Across nearly three-fourths of the United States, AMF Bowling Co. reverberates year-round as families, friends, and competitors send bowling balls in search of upright pins careening down slick lanes. The company first established itself as an industry leader in 1946, the same year the sport introduced automated pinspotters.
Today, more than 20 million bowlers annually make AMF their battleground for wars against pins. As the largest owner and and operator of bowling centers in the US, AMF locations offer high-tech scoring technology, a classic design, and a menu stocked with American-inspired classics such as wings, pizzas, burgers, and beer.
Against a backdrop of lime-green walls and painted murals of palm trees, monkeys, and children at play, sock-footed youths scale the collection of inflatable structures that fill Jump Oasis's massive playroom. Leaping is the chief activity at Jump Oasis, where kids aged 1–16 bound about vibrantly colored bounce houses and shoot down 18-foot slides as monitors ensure safe play. At a stage area flanked by black walls, children bust moves playing Wii dance games and churn out pop music while crooning along to more than 300 karaoke songs to serenade parents as an apology for forgetting their anniversary. Every other Friday night, the playground is open to preteens aged 8–12, who dance to a DJ's tunes or compete in games of Just Dance 2 under the glow of disco lights. Parents keep an eye on their kids while also keeping track of sports scores as they recline on the leather couch surrounding a big-screen television in the playroom. Nearby, foam flooring pads an area exclusively for toddlers, where they can crawl and babble far away from prying ears trying desperately to decode baby talk.
At C2 It, LLC, horses are the helpers. Since 2007, the facility has offered equine-assisted therapies to individuals with multiple sclerosis, autism, Down Syndrome, and many other conditions. A pair of highly qualified professionals oversees these programs, including Caroline Jaffee, who is nationally certified through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.
The facility's human staff joins forces with therapeutic horses, each of which goes through extensive training and must present a squeaky-clean criminal record before joining the C2 It team. Once on the relaxed, secluded property, the well-tempered steeds serve as both physical and mental therapists, helping special-needs visitors increase their strength, improve their motor skills, and build personal relationships.
Brianne Gould defies the adage that "those who can't do, teach." Where many acting instructors never make it past summer stock or dinner theater, Gould's résumé of juicy roles is the envy of many an actor. From her recurring role as Brianna Ortiz on Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns to her work in Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son and the Lifetime movie The Wronged Man, Gould knows what it takes to carry a scene, and to get major exposure. Through her acting school, The Monologue Girl, Brianne prepares fledgling thespians for the spotlight. In weekend workshops featuring scene-study exercises that instill students with effective acting, improv, and audition techniques, Brianne enables tomorrow's Poitiers and Streeps with her proven expertise.
Fitness 19's founders launched their first family-oriented gyms in 2003, hoping to splash the exercising experience with local flavor and familiarity. At each of seven Georgia locations, Life Fitness cardio machines—including treadmills and ellipticals—unite with strength-training machines and free weights to help members to build leaner physiques as certified personal trainers patrol the deep-red-carpeted workout area. The expert staff can also guide clients through yoga-, martial-arts, and weight-loss-centric personal-training sessions. Every location also hosts a kids' room, where youngsters can craft macaroni kettlebells under the supervision of a full-time staff member.
Although each of the seven Just Fitness 4U locations has its own distinctions?such as the Lawrenceville location's 24/7 hours or the Marietta location's 25,000 sq. ft. facility and marble lobby?they more or less share the same tools for getting in shape. For starters, each is furnished with state-of-the-art Life Fitness and Hammer Strength equipment, which can be used or lifted to increase strength. Moreover, the facilities have a team of certified personal trainers and group fitness instructors who lead one-on-one workouts and fitness classes such Pilates, Zumba, yoga, and spinning, respectively.