Plants and flames should usually be kept apart, but when John Bartram settled on a 102-acre plot of land in 1728, he was lit with a "Botanick fire" that inspired him to create a comprehensive catalogue of local plant life. Bartram's Garden carries on his enthusiasm for making a “compleat Discovery of the Native Growth in America," collecting an array of native plants, including the oldest Ginkgo biloba in North America and the Franklinia alatamaha, which John discovered in Georgia and saved from extinction. Bartram's Garden has been a site of historic significance since 3,000 B.C., when Native Americans left behind numerous artifacts, including flakes from stone tools and fire-cracked rock. After Bartram settled on the land, it became a meeting place with his friends, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, with whom he founded the American Philosophical Society and the country's first beach-volleyball league. As King George III's royal botanist, Bartram was charged with shipping crates of precious seeds back to Britain. He helped color Britain’s gardens with new magnolias, rhododendrons, and sugar maples, none of which had been seen outside of America, and published the first nursery catalog in the United States in 1783. Today, the garden stretches more than 45 acres of parkland, wildlife habitats, tidal wetlands, and a reclaimed meadow. Visitors can wander the grounds and gaze at Bartram's austere stone cottage, or look around at the same trees and plants that Bartram discovered centuries ago. Past the manicured nursery and orchard, a recently completed mile-long trail extends to the Schuylkill riverfront and east coast greenway.
When Dr. John Gabbert Bowman became Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh after World War I, he had a vision of a monument to education. So he built it, creating an astonishingly detailed work of architectural art that was also a fully usable addition to the growing university's classroom space.
The Cathedral of Learning didn't just honor the university?it was a tribute to the city itself. More than two dozen rooms serve as portals into a golden era of the history and heritage of nations ranging from Yugoslavia to Africa's ancient Asante kingdoms. And the collection is still expanding.
The Europe-centric first floor boasts the oldest rooms. Modeled on a Romanian Orthodox monastery, the Romanian Room is equipped with hand-carved chairs and an Orthodox iconostasis, while the stone arches and column bas reliefs of the Irish room symbolize the Gaelic oratories of the 12th century. On the third floor, visitors find the Indian room, boasting dramatic arena seating and a colorful watercolor triptych, and the baroque style of the Ukrainian classroom with vividly carved wood and colorful ceramics traditionally designed to test the willpower of rowdy young students.
Ace Pilot Training's flight instructors prepare students for private licenses and commercial licenses for any vehicle capable of lifting itself off the ground. They combine on-the-ground classroom instruction with flight simulators emulating the latest cockpits, before putting students behind the controls of an actual small plane or helicopter. Students attend multi-class courses that result in various levels of certification for specific classes of aircraft.
In the studio of Allen Stoneware Gallery, nine pottery wheels stand still, each waiting for a student to throw his or her first project. When pupils pour in, these wheels spin into action. Hands get messy, brows furrow, and vases spin into their intended shapes. After a trip to the kiln and a quick rub to free any accidentally-trapped genies, the dishes are ready to be taken home.
This is just one type of class offered at the Gallery, where artist Vickie Allen-Shea draws upon 38 years of art-making and art-teaching experience to make the community a little more vibrant. In addition to throwing and sculpting lessons, as well as casual BYOB workshops, her studio serves as a boutique. Shoppers can take home one-of-a-kind dishes and figures, or commission a custom-designed piece made to match their vision.
Dreams take flight in the most literal of ways at New Horizons Aviation, where professional pilots introduce guests to the experience of flight first-hand. Based in Reading Regional Airport, the flight school relies on a comprehensive instructional program known as Flight Training 101, which unites rigorous training with a flexible approach. The program?s innovative progress tracking system measures students? skills as they advance through basic tasks such as taxiing the plane along the runway and taking off. In addition to flight instruction, New Horizons Aviation offers aircraft rental, aerial photography, and a pilot shop stocked with essential parts and accessories.
Winner of more than 100 mixed-martial-arts competitions, Tiger Schulmann shares his pride and love for fighting and self-defense with both adults and children in gyms across five states. From first-time grapplers to expert muay thai fighters, students of all fitness and experience levels are welcome to dive into a class at Schulmann’s. At more than 47 locations, adults can take classes in kickboxing, MMA, and jujitsu—the last of which instills students with the skill and confidence to take down opponents of any size, strength, or telekinetic ability. Kids, meanwhile, can learn martial arts for fun, or gain useful experience in bully prevention; the kids’ classes help victims immediately identify and safely diffuse situations when pitted against an aggressor.