The award-winning professional belly dancers at Arabesque edify adult performers of all levels in the theories and techniques of Middle Eastern dance. Instructors teach hips to shimmy through scintillating moves as guests study such art forms as belly dance, choreography, and prop work. Throughout classes, skilled dancers lead by example, gracefully wielding swords, fans, and pool noodles or tapping out rhythms with finger cymbals. Classes are available in five skill levels, ranging from beginner to advanced. Instructors and students can flaunt new moves during periodic local and national performances.
Over the past quarter century, Serpent Safari's indoor zoo has amassed a collection of rare reptiles that have appeared in publications such as National Geographic. Animals of impressive age, unusual coloring (such as an albino alligator), and Guinness World Record-holding weight have all called the Safari their home. Originally founded as a reptile adoption and education center, the Safari now runs guided tours and birthday parties that usher children through the world of scaly, cold-blooded creatures known as bankers into the diverse realm of reptiles. Following the tours, patrons can partake in photo opportunities with giant snakes, or take home a friend from the pet store.
With more than 23,000 square feet of public space, Kohl Children's Museum gives its young visitors plenty of rooms in which to play. The kid-focused facility houses 16 permanent exhibits for infants and children up to 8 years of age, each filled with hands-on activities designed to encourage learning and exploration.
City on the Move helps children learn about Chicago by challenging them to build city scenes from geometric shapes or crank an electricity-generating wheel to power a pretend John Hancock Center. Kids can follow animal footprints to their source in Nature Explorers, move musical notes to create melodies in Ravinia Festival Music Makers, or explore the rotating temporary exhibits.
Eric and Markay Suevel have run the eponymous Suevel Studios—a full-service glass studio that creates custom pieces and hosts classes—for more than 30 years. Both proprietors have practiced the art for decades, but their partnership marries two distinct approaches. Eric learned the craft at a young age from his uncle, and Markay possesses a liturgical perspective as an ordained minister with a master’s in divinity. They cut and fuse alongside a team of worldly and learned glassworkers, all of whom bring their own specific expertise to the table, whether doing restoration work or mosaics. The studio's stained-glass work lights up churches, homes, and restaurants as well as their students’ faces after they complete one of 25 classes. There, apprentices acquire the skills required to decorate household windows or liven up bland, translucent reading glasses.
A kids' firehouse sets the stage for hands-on, imaginative activities at FireZone, where actual firefighters show off fire engines, explain educational displays, and oversee games for kids of all ages. In addition to children’s parties and drop-in play sessions, FireZone runs school field trips, caters to adults with corporate training days, and rents fire trucks for picnics, parades, and festivals.
With a showroom full of materials and an impressive body of work that hangs in buildings such as the Trump Tower, Creative Edge helps clients turn bare walls into conversation pieces. Each Creative Edge consultant brings at least 10 years of professional experience to projects, ensuring that every frame perfectly complements its portrait, landscape, or recursive picture of picture frames. These experts also handle 3-D projects, creating shadowbox showpieces for items such as plates, sports memorabilia, medals, and dried flowers. Before settling on a design, clients can peruse the showroom to get creative juices flowing. The showroom offers samples of more than 3,000 different mouldings made from materials that range from classic solid woods to reclaimed roofing supplies, and the gallery features fine-art lithographs, giclées, and original multimedia pieces.