Since 2006, the Arizona Desert Dolphins have been showcasing their aquatic tricks as the arid landscape of Mesa, Arizona opens around them. They're not actual dolphins, though?they're a team of synchronized swimmers ranging from age 5 to 55, who have honed their craft in local pools. Some swim recreationally, others competitively, but they all train in the team's programs, leagues, and camps, learning the ins and outs of the sport.
Although it was originally dubbed "water ballet," synchronized swimming is really more sport than dance. It's been an official Olympic sport since 1984 and requires multi-faceted athleticism: swimming skill, gymnastics-level flexibility, and the same stamina it takes to run long distances or ride an untamed rocking chair. It all looks effortless during the Dolphins' meets, but that's only thanks to savvy head coaches Lorette Haynes and Jessica Naranjo. (And nose clips, without which the upside-down moves would be impossible.)
At Jambo! Park, children uncork bottled up energy as they spring across an indoor playground sprawling with jungle-themed rides and family-friendly games. Located in the North Phoenix area, it manufactures raucous laughter and endless enjoyment with myriad attractions, including the Himalaya mini roller coaster, Monkey Barrels ride, and Spin Tops ride. Families can settle disputes over who's the favorite child in a pirate-themed laser-tag arena or club their way through the six holes of a mini-golf course. Miniature flyers go up and down and circle around on the Flying Elephants ride or take a spin on the Jungle Swing ride. Little conductors can take in the views on the Safari Train. A three-level play structure festooned with tubes and slides welcomes climbers and sliders, and more than 50 nonviolent video games jangle merrily in the arcade.
PGA teaching professional Robbie Camacho refines golf skills with corrective advice culled from more than 20 years of experience in the golf industry. After graduating from the San Diego Golf Academy and the PGA of America's Professional Golf Management Program, Robbie has appeared on multiple radio shows to offer a slice of his golf wisdom and weigh in on the tragic extinction of the mashie niblick.
Robbie has taken his talents to Dobson Ranch Golf Course, where a lighted driving range with grass tees, practice putting greens, and a short game area with a practice bunker let him cover any aspect of the game in lessons. Robbie's understanding of proper stance, body alignment, glove bedazzlement, ball position, and balance cultivates more dependable swings for players of all abilities.
"I'm bored!" is probably the most common phrase uttered by children out of school for the summer. Even inundated with an abundance of toys, games, and technology, kids still want more. Instead of getting them yet another magical centaur, parents can keep their offspring occupied with one of Arizona Summer Camps's diversions. The camp teams up with a variety of local businesses to present a diverse array of summer camps to engage the minds and bodies of youths. The quality of instruction is top-notch, and the student-to-teacher ratios are kept low.
Kids can expand their horizons with science-driven experimentation in fields such as robotics or computer gaming, or break a sweat and a few boards in one of several martial-arts camps. Gymnastics camps bolster coordination and strength in wee ones.
SunDust Art Gallery is truly a family-run operation—Ron Floyd, a retired university art professor and a recognized abstract artist, opened the 5,000-square-foot gallery with the help of his wife Mary Lou Floyd and son Chris Floyd. Opened in 2009, the studio's initial goal was to provide the Southwest's eclectic and often-unnoticed artists a home, and today it has grown to encompass a gallery collection that regularly features many such artists and mediums for which the region is well known, such as sculpture, jewelry, and photography. Throughout his long career as an art professor, Ron learned to teach students how to overcome artistry's intricacies, and he now operates out of SunDust's studios with accessible painting and drawing classes.
In a dorm room at Arizona State University in 2005, a group of entrepreneurial young aviation enthusiasts hatched the plan for what would grow into Classic Air Aviation. Now, from their new home nest at Falcon Field Airport, the team of licensed instructors elucidates the fundamentals of flying for aspiring aces. Passionate instructors educate aviators with a range of classes and certifications that range from ground school and private-pilot training to certified flight-instructor training and commercial pilot certificates. All programs follow FAA guidelines to ensure that students learn the basics behind the airplane’s various flight controls and instrumentation and watch a mandatory PSA warning against the hidden dangers of gravity.