As a 23-year-old junior, Tom Hatten didn’t spend his evenings at the raucous parties or ice-cream socials associated with college life. Instead, he’d spend the waning hours of his evenings waiting by the dryer for the last batch of towels before collapsing into bed. In the morning, he would lug them to Mountainside Fitness, the gym he opened as a student that he has thrown all his energy into maintaining ever since.
Today, the humble 4,800-square-foot space has bloomed into nine gyms that average a sweeping 41,000 square feet. Tom’s vision of creating a friendly neighborhood gym that greets each guest with a warm towel underscores every decision he makes for the different locations, from the colorful kid-care spaces to the entertaining group fitness classes. Personal trainers plan regimens tailored to each client, helping them lose weight, build muscle, or target the muscles that will help build a better golf game. Clients can create their own routines with the help of cardio and weight machines, or explore the different amenities at each location, such as saunas, rock-climbing walls, and indoor basketball courts.
The idea for Waterworks on Wheels blossomed in the backyards of the East Valley. Founder Janice Jaicks traveled from home to home, guiding children's swimming strokes inside their own pools. Soon, the demand for her lessons required her to hire more instructors, and in addition to her summer house calls, Janice set up shop at four health clubs for year-round classes.
Today she and her team acquaint children aged 10 months?10 years with the water through a mix of patience, kindness, and know-how. The instructors seamlessly combine safety with fun, and though they specialize in teaching preschoolers and first-time swimmers, they can engage kids of all skill levels with more advanced aquatic exercises and even have a program to boost the competitive skills of adults. By maintaining a small student-to-teacher ratio, they focus on enhancing each person's aptitude regardless of prior years spent land-locked or recent hours spent swallowing helium.
At JJ Madisons, less than 15 burgers on the menu would be unthinkable. The chefs have created 18 separate sandwiches, some of which have their own variants?the Malibu Beach burger, for example, comes with mushrooms, swiss, and avocado atop beef or chicken. Others are less like classic patties and more like enticing burger hybrids. The Buffalo Fire patty is prepped in zesty chicken-wing sauce, whereas the PB & J bacon burger mixes peanut butter, jelly, and sriracha hot sauce for a truly unique flavor combo.
The rest of the menu celebrates a wide range of American eats. There are award-winning wings flavored with 17 different sauces, deli sandwiches from reubens to turkey melts, and entrees of steak and fried shrimp. Much of the food is categorized under a relevant U.S. city, whether it's tacos honoring Santa Rosa, California or a Pittsburgh patty melt.
The eatery also provides plenty of nighttime entertainment: live music, karaoke events, and poker games are on the calendar every week, much like a greedy person's birthday. Happy hour runs all day and night throughout the summer with food specials until midnight.
Augusta Ranch Golf Club?s first hole starts players off with a bit of misdirection. Measuring 379 yards from the back tees, the longest hole on the course calls for a zealous swing, while the rest of the course is designed to give irons a workout. The links feature a mix of par-3 and par-4 holes that invite newcomers to play around and test experienced players' short game play with shallow greens and treacherous bunkers. Instructors give lessons for all skill levels, and the staff organizes a variety of events throughout the year, from clinics and tournaments to Night Golf played with glowing golf balls. Players can convene beneath The Sunset Grille?s outdoor pavilion to snack on classic breakfast and lunch cuisine and keep an eye out for flocks of geese trained to abduct pitching wedges.
Course at a Glance:
Mesa Arts Center curates artistic goings-on inside a sleek structure filled with four theaters, five art galleries, and 14 art studios. Graced by the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Bill Cosby, the stages of the facility's theaters showcase a cultural cocktail of live music, Broadway, dance, and comedy performances. Grooming the next generation of artisans with the help of advanced equipment, seasoned instructors teach everything from acting and beading to woodworking and welding during art classes tailored to both kids and adults.
For inspiration, students and visitors can stroll through the galleries of the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum for glimpses at a revolving selection of contemporary art from international artists. Speckled with gardens, shapely architecture, and colorful lighting, the facility’s modern grounds welcome guests for everyday visits or annual events and festivals.
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.)