When Rick Rugg and Bob Schiffhauer founded the first of their gyms in 1980, they chartered their gym around three values: service, cleanliness, and having owners operate their own facilities. True to the founders' original vision, each location's employees strive to keep their cardio and resistance equipment spic and span as they care for facilities. In addition to personal training, instructors lead a schedule of more than 400 group fitness classes?including cycling, Kardio Kick, and Zumba?offered each week across their eight locations. At the clubs, trainers also help guests master CrossFit functional equipment and use TRX suspension training systems to help them connect with their vine-savvy pet orangutans.
Environmental preservation, rehabilitation, and education abound at Hawk Creek Wildlife Center, a sanctuary harboring more than 80 nonreleasable animals from around the globe, a number of which have made on-screen appearances with the likes of Rachael Ray and Conan O’Brien. In its 25th year, the nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization hosts more than 2,500 educational programs and numerous events showcasing its panoply of raptors, wildcats, and barn owls, that, since 1994, have blossomed thanks to Hawk Creek’s barn-owl-breeding project. Hands-on activities place visitors face-to-face with the facility’s feathered residents—including a bald eagle—and an onsite gift shop brims with ornithological souvenirs and signed headshots of Big Bird.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, 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 fox-trot 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.
There are more than 2,000 short tracks in the United States. Among them, fewer than 60 are NASCAR-sanctioned. Holland NASCAR Motorsports Complex is one of the few with such distinction. The raceway has guzzled the fumes of that rarified air since 1960, when it was built as a 1/3-mile facility surrounded by just 1,200 seats. In 1964, the course expanded to 3/8 mile, and four years later, asphalt replaced the outdated shag carpeting as the track's surface. Today, Holland packs up to 7,000 spectators into its grandstands. It completes the race-day experience with various amenities, including The Midway, where fans can fuel up on snacks and drinks, and The Village, where fans party under large tents and around picnic tables.
Originally sculpted into the rolling terrain of western New York in 1920, South Shore’s 18-hole course invites golfers of all stripes to conquer its pristine fairways. The grassy monolith stretches across 150 acres of scenic, parkland terrain, where players must shape their shots around babbling creeks, mature trees, and lakes where discontent golf balls live out fantasies of becoming submarines in search of Atlantis, the Utopian land responsible for the Arnold Palmer drink. A pro shop and clubhouse sit on the scenic hillsides, beckoning players with post-round beverages, upgraded golf accessories, and slice-prone spirits yelling “fore” at one another.
It isn't called a laboratory for nothing, even if the light fixtures aren't actually made from converted beakers. At Buffalo Laboratory Theatre, classic plays get experimental makeovers and new works make their stage debuts. Even if an audience believes they are watching a straightforward staging of a time-honored production such as Hamlet, they can rest assured that something is different—the actors might have relied on a unique rehearsal technique, or the director may have devised an entirely new presentational style. By keeping their work fresh and unpredictable, the artists at BLT aim to make every raise of the curtain a magical experience.