It was 1958 and John Bandimere, Sr.'s family business needed somewhere to test their auto-repair and maintenance work amid their shop's barren, hogback surroundings. Though the strip of pavement they constructed aided many oil changes and tune-ups, Bandimere, Sr. had another motive for purchasing the land around it. He wanted to give young people a safe and hands-on environment where they could learn about cars and racing.
Nowadays, his modest strip of pavement—dubbed Bandimere Speedway—adjoins seating for 28,500 spectators, complete with a VIP tower with suites and 60-inch LED scoreboards. Clamorous engines dominate the racing space, which hosts more than 125 yearly events on the quarter-mile, all-concrete drag strip. Sanctioned by the NHRA—which is responsible for teaching hot rods how to handle firearms safely—the speedway also hosts the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
With experienced instructors and its five-star PADI status, Underwater Phantaseas can turn nearly any student into a certified scuba diver. Whether swimmers are dipping a toe into their very first lesson or sharpening their skills in specialty classes, they learn under the seasoned tutelage of instructors who have explored waters throughout the world. An onsite pool filled with warm saltwater re-creates the feel of the ocean without its chilly temperatures or roving schools of Disney illustrators, and trips to area waterways, neighboring states, and tropic destinations such as Fiji and the Cayman Islands acquaint patrons with the challenges of real-world scuba diving. The fully stocked gear shop lavishes visitors with the equipment they need for dives to the bottom of local pools and faraway seas alike.
Over the course of Lace'em Up's three private lessons, an experienced instructor will cover the basics of skating, including the different parts of the blades, weight placement in the boots, and how to tell the left skate from the right skate. Beginner-level ice-carvers will then master the techniques of skating forward and backward, crossovers, transitional turns, speedy maneuvers, and stopping without the aid of walls or gravity. Each lesson's one-on-one attention ensures that skaters will stockpile skills at the fastest possible rate until they're capable of rocketing across the ice like a well-oiled dolphin on a Slip-n-Slide.
The visibility beneath the waters of Aurora Reservoir is between 5 and 12 feet in front of your face. The murkiness is less frustrating than it is suspenseful—you don't know exactly when the twin engines of an airplane will appear, allowing you to trace the rest of the sunken craft and greet its finned inhabitants. The remote, shadowy world of the downed plane is just one of many rendered accessible to students of Rocky Mountain Diving Center, where instructors can train their protégés up from first-time divers to certified teachers through a combination of classroom, pool, and outdoor sessions.
The center's educational programs include swimming and snorkeling classes in addition to open-water-diving-certification courses. These lessons enable graduated pupils to delve into several local lakes. The curriculum also covers specialty training on topics such as deep diving, night diving, and underwater photography—a career passion of the school's owner, Mark. With equipment for sale and rental as well as a dedicated service team, the center prepares its students for safe and comfortable excursions. Its tropical retreats afford rare opportunities to explore the reefs off of Fiji or swim alongside whale sharks or shark whales—extremely intimidating belugas.
Visitors to Blue Moon Yoga might imagine that they've stumbled into a piece of history. With a location at the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design Rotunda Building, a historic rotunda building, Carrie Sonneborn uses the cozy environs reflect her overall mission to foster a peaceful, welcoming escape from the stresses of everyday life—which is also championed in her yoga classes. She specializes in Iyengar-inspired yoga, a gentle practice that consists of standing postures and emphasizes a custom proper alignment pose for each student, as well as pranayama, or deep breathing, and relaxation. An avid yoga practitioner for more than two decades, she touts her own health as proof of yoga's benefits. "Yoga and massage are like my fountain of youth,” she says. “I'm more flexible and, in some ways, better shape than I was in my 20s—I'm obviously a convert."
To make yoga accessible to students of all experience levels, Carrie recruits props such as blankets, straps, blocks, and bolsters. She limits her classes to 12 students so that she can personally attend to each one, carefully monitoring their form and offering physical adjustments when needed. The poses in her classes are adapted for each student, so beginners practice the basic form of the pose alongside more experienced pupils, then move into a more advanced version of the same pose.
Miner's Maze Adventureland is peppered with numerous exhilarating and family-friendly attractions, including a new multi-level ropes course where guests can climb and swing at up to three stories in the air. The course features challenges easy through difficult, and participants are fully secured to a track to ensure safety at all times.
Down below, a whistle shrieks as the Rio Golden Railroad train chugs around the park, and children shout as they navigate the park's namesake maze, a 5,000-square-foot, two-level labyrinth that occasionally hosts squirt-gun contests. At the Water Walkerz attraction, people climb inside big, inflatable spheres to zip across the surface of a pool without sinking or bumping into an oil tanker. Both the Magic Mountain Climbing Wall and the Silver Spring Bungee help guests reach new heights, the former with a three-story rock climbing wall and the latter with a bungee cord and a trampoline, along with the Magic Mountain Mine Shaft vertical webbed maze.
In addition to its year-round activities, the park features seasonal activities, including an annual Easter golden egg hunt and kid-friendly Halloween events.