As the father of a 2-year old, Tim Alley found himself running around to playdates scattered throughout the Bay Area, scooting to toddler-friendly lessons in art, gymnastics, and dance. While he loved the programming, he wished that he and his daughter weren't confined to such a tight schedule. So, he turned to his brother-in-law, Tom Limbert, head teacher at a local preschool, and they began to work on their own children's studio at Studio Grow—a supplementary preschool atmosphere with a focus on unstructured learning where children can play throughout the day. True to its name, Studio Grow now welcomes tots at three area studios. Though programs and amenities vary by location, kids might frolic through a color-splashed dance room, construct crafty masterpieces from watercolors, play-doh, and crayons in an art room, or plunge into ball pits. At all three locations, kids can tinker in a room filled with puzzles, toy trucks, dress-up clothes, and lego building sets. in a slide-filled run room. Instructors stay on hand throughout each romp, ready to lead Berkeley guests through sing-alongs or immerse Concord’s small listeners in story time. Teachers may also balloon a giant primary-colored parachute over the playroom for kids to scurry under and use to shield themselves from sudden broccoli storms. Though staffers emphasize unstructured play, they also lead summer camps for children up to aged 6 with guided romps through the studio; as well as Friday-night babysitting sessions, where kids of all ages can play sans parents until 10 p.m.
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." This simple motto on Spectrum of Science Foundation's website encapsulates the way the foundation's teachers help children learn to love science. Instead of being subjected to dry lectures and tiring moonwalks, students develop solar-powered craft, build geodesic domes, and raise their own carnivorous plants, thereby discovering for themselves how awe-inspiring science can be. After-school science labs, class visits, and summer camps use these fun-filled techniques to explore the hard sciences, including physics, chemistry, biology, aeronautics, and marine science. To ensure every student has a chance to learn about their world, Spectrum of Science Foundation also offers scholarships.
Earl Anthony's Dublin Bowl is an homage to champion bowler Earl Anthony, a six-time PBA Player of the Year and a member of the PBA and ABC Halls of Fame. Fittingly, Anthony's namesake bowling alley takes the sport as seriously as he did?it features 40 championship lanes, each equipped with Brunswick Vector automatic scoring to prevent players from having to borrow their neighbors' fingers and toes for adding purposes. In between games, players can wet their lips in the full-service bar, chow down on pizzas and sandwiches at the snack bar, and catch the game on the lounge's big screen TV. And, on Saturday nights, the lights drop and lasers flare during Solar Extreme bowl, a cosmic event that features a light show with music and videos, and rages until 1:30 a.m.
Castro Village Bowl facilitates hours of pin-felling entertainment from early morning until late in the evening. The alley hosts 32 well-maintained lanes with automatic scoring machines and bumpers for bowlers under the age of 7. In addition to open hours, Castro Village Bowl provides league opportunities for children, adults, and families, finally giving parents the perfect justification for having named their daughter "Pin Crusher." A snack bar and full-service cocktail lounge is also available to provide refreshments for postgame celebrations.
On the winding dirt trails that snake through Mount Diablo?s nearly untouched terrain, the sound of cars disappears, and riders can imagine they have been transported back to the 18th century. Nestled in the mountain?s foothills, a 20-stall horse ranch and equestrian center teaches fledgling equestrians the art of trotting down those trails. Arabians expert Nancy Dupont has spent more than four decades presiding over Castle Rock Arabians, where instructors boast accreditation with the Certified Horsemanship Association and many of them have claimed championship titles.
The center?s lessons welcome children as young as 2 to join a Tiny Riders program, whereas older pupils who have conquered the basics can learn advanced techniques, such as jumping through bank-vault walls. In addition to hosting classes and trail rides for students, the center organizes camps and hosts parties for birthday celebrants or pegasi celebrating the sprouting of their wings.
Between partner-based exercises and the inspirational commands of a certified personal trainer, community is a constant motivator during EmpowerFIT’s boot-camp classes. The savvy team of fitness gurus switch up the maneuvers of each daily class to help keep students engaged, and high- and low-impact variations of each move scale to the abilities of each student. The result is a full-body workout that relies on functional movements such as jumping, running, pushing, pulling, and bopping it.