The night sky is a vast ocean of celestial objects such as the moon, the bright lights of our closest stars, and the warm glow of neighboring galaxies. Located at the University of Wisconsin Fox Valley, Barlow Planetarium helps uncover the vastness of the universe through a 3-D-capable Digistar projector, which—combined with 10,000 watts of digital sound and a 48-foot projection screen—transports guests into the deepest trenches of space. The facility's star shows include family programs that make astronomy easy to understand as well as feature shows that tickle the minds of more hardened astronomy buffs. Along with celestial exploration, the planetarium transforms with dancing lights and rich sounds during laser shows. These programs add visual touches to music from the likes of The Beatles or Isaac Newton's little-known punk band.
The planetarium also hosts academic programs for grade-school children. These include the Wisconsin Space Academy, in which students build and launch rockets, and the Wisconsin Astronomy Academy, which lets pupils peer through telescopes and discover vending machines floating through space.
Ryan Dart's passion for sports started when he was five years old and continued through his college rugby career and beyond. After trying his first CrossFit class, the positive experience had Ryan hooked. Now this dually-certified CrossFit and weightlifting coach shares his knowledge with clients at his own gym, CrossFit Appleton. Ryan adapts CrossFit's scalable approach—which is used to train military personnel—to people of all fitness levels, from cage fighters to the elderly. Both he and his fellow trainer, Marie McCarthy, often encourage their students to go on a Paleolithic nutritional plan to achieve maximum results. This no-nonsense approach to eating cuts out carbohydrates such as sweets, sodas, and delicious looking wax fruit.
The Fire combats artistic snobbery with an all-inclusive array of creative building blocks. Inside the studio’s downtown location, rows of paints and unfinished ceramic pieces line countertops, and an old-fashioned television set leisurely recounts its favorite Lone Ranger episodes. Large work surfaces and a play place for kids ensure that both children and adults have room to take creative risks. Cavalier creators can paint pottery, craft mosaics, or cobble together a transparent 10-gallon hat with glass fusing (the average project is between $10.99 and $25.99). Pottery painters select their objects from a selection of plates, platters, and other decorative items, then begin painting with the help of a color consultant.
Empower Yoga's team of dedicated teachers share their passion for the power vinyasa tradition with students of all fitness levels during 28 weekly classes. The studio's robust schedule accommodates inexperienced yogis with 80-degree, hour-long basics classes, where instructors provide detailed demonstrations, pose modifications, and hands-on guidance to help aspiring sticky mat warriors build strength, endurance, and bravery. The studio temperature bumps up to a balmy 90 degrees during all-levels power vinyasa classes that invite seasoned stretchers and beginners with three to five basic classes under their spiritual belt to partake in an intense mind-body workout. As students flow through a series of continuous postures linked together with mindful breath, the body's building internal heat helps expel harmful toxins through sweat while easing muscles into deep stretches, helping to strengthen balance and bullfrog hopping impressions.
Inspired by watching her sister turning and leaping in ballet class, Harley Atkinson began dancing at the age of 3. Throughout her life, she has gained a strong groundwork for dance, performing at the prestigious Makaroff School of Ballet and moving on to study contemporary and modern dance in college. Now a teacher at her own studio, she believes that everyone can learn to dance. She aims to free her students of their self-imposed limitations, motivating them to move their bodies to the music and gain confidence in their own styles. Following in a tradition she learned from her parents, Harley also offers reiki sessions for people who want to relax sans toe tapping.
The studio’s light and airy atmosphere contributes to the freedom of leaping as high as your body will allow. Upbeat music plays over the speaker system, a cushioned wooden floor prevents injuries, and floor-to-ceiling mirrors wrap around the walls to expose any tap-dancing shadow people.
The owners of Ghost Town Fitness believe that being comfortable in your gym is a necessary step toward having an effective workout. In this spirit, they've decked out their fitness facility with clean amenities ranging from a cardio center and weight rooms to racquetball courts and a steamy sauna. Meanwhile, the gym's instructors draw on the communal power that comes from working out in a group during their fitness classes. In private studios, they lead students pedaling through indoor-cycling workouts, blend martial arts and boxing moves in GroupKick, and orchestrate yoga and Pilates sequences in Group Centergy.