At Riviera Fitness Centers of Madison—a women-only fitness haven—patrons tackle Les Mills group fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment, and one-on-one personal training, all designed to make gals feel comfortable as they forge toward their fitness goals. The onsite childcare staff supervises tykes so moms can cartwheel off to classes such as BodyAttack and Zumba. During Zumba classes, the studio transforms into a club-like dance-party atmosphere, accented with colored lights and thumping Latin-inspired beats. The instructors lead the easy-to-follow dance steps on an elevated stage, allowing everyone to see the right moves instead of getting discouraged and reverting to the Hokey Pokey. Boot-camp sessions fuse cardio and resistance training to tone physiques as campers wield exercise equipment including kettlebells, barbells, and bosu balls.
In addition to getting fit during group training, ladies can seek one-on-one fitness advice during personal training sessions, which are tailored to suit their goals. Riviera Fitness Center also offers tanning, bronzing recently toned bodies for the beach or flexing in front of a mirror.
A U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association–rated master pilot, Matt Taber has been soaring through the skies since 1978, during which time he's managed to design several of his own gliders. He's also devised and constructed other contraptions, such as glider-towing equipment and lightweight tow planes—both of which his company, Lookout Mountain Flight Park, uses to teach new recruits how to surf the skies. Matt leads a team of USHPA-certified pilots and instructors that coaches students of all levels in basics and advanced maneuvers through on-the-ground training and hands-on tandem flights, during which pilots safely guide their charges over the scenic mountains and blurry bushes of Lookout Valley at altitudes of up to 4,000 feet. Conducted on a 55-acre private training facility, lessons can include the overnight use of amenities such as a pool, volleyball court, bathhouse, and cabins.
The Chattanooga Zoo opened its doors in 1937 with an exhibit containing two rhesus monkeys. Pretty soon, it had expanded to include bobcats, lions, and gators, until eventually becoming the venerable non-profit institution it is today, supporting conservation efforts for rare and endangered species around the world.
In the zoo's forest area, chimps, wildcats, and tortoises roam their habitats to the sound of churning water beneath two waterfalls. Red pandas scurry around a Himalayan habitat, and spider monkeys spin gossamer webs in the jungle area. Kids can play with goats and sheep at the petting zoo, or take a few revolutions on the carousel. With a refurbished frame from 1927, it spins guests on the backs of hand-carved seats fashioned after endangered animals such as snow leopards and low lying gorillas.
Behind the scenes, the zoo's caretakers work to rehabilitate hundreds of animals each year so that they can return to the wild. They also lead conservation efforts for rare species—including snow leopards, fennec foxes, and cotton-top tamarins—and educate thousands of students annually with interactive events catered to school curricula.
Surrounded by the majestic Cumberland Mountains, Goose Pond Colony’s 36 golf holes share the banks of Lake Guntersville with cozy cottages, a campground, and a full-service marina. The Colony Course, designed by renowned course architect George Cobb and opened in 1971, stretches 7,100 yards across a peninsula that juts out into the lake, a water-laden layout that will host the 2013 NJCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship. Players can see water from each of the course’s 18 holes, in the form of the surrounding lake, the two large inland ponds, and the sweat pouring out of overworked golf carts. Meanwhile, the slightly shorter Plantation Course is reached after a short ride north on State Route 79 and challenges players with its open fairways and bentgrass greens.
Goose Pond Colony’s proximity to a 69,200-acre waterway affords ample opportunities for recreational activities aside from golf, including boating, fishing, and paddleboarding. After a day spent reeling in largemouth bass, catfish, and wayward golf balls out of the lake, weary competitors can retire to The Docks Restaurant for soups, salads, and seafood.
Colony Course at a Glance:
Plantation Course at a Glance:
Whether training to become professional dancers or exploring ballet as a hobby, students at Huntsville Ballet School hone their craft under the guidance of seasoned dance experts. Artistic director Phillip Otto taught master classes in ballet at Yale and Vassar College, and school director Rachel Butler danced and taught across the world in places like China, Australia, and Turkey. The school operates in tandem with the Huntsville Ballet, giving dancers an opportunity to audition for performances alongside the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Former students have gone on to study at prestigious dance schools across the nation, while others have become mirror models for bedroom danceoffs.
Owner George Wade wants Steve's Cue and Grill to be a place where regulars and newbies mingle, knock back a few, and clink pool balls on one of the bar's 14 pool tables. As another stripe drives into the corner pocket, bar tables populate with 1/3-pound burgers, chili-slathered hot dogs, and platefuls of nachos and crispy fried appetizers. Guests can savor a philly steak sub or a spicy buffalo-chicken sandwich on the enclosed outdoor patio, peruse the eatery's retail billiards supplies, or surf the free WiFi for variations on the spelling of Steve, such as Stefan, Stephen, and Earl.