Though the birth of a child changes the lives of all parents, it doesn’t usually spark inspiration for a new business. But for the Soon family, the arrival of son Jordan Alexander highlighted the need for a place where little ones can explore, learn, and socialize through interactive play. So the parents created Diddalidoo to fill this void.
The Soon family's playground welcomes kids aged 0–4 to play with toys and solve puzzles within its colorful confines. Separate areas cater to different age groups, with a baby area perfect for honing sensory skills and discussing the rising costs of rattles. A two-level playground looms over the toddler play area and creates laughs with its bright-yellow racing slides. Granting breaks from playtime, a quiet room caters to nursing mothers, a boutique shop sells gifts, and an onsite café serves up health-focused snacks and food for hungry teddy bears.
Dart Ops creates a safe indoor battlefield where players vie for victory using toy dart guns loaded with foam ammo propelled by short blasts of air. Neon-colored screens, walls made of mesh netting, and hanging targets pepper the arena space, which transforms into a monsoon of flying foam at the start of each friendly battle. As games progress, players can curl their trigger fingers around more advanced weaponry, including velcro-tipped darts that adhere to targets or the weak spots of enemy sock puppets. A marshall ensures fair play and organizes different types of game play, such as Free for All, Capture the Flag, and Protect the President. Aside from open play, Dart Ops' staff also host birthdays in a party booth and organize monthly Tour of Duty tournaments.
When eager students haul their clubs onto the grounds at San Bruno Golf Center, they may find themselves pulled in more than one direction. Their first inclination may be toward the grass practice area; at 20,000 square feet it almost has its own gravitational pull. Or they might be drawn to the center’s 65 mat hitting stations. These are spread across an open-air upper deck and covered lower deck that protects players from the rain or any tears that fall from the upper deck. The short game area, meanwhile, spreads across two acres and features two chipping greens, a putting green, three bunkers, and a 75-yard tee box shot. When golfers have worn themselves out with divot digging and perfecting the arc of a gentle draw, they can recline on the clubhouse’s redwood deck and look out over their fellow clubbers.
UFC Gym?s instructors thumb their noses at the suggestion that fighting has no place in public. They happily subvert this social convention, leading students through safe and noncontact fitness classes inspired by the pugilistic arts. Each boxing, kickboxing, or group MMA class is lead by a professional fighter, who teaches basic skills during the up-tempo, one-hour workouts. Students warm up with plyometrics before strapping on 16-ounce gloves and hitting a heavy bag with combination of kicks, knees, and elbows. Classes may burn between 800 and 1,000 calories per session, improve coordination and stamina, and increase your tolerance for listening to the theme from Rocky IV on repeat.
Helmed by martial arts instructor Willy Cahill for nearly 50 years, the instructors at Cahill's Judo Academy dojo drill students in the martial arts of Kodokan judo and jujitsu. In spacious studio interiors, students embark on up to 2.5-hour classes, rehearsing throws, grapples, strikes, and joint locks to subdue opponents and force stubborn jam jars to yield their contents. The instructors are well-versed in the combat-focused jujitsu and in the less combat-intensive practice of judo, working to hone state- and international-championship medal winners participating in Olympic events, Pan American Games, and special competitions.
Trained by legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner, Christy English Wioncek opened the Bay Area Acting Studio to teach a new generation of actors how to—in the words of her mentor—"live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." Her stable of equally Meisner-steeped instructors leads classes including introductory adult courses, intensive courses for working thespians, and children's classes for young'uns looking to break into the industry early or convince babysitters they've been diagnosed with a life-threatening ice-cream deficiency.