, or offered as sacrifices to the home-decor gods.
• For $63, new members get a two-month household metro membership plus joining fee (a $252 total value). • For $42, new members get a two-month adult metro membership plus joining fee (a $166 total value). • For $15, current members get $30 toward a class or program.
At The Great American Diving Company, swimmers and scuba enthusiasts plunge into a 10-foot-deep, custom-built training pool heated to a balmy 85 degrees. Under the guidance of PADI-certified instructors, students in Discover Scuba sessions learn to breathe and explore beneath the surface, opening the doors to continue underwater education and obtain certification or finally put to rest a fear of really big puddles. Divers can gear up for their next expedition in the shop, and the staff also leads scuba trips to diving locales.
24 Hour Fitness keeps its doors open day and night so members can sculpt bodies and fitness goals on their own time with a potpourri of group classes, cardio equipment, free weights, athletic courts, and an indoor-lap pool. Armed with a 30-day membership to the recently opened Houston Rice Village Club, gym-goers kick off fresh workout routines with a complimentary fitness orientation filled with advice from personal trainers on health goals, how to use equipment, and how to interpret nightmares of being chased by dumbbells. Add fresh layers of physicality with TRX suspension-training equipment before playing a round in the racquetball court or letting sneakers squeak out healthful sonnets on the practice basketball court. Members can sign up for an array of group fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, and Les Mills workouts ranging from martial-arts-inspired body combat to RPM, which pairs thumping beats with a stationary bike ride through imaginary mountains and ethereal monsoons. Cap off workouts by ducking into the sauna or taking one final lap in the whirlpool.
It's fitting that the Central Institute for Human Performance is located inside a restored high-school building. Since the original lockers still line the hallways and the Karel Lewit Clinic for rehabilitation sits in what used to be the administrative offices, the glossy walls and floors often remind visitors of their athletic dreams when they once strolled through their own high schools. While the rehabilitation clinic treats injuries and physical trauma, the immaculate and spacious gym helps athletes improve or maintain their physical well-being. Fitness instructors challenge their students through innovative, small-group classes such as Strongman workouts. The center's consulting team, which earned a nod from Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, offers nutritional guidance and lifestyle coaching to help members reach their goals. Professional jerseys hang above modern equipment to further inspire athletes to dream big and remember to pick up their dry cleaning.
Originating in 1952 under the name Mel Bay Music, City Music & Education Center continues its founder's pursuit of supplying students with musical instruments, education, and resources. Alongside band and orchestra instruments available for rent or purchase, the harmonious retailer stocks its shelves with sheet music, PA systems, and powdered wigs for burgeoning composers. The scent of coffee wafts through the air as baristas grind local beans behind the enclosed counter of Note Worthy Café, and trained repair technicians remedy damages to instruments without the abuse of harsh chemicals. Thirteen spacious lesson rooms accommodate students and experienced, music-degree-bearing instructors for private instrumental and voice lessons, and a jam room, recording studio, and recital hall shelter musicians in every step of the creative process. In addition to its year-round services, City Music & Education Center hosts a smattering of seasonal events, including barbecue fundraisers for local school bands, battle of the bands for teenage groups, and recycling drives for glam-rock-era spandex pants.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.