Palmetto Motorsports Complex gets adrenaline pumping with miles of bike, kart, and ATV racing terrain. During the two-day adventure, families are free to whiz around the 1/5–mile clay kart track, churn through the ATV and bike sand drag, or practice extreme parallel parking in the mud pit. Young aspiring riders can settle into their seats and tear up the pee-wee track, whose small layout can be viewed in its entirety by parents, or navigate the small jumps, berms, and tabletops on the beginner motocross course. Pros wrestle with ramps and jumps on advanced courses such as the Palmetto Supercross SX track, amble down the 5.5-mile and 7.5-mile one-way trails, or take a break with the family to quell hunger with burgers, hot dogs, and drinks from the concession stand.
Dawson Hill, the founder of Columbia Area Piano Lessons, honed his musical skills at Emerson College, where he earned a degree in performing arts. Now, he teaches students of all experience levels to coax music from the ivory keys, even composing their own tunes. Students can opt to study classical music, jazz songs, blues, and other genres.
Mankind was never meant to breathe underwater, but the instructors at Columbia Scuba defy such limitations, helping students of all sorts—from small children to disabled adults—explore the forbidden depths. As young as 8, kids can start training with PADI Bubblemaker classes, using equipment suited to their smaller size, and swimmers of all ages can join Discover Scuba sessions to learn the basics of diving in the safety of a pool. For students looking to become certified divers, open-water diving and specialty diving courses test practical skills in unique environments, such as submerged shipwrecks filled with sunken coupons, whereas trips to the Florida springs or Cozumel convey the majestic experience of communing up close with marine wildlife.
Certified professional photographer Gene Taylor has fine-tuned his artistic vision while working in photojournalism and portrait photography for more than 30 years. During classes at Your Photo Safari, Gene introduces students to the photographic arts and the workings of DSLR cameras. Sessions begin in classroom settings, allowing students to get acquainted with camera basics as well as advanced features such as setting white balance and reducing blur. After learning how to navigate the multiple settings and buttons on their digital cameras, students traipse to area gardens to explore the natural world through their lenses. The hands-on experience allows students to take home artfully composed shots of plants bathed in natural light or trees planking over riverbanks in a bid for Internet fame.
As visitors walk through Brickhouse Gym's 12,000-square-foot facility, they see something different happening in every room. One door opens to reveal a forest of professional cardio equipment, and another uncovers a flurry of spinning stationary cycles. Further into the expansive gym, specialized practice rooms host circuit training, agility equipment, and free weights, as well as innovative turf-floor and open-air workout rooms. In private training rooms, spirited instructors help students cultivate flexibility, increase endurance, or prepare for cage matches with stubborn garden weeds with a variety of fitness classes in disciplines such as yoga and mixed martial arts.
Stronghold Gym, a full-service climbing and training facility, helps budding rock-scalers hone their abilities on a 45-foot climbing tower and two onsite bouldering caves. Climbers can scamper up the walls like a man with incredibly long legs and rubber-cement hands with the help of friends or opt to drop by from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends when staff members are present to help with belaying. After ascending to the rocky heights, individuals can hit Stronghold's cardio and weight training equipment to continue their workouts post-climb. Yoga and fitness classes are also offered onsite in its two fitness studios.