Like most good ideas, Gymboree Play and Music didn't begin in a business meeting—it began out of necessity. In 1976, Joan Barnes, a California mom, found herself frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time. Knowing that other parents were undoubtedly feeling the same frustration, she took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. She consulted experts to design a curriculum of activities to foster the development of children’s cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play. She hired a nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers. And her staff began conducting entertaining classes covering subjects ranging from music to sports to impart valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. As their children learned and socialized, parents also found benefit in meeting and befriending other moms and dads in their local area. More than 30 years later, her vision has proved to be a success: more than 712 child-centered franchises now spread over 42 countries, bringing confidence and creativity to thousands of youngsters in several continents and to one in the center of the earth.
In 1987, Evelyn Knapp and Carol Kur founded Personal Training Institute. Since then, their creation has expanded to 13 locations, thanks to a well-executed specialty: custom fitness and nutrition programs. The institute's one-on-one training regimens start with an evaluation, which covers everything from a medical history to a body fat analysis. Based on the results and clients' goals, trainers craft workouts that blend strength training and cardio, state-of-the-art fitness equipment, and motivational techniques, such as convincing clients that they can run all the way to Hawaii. The comprehensive regimens feature nutritional guidance, too, which helps clients to boost their overall health along with their fitness levels.
More than 100 tricky routes dot the 30-foot climbing walls and 25-foot rappel tower inside Island Rock. The facility's 9,000 square feet of indoor climbing surfaces are all constructed to look and feel like real rocks, so climbers can close their eyes and picture themselves scaling K2 or the Venus de Milo. Knowledgeable staffers oversee attempts at the lead wall and bouldering cave and steer patrons toward a training room equipped with Cybex and cardio equipment. After a long day of climbing, guests can refresh in the locker rooms' showers and saunas.