The aesthetic champions at My Little Red Haus put the power of paint, canvas, and crafts into tiny, eager hands, earning recognition as The Best Place for Kids by Montgomery's Downtown District for the last two years. Children’s mixed-media courses welcome youngsters to learn and practice using a variety of materials and skills. Diminutive Da Vincis and atomic Andy Warhols will draw, paint, and glue a mixed-media creation to beautify fridges, bedrooms, and adorable interrogation rooms. Younger mini-artists (ages 4–6) begin with the basics, polishing motor skills and exploring crafty knowledge of color, line, textures, and shapes, from the familiar circle to the tricky five-pointed triangle. Older kids (ages 7–12) get pointers on their budding artistic skills.
From the welcoming confines of her art studio, Jen Meade calls on more than 35 years of experience as a self-taught artist as she shepherds visitors through their own colorful journeys of self-expression. Group classes for adults instill painters of all levels with new brushing skills, and private lessons give students one-on-one attention to focus on useful techniques, such as disguising mistakes with unobtrusive trees and bobcats wearing sunglasses. During Jen's specialty classes, brushstrokes elude the canvas to instead embellish a variety of creative keepsakes, such as paintable wineglasses and articles of clothing.
Portrait painting used to require a subject to sit for hours on end, forcing them to first take tedious lessons on not moving from willing ventriloquist dummies. Thankfully, modern technology allows Daniel Dean to take a more practical approach. When a client commissions a portrait, Mr. Dean first snaps hundreds of images of them during a photo shoot, focusing on capturing natural expressions that show their personality. As clients return to their daily lives, he refers to the images to produce works of art. The result is a life-like, yet uniquely stylized, oil painting.
Every stroke of Mr. Dean’s brush is guided by his extensive art background. The artist trained as an oil painter, and earned an undergraduate degree at Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati. When not painting, he shares his expertise as an adjunct professor at UC and the University of Dayton, and trains younger students during classes held at his studio.
All year long, Ohio ATV World hands over the keys to a stable of well-maintained Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Polaris all-terrain vehicles that purr beneath riders as they wind down through 16 miles of trails in Hocking Hills Nature Trails. In rain, sleet, snow, or sun, attentive staff members provide helmets before indoctrinating off-road skills into beginners and experts, who can zip through trail barrels and ramps atop their four-wheelers. Off the beaten path, Ohio ATV World arranges group outings and birthday-party activities, such as scavenger hunts set amid the park’s scenic foliage and natural wildlife.
Hundreds of unadorned pottery pieces line the shelves and wooden worktables at Mad Potter, a whimsical studio where walk-in artists can select the preferred vessels for their creativity and set to work crafting custom masterpieces. The studio’s panoply of provided art supplies includes patterns, stencils, and colorful paints with which to decorate vases in floral designs and pasta bowls with step-by-step instructions for wielding silverware. Professional potters emerge from the earthenware scenery to answer questions throughout the process and to fire finished artworks until each is hardened and safe for food, dishwashers, and microwaves. Large groups can rent out the studio to fashion brittle cakes for birthday parties, and resident artists often travel to businesses and homes to allow kids to paint in their natural habitats.
Terry Bryan will be the first to tell you that even if everything's good, "nothing's good for long." As a professional physical trainer, Terry Bryan has witnessed the effects of a short-lived exercise regime, and he's dedicated himself to designing programs to avoid it. He started his trek by creating 34-week Controlled Confusion workout programs that use a variety of exercises to keep muscle groups adapting to new stresses. Today, he and his team of trainers lead a variety of classes for guests of all skill levels, with classes such as speed training, resistance training, and co-ed and women-only boot camps.
Patty first discovered rock climbing in college. “I got sucked in right away,” she says. Before long, she found herself marrying a fellow climber—a man she met at Climb Time back when it was still managed by the original owners who also blended their relationship with climbing. “They got married at the gym,” Patty says, describing how the first owners scaled the roof to say their "I dos." Though Patty and her husband didn’t exchange rings at the top of a wall, they did decide to buy the gym.
The expansive arena challenges climbers with a 24-foot climbing wall, where novice and expert mountaineers alike grasp handholds with chalked palms or coax a gorilla to carry them up piggyback style. Along the other side of the facility, Patty and crew dare climbers to test their strength on a wide array of 15- to 60-degree bouldering inclines that sit above moveable pads to cushion jumps or falls.