Voted No. 4 in the Top 10 Birthday Chains for Kid Birthday Parties in 2010 by Parents magazine, Pump It Up pulses with inflatable play sets and actually encourages kids to bounce off the walls. Within the indoor playground, a stalwart staff oversees the neighborhood of bounce houses and air-filled playthings, such as a classic bounce castle and slick inflatable slide that cushions children's heartfelt reenactments of Cool Runnings. Throughout the week, families can pop in for open play, or tote along their own mini entourage for birthday-party packages complete with private rooms and complimentary invites. Parties come as straightforward packages or as themed events that place the birthday child in structured story adventures where they take on the role of a mighty and clever superhero or pirate captain that drank too much saltwater.
Filing just one annual tax return can be stressful for most people, but at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, the tax-savvy team calmly files thousands each tax season. The network of Detroit tax centers?a subset of a nationwide chain with more than 7,000 locations?specializes in individual federal and state income tax returns and their tax professionals boast between 200 and 500 hours of tax law training. Offering services that are often more affordable than do-it-yourself software, staff tax experts also back their handiwork with an accuracy guarantee; clients are reimbursed for any penalties that result from a staffer?s error. Returns also come with free online filing, which reassures taxpayers with round-the-clock return status alerts and saves them the hassle of wondering whether the Monopoly Man has received their papers yet.
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The caretakers at The Learning Experience emphasize education first, employing a proven set of teaching methods such as Fun with Phonics and their own L.E.A.P. program, designed to meet children at their current level of development. Infants as young as 6 weeks are nestled in their own individual cribs and allowed to roam an exploration-inspiring playzone, and those just a few months older may get the chance to learn sign language. Older kids move at their own pace through more advanced classes that cover early reading skills, basic math concepts, and dance and movement sessions. Besides preparing preschoolers for kindergarten with accelerated literacy and critical thinking, the curriculum includes introductions to modern technology, from digital cameras to DVD players.
Educational explorations take place in an environment designed for safety: brightly colored walls with rounded corners help prevent accidents in the halls, and Child Safe 'N Secure key tags can reveal the location of any student at the push of a button. Outside, kids frolic on playgrounds rooted in a cushy rubberized surface, and indoors is a "Make-Believe Boulevard," where cartoon animals run retail stores and children can get a taste of what it will be like when they're all grown up and can reach the top of the fire station.
Inside a spacious 6,000-square-foot facility, Christine Fox, a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and her staff provide training, daytime and overnight boarding, and grooming services for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Daycare and overnight-boarding services provide canines with ample indoor play areas and individual walks, during which a trainer reinforces basic commands, such as “come,” “heel," and “stop leaving the toilet seat up.” Multiple exercise sessions also teach socialization techniques, wearing pups out for tranquil rides home. The facility also houses separate areas for small and senior dogs to ensure places for them to play safely.
During group training sessions, canines learn basic etiquette, such as to come when called and how not to pull on the leash. Dogs can also go on to learn more advanced commands, graduating to agility training or acting classes to teach them how to obey commands in busy film studios. Individual training sessions offer one-on-one attention, either in the home or at the facility.