In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers 4 months old–12 years old with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents magazine.
When The Original First Turn Steakhouse opened in 1984, it was so close to the Daytona Speedway that diners could almost feel the breeze of the checkered flag as it signaled the end of a race. In those days, the Hilliard family’s hand-cut steaks and chicken wings drew professional drivers and racing teams straight from the track. Though the Hilliards have since relocated their restaurant, they have maintained the same racing memorabilia, all-American menu, and regular customers—some of whom helped with the move by stuffing as many rib eyes as they could into the trunks of their stock cars.
If one of those drivers was to take a detour through the kitchen today, he would find chefs grilling USDA Black Angus steaks and coating wings in 12 different flavors of sauce, from mild honey barbecue to the so-called “suicide sauce.” Diners seated on the sprawling 5,000-square-foot deck can order oysters from the raw bar and drinks from the tiki bar, raising their voices to be heard over the live bands that perform five nights a week.
The aestheticians at Let's Face It Ageless Skincare Spa line eyes with permanent makeup, smooth foreheads with Botox, and spruce up fingers and toes with mani-pedis. They also incorporate the anti-aging powers of Circadia and Vivant skincare products during 11 types of facials and 8 types of PCA peels, which aim to improve skin texture and tone on faces, limbs, and torsos. Their deft hands slather bodies in herbal wraps and sea-salt scrubs to nourish their client's skin and remove any evidence of a shadow.
The spa's soft music lulls stress from bodies as dim lights sparkle across chocolate-colored furnishings. This modern decor is also present in Let's Face It's salon area, where a symphony of blow-dryers hum over stylists transforming lackluster manes into vibrant new dos with Privé, Schwarzkopf, and Wella haircare brands.
Jump!Zone throws open its doors to the kids of the world, inviting them to frolic on a safe, bouncy play area comprising six themed inflatables. Little ones revel in the shadow of an air-filled Spongebob Squarepants, who watches out for invading car dealership gorillas. After practicing for their sweet 16 on the Scooby Do Mystery Machine, kids can explore the depths of the Atlantis attraction. Foosball, air-hockey tables, and a full arcade also occupy young bodies between leaps and bounds in the bounce castle. The Battle Zone Combat Play arena is a glow-in-the-dark space houses Bazooka Ball, which uses paintball markers that shoot 2 inch foam balls at opponents. During arena play sessions, parents take advantage of free WiFi in the caf? area, which also slings toothsome snacks to zap appetites accrued from hours of play.
Kula Yoga’s Sanskrit namesake means "family" or "community," a sentiment the staff of certified instructors strives to reflect in the nonjudgmental, inclusive atmosphere of the yoga studio. Teachers guide pupils of all skill levels through yoga styles in a variety of difficulty levels, including beginner-friendly Hatha classes that acquaint students to the yoga’s foundational poses, simple breathing exercises, and secret handshakes. Instructors keep the practice space’s muted walls and gleaming hardwood floors warm during heated Vinyasa stretch sessions, where experienced students flow through a vigorous sequence of athletic postures, including advanced full inversions, to build strength, flexibility, and balance.
When John Ritter thinks back to 1948, he can almost taste the frozen treats he churned out during his after-school job at the local ice-cream parlor. Now, after a 35-year career as a film animator, he helps others to enjoy similarly sweet memories at Ritter's Frozen Custard. Here, friendly staffers handcraft each batch of frozen custard, an ultrapremium ice cream as smooth as a jazz record dipped in chocolate. At the counter, guests can sample the flavors of the day, which range from tart blueberry to gooey, crunchy mocha-almond fudge. Scoops of classic vanilla—along with more than 25 toppings—fill specialty creations such as brownie sundaes, hand-dipped malts, and freezer-ready ice-cream sandwiches.