It all started with a farmer's generosity. In 1924, a civic-minded citizen handed over 16 acres of lush farmland and a small group of critters to the Borough of Norristown. Today, the Elmwood Park Zoo and the Norristown Zoological Society welcomes guests in hopes of creating a future stock of wildlife lovers and conservation advocates. A menagerie of around 300 beasts indigenous to the Americas—including jaguars, howler monkeys, timberwolves, and bald and gold eagles—peer back at visitors. Even though they're from Africa, giraffes get in on the fun too during certain seasons, grazing on foliage and the toupees of particularly tall patrons. Guests can also spy on more than 15 species that are threatened or endangered. All the while, smaller animals mosey around at the petting barn, tots climb aboard gentle ponies, and winged beauties sail through the air at the butterfly preserve.
At Adventure Aquarium, patrons can not only look at sharks in a tank, but be surrounded by them. Guets can see as a hammerhead shark, swims through a 760,000-gallon tank, its 7-foot body passing all around onlookers in the 40-foot shark tunnel.
Of course, Adventure Aquarium also houses a wide variety of marine animals. Their two Nile hippos each weigh in at approximately 3,000 pounds, and their mouths can open up to four feet?enough to swallow most wedding cakes in a single bite. At the aquarium's Hippo Haven, visitors marvel at these hippos as they plunge into the water and swim right up to the glass. The Jules Verne Gallery, meanwhile, houses a Giant Pacific octopus. This cephalopod stretches out eight tentacles, each covered in some 280 suction cups.
Equipment: Rogue Fitness, Christian's Fitness Factory
Students should bring: Water
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 5?10 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Come ready to learn and sweat.
Amid the locker-lined walls of Markley Billiards' spacious playroom, hanging table lamps pour light onto pristine Brunswick Gold Crown tables and brand-new Diamond Pro-Am bar boxes. The well-lit and smoke-free pool hall promises that shooters won't have to squint as they angle for corner shots or launch games with a break that leaves the tables' smooth Simonis cloth tops as empty as a magician's rabbit farm. Open until or beyond midnight every night of the week, they keep pool players sated with sandwiches, hot dogs, and drinks while a digital jukebox belts out ideal rhythms for chalking a cue.
The mission to motivate others doesn't stop at Aim High Studio's name. Whether leading sweaty cyclists through a virtual Grand Canyon, stretching limbs in a heated yoga studio, or strengthening hugs with TRX bands, the instructors always strive to help each student meet his or her individual goals. To accomplish this, they maintain small class sizes and offer one-on-one and small-group personal-training sessions. They encourage students to modify their workouts and blend their methods??some classes even combine spinning and yoga. The staff also encourages its guests to meet their fitness goals by assuming a holistic approach via bodywork. Deep-tissue and trigger-point massage therapy joins Thai-yoga bodywork and nutrition counseling on the docket of comprehensive mind and body care.
One gym can hardly contain Master Solomon Brenner's martial-arts expertise, which is why his school—Action Karate—has expanded to 13 different locations. Brenner believes that the martial arts are a lifelong pursuit, so he takes on students aged 3–93.
His classes for kids blend fitness with self-discipline, whereas his classes for adults focus on toning exercises and self-defense. Not all of his classes involve combat; some dedicate entire hours to pure strength training or cool-pose striking. He and his staff also host birthday parties for kids, which include fun martial-arts instruction, games, and a ceremonial slicing of birthday cake with a samurai sword.