The Priceless Parrot Preserve sounds like a jungle. The calls and conversations of more than 100 birds from 29 species form a symphony that strengthens social bonds. Well-behaved members of the flock greet visitors and play with toys hanging from the ceiling, whereas animals with behavioral issues—often the products of abuse or neglect—hang back, working with volunteers and founders Gene and Marietta Avery to grow and recover. As a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Gene provides medical care to the often malnourished birds and ensures that they receive a rich diet of nuts and fruit.
Gene and Marietta Avery founded The Priceless Parrot Preserve to care for neglected and abandoned exotic birds. Their goal is twofold: to educate the public about the birds both as pets and wild creatures, and to give a permanent home to mistreated and unwanted birds. The couple originally adopted the birds out of their own pockets, but formed their own preserve when confronted with the sheer number of birds in need. Today, they specialize in taking in larger birds such as macaws and cockatoos that demand more attention and other birds that might be considered unadoptable.
The licensed massage therapists and aesthetic professionals at Relaxation And Transformation Spa consider themselves artists. Armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience, they use their skills and high-tech equipment to help clients look better and feel more comfortable in their skin. Available at three locations, the spa's services include massages, facials, and cavi-lipo treatments designed to smooth away cellulite by subjecting it to ultrasound energy and a stern talking-to.
With fistfuls of play money on the line, blackjack players wait for the turn of a card that might make them a winner. This is the scene at one of "21" for Fun's professional-grade tables, where swift-handed dealers place cards in a wide fan and guests vie for faux dough. Along with blackjack, the traveling casino offers such games as poker, roulette, and 52-card pickup for events and parties.
The five studios at Michelle Ferraro's Dance USA host more than a dozen different classes, including ballet, hip-hop, tap, barre exercise, and jazz. Students as young as 2 twirl, jump, and leap across specially designed floors that help prevent injuries. Yearly recitals and hourly dance-offs in the parking lot enable students to show off their skills to the masses.
In a studio brimming with what New York magazine calls a “relaxed, residential vibe,” walls of slate gray and exposed brick ensconce the cutting-edge equipment dwelling within each of Pacific Tanning Salon's seven private bronzing rooms. Clients garner sun-kissed glows from an array of machines such as the Ambition 300, equipped with turbo and superpower lamps and high-pressure facial tanners. During sessions that last a maximum of 15 minutes, clients punch easy-to-navigate buttons to control their experiences, and ventilation systems ensure that they, and the casseroles they are warming, do not overheat.