In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in locations around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their child’s development, their child learns to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of preschool knitting circles.
Young Chefs Academy provides a fun, safe, and motivating environment for kids to become acquainted with the art of food and food presentation. Engaging chef instructors instill lessons of kitchen etiquette, safety, table setting, proper food handling, and more in youngsters who are growing up in a world full of laser can openers and pasta rakes. Classes vary at each location and educate a variety of age groups—with specially catered classes for the kindergarten elite (ages 3–5) and junior line cooks (around ages 6–11)—about basic food-prep skills for nutritional meals. Senior flambéists (teens and tweens) are offered advanced classes that dig deeper into kitchen secrets and hone specific skills and techniques that expand the parameters of cooking creativity. Check out the respective schedules for North Druid Hills, Sandy Springs, and Duluth to see what appeals to you.
Blueprint To Success helps aspiring musicians expand their knowledge and reach their mellifluous goals. Brass instrument lessons instill the basics in kids as young as 5. The private lessons also cover such subjects as sound recording, soundproofing, and business aspects of the music industry. Once musicians feel ready to show off the fruits of their labor, Blueprint To Success offers recording sessions as well as lyric-writing assistance and vocal training.
Housed in a shiny new 3,300-square-foot facility bedecked in comforting hues of lime green, white, and blue, Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy is an ideal place to extend the limbs, tauten the muscles, and purify the mind-matter. Choose three yoga or Pilates mat courses available on the schedule and benefit from friendly, helpful instruction. Undertake the mat class for a challenging workout that uses the body as resistance against the tyrannical polished floor below. A tender-footed yogi may wish to instigate more spiritual stress destruction in the Basics Yoga course, where a sage instructor leads a tranquil journey through breathing exercises and signature backbends and inversions.
Cosmos Fitness, named one of the area’s top 10 fitness centers by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, earns its designation by building relationships between patrons and fitness experts in their locally owned and operated gyms. However, its coziness belies the scope of the facilities. Instructors lead the national exercise programs, Zumba and SilverSneakers. In Zumba classes, students shake off pounds to Latin beats, getting a rigorous cardio workout with simple salsa and rumba steps. SilverSneakers courses, meanwhile, tailor their workouts to seniors and include SilverSplash, a pool-based class where students stay afloat with kickboards, rather than by saddling a balloon seahorse.
Cosmos Fitness also powers solo workouts with extensive cardio equipment, free weights, and a team of personal trainers. The sauna and steam room flank an indoor pool where swimmers can hone their breaststroke or chat up the local mer-people. Before workouts, parents can drop their kids at the Marietta location’s childcare center, whose primary-colored decor matches its trove of rainbow-hued toys.
At Formwell, owners Rami and Heather Odeh and Andy Berman keep their mission focused on personal training by seeking out credentialed trainers—including elite trainers who have worked at Formwell for at least five years and who possess a combination of a master’s degree in exercise science and advanced training certification. Throughout the indoor and outdoor facilities, they lead clients through tailored workouts that may incorporate traditional fitness equipment, such as free weights and cardio machines. They may also draw upon alternative exercises, such as lifts on Olympic rings, kettlebell swings, and tug-o-war with a horse.
Beyond personal training, Formwell’s team leads partner training and small-group classes, such as CrossFit, plus a weight-loss program that extends to nutritional education. Tiled bathrooms with showers let guests transition between work and the gym, and a children’s room entertains young ones with a television, DVD player, and video games.