Matt White cinches his uniform with a fourth-degree black belt in tae kwon do, heads down to one of Triumph Martial Arts' three locations, and dishes up a fist-full of knowledge earned over 25 years of mat-slapping training. Recognized by the American Tae Kwon Do Association as the Regional Instructor of the Year in 2008 and 2011, Mr. White takes pride in combative victory and from passing those skills on.
In keeping with the Association's instructional format, Mr. White and his battery of four instructors teach the martial art and philosophy of tae kwon do to kids and adults. Tiny Tigers sessions reach out to students as young as 4 years old, teaching them important values such as helping around the house, excelling at schoolwork, and how to survive a wildebeest stampede. Students as old as 55 have started with no experience, going on to successfully earn their black belts.
The Science Station illuminates the minds of children and adults on the workings of science, math, and technology with hands-on exhibits, puzzles, and games. Play paleontologist with the Dinosaur Exploration Station, complete with time tunnel and dig box, or visit the Math Mania room to help kids hone number skills through games. In the Animal Clinic, tots can play doctor with faux-furry friends and learn how to care for real ones. The Science Station houses a Museum Store with education games for ongoing imagination stimulation. The Science Station is open Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Aspen Athletic Club amasses top-of-the-line equipment, seasoned trainers, and luxurious amenities within five gym spaces across Des Moines. A fleet of cardio and strength-training machinery from brands such as LifeFitness and Star Trac heavily populate the floors, allowing guests ample access to the equipment. In addition to a cardio theater, the Hickman gym boasts 12 onsite tennis courts and specialized studios for martial arts and women-only workouts. Visitors to the 14th Street location can sign up for aquatic classes or swim laps solo across the pool. Other amenities such as tanning, massage therapy, and gold-plated kettlebells vary from club to club.
Certified personal trainers plan out custom routines for clients, and highly qualified instructors lead Zumba steps, spinning seminars, and, at certain locations, fast-paced Les Mills classes. The professional staff also offer nutritional counseling at all locales.
A community pillar since 1956, the Iowa City Community Theatre has enlisted local dramatists to take to the stage for the fourth-wall-leaning musical farce The Drowsy Chaperone . A heartfelt and humorous examination of the interplay of life and art, the play depicts a devoted fan of musical theater as he literally slips into the world of his favorite cast album. As the comedic musical unfolds, audiences find themselves thoroughly bemused by the main character's constant footnoting of theatrical trivia, and English students flip frantically through encyclopedias to cite his sources. A nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering a love of theater in the community, ICCT reserves a spot for everybody—onstage, in the audience, or masked behind the subterranean organ.
At Downward Dog Yoga & Fitness, ancient poses fuel challenging workouts and traditional calisthenics summon inner peace. That's because both types of exercise have a common goal: bolstering health by building community. During the studio's signature Vinyasa class, yogis of all levels stretch and bend together, learning from each other as they follow the cues of a friendly, experienced teacher. The mesmerizing vocals of Sting and U2 join the pre-modern chants of Krishna Das to inspire students during deep-breathing exercises, which focus the mind as they dissolve stress. The temperature rises to 90 degrees for hot yoga and hot Pilates, helping loosen tight muscles and drain toxins from the body. Hot yoga builds strength and flexibility with sitting, standing, and inverted poses, whereas hot Pilates targets similar goals with core-sculpting isometrics and a focus on bodily alignment. Trainer-led boot camps explore the other end of the fitness spectrum with jumping jacks and burpees, which melt more calories than a fondue party at Richard Simmons's house. To unwind after class, students can book a massage-therapy appointment with Hannah Zahs, who infuses Swedish and shiatsu strokes with soothing essential oils.