The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
At Simply Fit Personal Training, licensed personal trainers design custom workouts according to their clients’ fitness, health, and nutrition goals. They work in a fitness-minded setting that includes medicine balls, an elliptical machine, a treadmill, free weights, and a punching bag perfect for boxing workouts or hugging sessions.
In two separate jump rooms furnished with up to four huge inflatables each, kids bound off bounce-house walls, slip down air-filled slides, and navigate energy-burning obstacle courses. When taking breaks from bouncing, they challenge each other to games of skee-ball, Dance Dance Revolution, and pinball in the game room, replete with a Wii lounge and ball blaster. Kids can invade the activity-filled fun house during open-play times or birthday parties, which include private party-room space, game tokens, and DVD slide shows of the festivities.
Hounds Town USA’s friendly staff coddles pups, ushering them to peaceful, private boarding rooms to rest up for days spent cavorting with peers in the expansive doggie play area. Rovers spend the day romping with their fellow canine campers, with playtime bookended by a hearty morning and afternoon feast of Nutro dog food presented in stainless-steel dishes or on the back of a interning cat. When the capering concludes, pups make their way to their private abodes to get a good night’s sleep atop orthopedic, chew-proof bedding. Owners can outfit dogs with a pack containing their own food, bedding, and toys if desired, allowing pups to revel in the sights and scents of home more effectively than scrapbooking their favorite bones.
Windows on the Lake blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, lending a serene, pastoral air to everything from Thanksgiving dinners to weddings. Two stories of floor-to-ceiling windows overlook Lake Ronkonkoma and the grounds that hug it. Manicured gardens beckon diners for a post-prandial stroll among colorful foliage and babbling brooks.
Those grounds also usher brides and grooms to the outdoor gazebo, where they say their vows and wrestle for the title of "Head of Household." In the Rainbow Room, however, the line between indoors and outdoors seems to vanish altogether. A ceiling painted like the sky looms over a hardwood dance floor ringed with white-clothed tables?and the illusion extends to the pastoral murals that alternate with the room's floor-to-ceiling windows.
Inside Imagination at Play's spacious 8,000-square-foot facility, youngsters roam Imagination Village and discover multiple themed stations where they can exercise their creativity. Toddlers and parents can build sandcastles together at The Beach while other kids teach dolls how to conduct a train at the Transportation Center. A make-believe house includes everything from a baby crib to a kitchen table, and the nearby miniature pool contains fish and boats for reenacting scenes from Speed 2: Cruise Control. For some physical exercise, a climbing structure allows kids to slide and scoot across multiple levels of a plastic jungle gym. The center also hosts a variety of classes that teach kids how to play sports or build with Legos.