Awash in lighting effects, an 8,000-square-foot rink accommodates roller skaters as they circle the facility to the thumping beat of contemporary pop music. Overhead, a disco ball 3 feet in diameter—featured in the remake of Footloose—further illumines the rink with its sparkling effervescence.
Meanwhile, participants clad in 78 Skate's velcro suit leap toward the velcro wall to see if they'll stick, and more than 30 arcade and redemption games challenge prize-seeking players. Gamesmanship continues at a pair of billiards tables nestled beneath two large screen televisions in the snack bar, which reenergizes customers with tasty treats and beverages. Elsewhere, a full-service skate shop equips patrons with new wheels for blading sessions in their bathtub, and twice weekly Zumba classes, led by a certified instructor, burn calories with exercise moves modeled after salsa dancing.
Certified by the United States Professional Tennis Association, the instructors at Skywater Atlanta Tennis impart their ball-whacking wisdom to students of all ages in private, group, and team settings. As protégés learn stroke basics and strategic fundamentals such as scoring, court positioning, and footwork, teachers foster a welcoming environment that encourages improvement without fear of reprisal for common mistakes such as faulting on a serve or strumming the wrong string on the racket during a mock guitar solo.
At the summit of Mount Yonah, hikers bask in the dying sunlight and soak up views of verdant foothills that span the horizon. Before the sun dips below the peaks, they meander back down the craggy trail toward Habersham Vineyard, where they can toast to a wholesome day of hiking. This scenic hike is one of dozens of possible routes led by Skywater Georgia Wine Hiking’s knowledgeable guides. They draw upon their knowledge of the region to showcase the best trails and wineries during daylong tours. Based on each group’s fitness level, interest, and ability to tolerate photo-bombing sasquatches, guides can plan easy-going three-hour hikes around Victoria Bryant State Park, or embark instead on a 10-hour journey up the steep foothills of Standing Indian. Regardless of the tour route, guides take time to point out local flora and fauna, and energize groups’ with a light lunch.
A fourth-generation artist, Rose Handy has always made time for creating. After a rollercoaster ride of life changes and moves, Rose and her potter husband Paul opened their own gallery and class space. Joined by a staff of illustrators, quilters, watercolorists, and other artisans, the owners encourage Wild Child students to find their own artistic voices, whether they're hand-building a ceramic bowl, painting a family portrait, or fusing glass pieces together to make a new glass family. The search for new avenues of creativity also extends to the studio's class offerings; beginning in January 2013, aspiring artisans can learn the intricacies of handbuilding and wheel-based pottery techniques as part of the shop's newest curriculum.
No matter the season, the experienced instructors at Skydive Monroe help students discover Atlanta’s sky-high beauty while gliding through the air at 14,000 feet. They teach students of all experience levels the ins and outs of these giant leaps, working with beginners through tandem jumps, instructor-assisted deployments, and accelerated freefall classes. They also oversee jumps for more experienced divers, and welcome non-jumpers to ride along in the plane for an additional fee. Staff members document each trip on video, allowing jumpers to relive the thrill of the jump without painting tiny cityscapes on their trampolines.
Zumba melds the upbeat rhythms of Latin music with aerobic exercise and interval training for a fun, effective workout. Fancy Footwork Fitness offers several styles of Zumba classes, such as Zumba for kids aged 4–12 and Z-Box Fitness, a combination of cardio boxing and dancing inside of cardboard boxes. Hot Hula Fitness, a workout inspired by the traditional Polynesian dances of the South Pacific, isolates larger muscle groups as drums beat in the background.
Ron Carroll's fascination with helicopters began in Vietnam, when the aircraft transported him and his fellow infantry through the jungles to the front lines. Two Purple Hearts, nearly 20 years, and a stint in the publishing industry later, Carroll happened upon a copy of Flying magazine and his interest quickly rekindled. He continued with flying lessons, deepening his desire to become a helicopter pilot.
Today, Carroll possesses a Gold Seal CFI certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and helms a team of three pilots with more than 25,000 combined hours of flight experience. With a fleet comprising Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters—as well as a TruFlite H flight simulator that lets aspiring pilots practice operating a helicopter while singing and without leaving the ground—the team has trained throngs of airmen, including Governor Sonny Perdue.