The Economist's globe-spanning scope, comprehensive analysis, and crushing, unflinching grasp on world economics keep subscribers up-to-date on world news, politics, and business. In addition to the weekly publications—including the magazine's more than 20 special reports and its technology quarterly—all subscribers also get unrestricted access to the online site, with a fully searchable archive dating back to the Neolithic Internet era (1997), as well as free access to The Economist in audio, which includes the option to listen to digital recordings of all print articles or to download them as a weekly podcast. Print subscribers to The Economist also receive "The World in 2012," a special annual volume that predicts trends for the coming year. Digital subscribers do not have access to "The World in 2012." For updates on the go or “on the sitting down on a park bench enjoying the scenery,” both digital and print subscribers can access The Economist on an iPhone, iPad, or Android; every photo, article, chart, and Big Mac index is delivered to subscribers' devices by Thursday at 4 p.m. eastern time.
Spanning 4,000 square feet, the climbing surfaces at First Avenue Rocks mimic the natural textures of the abundant local sandstone boulder terrain. One hundred varied climbing routes up to 17 feet high greet climbers who choose to ascend by bouldering without ropes on angled walls and roofs dotted with challenging foot-and handholds or on the facility’s ropes courses. For safety, the facility positions its vertical terrain above the floor’s 10-inch-deep Asana pads for safe landings in the event of missed holds or misguided urges to fly. Instructors are available to prep students of all ages and ability levels to tackle the gym's terrain, teaching three stages of introductory climbing courses and two advanced lead-climbing courses. When not on the rocks, guests can hone muscle cooperation through onsite fitness programs in weight training, yoga, CrossFit, and climbing-specific training. Outdoor excursions are also available with the gym's guides, certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, in top rope, sport climbing, and bouldering.
In the heated water of the Lakeshore Foundation's two pools, the staff at Swimmers United allot time for both learning and playing. Skill development is the top priority during group swimming lessons, where instructors maintain a 7:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Fun takes center stage at kids' pool parties, which can accommodate more than 25 kids or roughly one class president's security detail.
Housed in their brand-new $32 million sports facility, the Samford Bulldogs conduct a sneaker-squeaking symphony of floating three pointers and skillfully pirouetted layups as they battle the best of their Southern Conference rivals. In the hunt for their third NCAA Tournament bid, Samford has relied on playmaking guard Jeffrey Merritt and forward Josh Davis, and currently boasts the second-highest three-point shooting average in the country. Earlier this year Samford defeated state power Auburn and made its claim as the best team in the state. With half-court seating at the nearly 5,000-seat Hanna Center, you'll have a prime location from which to view all the hoops hysteria, as well as shower the players with play-calling pointers and advice for keeping the magic alive in a marriage.
Birmingham Flight Center’s skilled instructors equip pupils with aeronautical know-how through classroom, flight-simulator, and in-the-air training. Students blast off into the pixeled yonder in Redbird FMX simulators—equipped with 200-degree wraparound views, full-motion capabilities, and digital parachutes in case of lost dogfights—or pilot the center’s top-notch, genuine fleet. Offering levels of instruction from Learn to Fly private pilot-certification courses to FAR Part 141 expedited commercial training, the flight center prepares the pilots of tomorrow while maintaining its founders’ legacy of aeronautical excellence, which stretches back more than 70 years.
MASS Ensemble is an international touring performance group that consists of artists, musicians, composers, and choreographers. Their performances flood the senses with fantastical lighting, expertly performed sounds played on bespoke instruments, and imaginative, dynamic sets made of large-scale installations. Buckle yourself into your seat, or at least tie your hair back, as the ensemble's “Rock Opera” unfolds, turning the beautiful Jemison Concert Hall of the performing arts center into a glowing, pulsing orb of visual and audio stimuli, a spectacle woven with references to popular, exotic, and popularly exoticized cultures. Arrive at the theater at least 30 minutes in advance to exchange your Groupon for a ticket.
ABC Bartending School invites budding cocktail chemists to gain hands-on experience, mixing, stirring, and shaking under the tutelage of seasoned industry experts. During the four-hour mixology workshop, guests learn the basics of alcoholic alchemy, blending liquors and mixers into sippable sensations. Workshops are divided into five sections, training amateur aperitif-crafters in the science of mixing, the components of liquors, equipment and bar setup, and how to pick the freshest garnishes from behind-the-bar garnish trees. All course completers enjoy access to a Cheers dimension that currently, due to spatial fluctuations, contains only Cliff Clavins.