The phone rings. Michael Clark picks it up. "He made it," the father of one of Phenom Baseball Academy's students exclaims over the line. "He made the team." Michael, a former pro-baseball player and current local scout for the San Diego Padres, has received this call from many parents. He started the academy after his time as a high-school coach put him face-to-face with numerous youth players who would try out for his team and clearly struggle, suffering from a lack of sound fundamentals. Michael and his group of seasoned coaches lead their group and individual training sessions inside a 4,700-square-foot training facility, which is furnished with quality field turf and three batting cages. During sessions, players aged 8–18 years old move about the expansive field, hitting, catching, and throwing under the guidance of up to four instructors. Parents who want to watch can do so from the upstairs viewing area, which positions them safely away from flying balls and the catcher's hand-signal requests for a juice box.
The Louisville Equestrian Center is the realization of a childhood dream for owner, operator, and adept horsewoman Betsy Webb. Now found in the familiar confines of the Red Barn Arena, the center is home to a team of dedicated staff members and instructors. Nestled less than 20 minutes from Louisville in the rolling country hills between Taylorsville and Mt. Washington, the arena provides a picturesque setting for private and group lessons for all ages and experience levels. During these sessions, trainers illuminate horse-handling and riding fundamentals with the help of the center's stable of horses. Camps and clinics engage equestrian youngsters aged 4 and older, and pony parties entertain kids with experiences more rewarding and memorable than trying to ride a pile of My Little Pony action figures.
Founded by author and naturalist Joseph Yurt, Children's Nature Guide forges connections between youngsters and nature by emphasizing study, play, cultural diversity, and environmental stewardship. Groupon buyers may choose from a wealth of reading material stocked in the Nature Guide Bookshop, with each tome representing another step on the grassy path towards eco-enlightenment. Sweeten dreams with a bedtime rendition of Good Night, Little Bear by Richard Scarry ($3.99), intended for ages prekindergarten and up, or encourage fidgety young fingers and nimble toes to dig into Return to Fairyopolis by Cicely Mary Barker ($19.99), a suggested read for ages 7–9. Flora fanatics will go bananas for North American Wildlife: Trees and Nonflowering Plants ($16.95), suggested for ages 10 and up, and fully formed persons may wish to roll their eyes around the pages of A Year On the Wing: Four Seasons In a Life With Birds ($24), which chronicles author Tim Dee's 40 years of ornithological observation.
Organized by Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, the exhibit includes portraiture of famous 20th-century luminaries such as Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and Pablo Picasso. Celebrated Armenian photographer Karsh devoted his life to capturing stunning snapshots of some of the world's most famous actors, statesman, and cultural revolutionaries. This limited-time exhibit allows viewers to ponder the subtleties of history's great visages while appreciating Karsh's eye for capturing the famous in Funyuns-munching candid shots.
A reading specialist with decades of experience, Candace Meyer couldn't stop wondering why some kids have trouble in the classroom, while others excel. She noticed, however, that many of her struggling students shared the same difficulties: poor balance, lack of rhythm, and difficulty with visual tracking. To her, these symptoms all pointed to one root—the inner ear.
Meyer's research led her to establish connections between inner-ear functionality and learning ability in children. It also inspired her to found Minds-in-Motion, an organization that combines brain training with movement more safely than hosting lectures in the middle of a football field. The company's specialists create customized programs for each student based on assessments that measure sensory and motor skills. By helping children to develop both types of skills at the same time, Minds-in-Motion encourages them to succeed in school and life.
For this 5K race, a normally tame park or other venue is transformed into Mean Streets, an urban-themed obstacle course. In the Construction Zone, participants navigate over and under traffic barriers of different heights followed by a dive into a trash-filled dumpster. After bypassing the dumpster zone, runners test their stamina as cat burglars, scrambling through first-floor windows and trespassing through backyards. They barely touch ground before scaling upward once again on the Time-to-Climb portion of the course, which features a Jason Bourne-esque run across the rooftops. Finally, contestants climb out a window and onto the fire escape, swinging across an 8-foot ladder to reach the finish.