The eco-stewards at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes work to conserve a natural bundle of lakes, streams, marshes, fields, ravines, and forests on the lush site's 20 acres, in addition to teaching environmental-education classes and hosting community-building events. The household membership contributes to the cause and nets families a grab bag of nature-center goodies, including discounts on programs and workshops, facility rentals, and early registration for all outdoor adventure camps. Lapsed naturalists can hopscotch along two trails, where flora such as sycamores, hickory, and sassafras surround the habitats of raccoons, red-tailed hawks, red foxes, Redd Foxx, and salamanders. Or feel free to spy on the flight patterns of local birds; the Audubon Society dubbed Shaker Lakes as an Important Bird Area for its population of autonomous aviators.
The O Gallery’s owner Kristen Olsen—an accomplished artist in her own right, who’s shown work as far away as Rome—has made her business into a showcase for more than a dozen of Cleveland’s most talented artists. Come evening, the chic space transforms into a classroom for adults interested in making something beautiful while sipping something delicious during Artful Expeditions: Uncorked classes.
Art After Dark fosters creative expression in a nightlife atmosphere. Classes provide all the necessary materials to create paintings, decorate wine glasses, or carve pumpkins, and students can bring their favorite drinks to celebrate their new artistic accomplishments. Kids' sessions focus on age-appropriate pictures during small classes and birthday parties.
Grape guru and oenophile Marianne Frantz, who holds a diploma from London's Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and who earned an Advanced Sommelier qualification from the Court of Master Sommeliers, founded American Wine School in 2002. She and her school have gone on to shepherd more than 10,000 sippers through classes, tastings, and grape-lookalike contests. Marianne, along with her knowledgeable staff, impart their vino wisdom in classes that range from the basic Wine 101 to the more extensive WSET certification courses. The school's classes and special events have even spilled into seven different states, teaching tongues across the nation to swirl, sniff, and taste the adult beverages and analyze why drinking wine while doing taxes is a bad idea.
Asian Sun Martial Arts and Fitness helps students cultivate a well-rounded self-defense system by providing instruction in tae kwon do, karate, kung fu, kickboxing, and certified Krav Maga. At the core of each class are fitness and self-defense. Instructors teach students of all fitness levels and who range from 2.5-year-olds to senior citizens. Asian Sun Marital Arts and Fitness' team of expert black belt instructors have also boosted the popularity of its Cardio Fit Kickboxing classes, which have sculpted lean, strong muscles for participants since 1994.
Cleveland Ballroom Company's owner and principal instructor Nichy Vegas imparts graceful dance techniques to singles and couples in a variety of ballroom styles. Lessons range from beginner to advanced, allowing tyro twirlers and experienced foot-movers alike to learn new techniques and enjoy the fun of ballroom dance. Classes such as beginning and intermediate rhythm teach the importance of well-timed movements, a critical element of any basic two-step, foxtrot, or bullet-dodging routine. Alternate styles include tango, cha-cha, salsa, and the classic waltz—call ahead for information on future scheduling.