The Summit Area YMCA with its Berkeley Heights location and the Madison Area YMCA serve as community gathering places where principles are put into practice. The cause-driven organizations focus on healthy living, social responsibility, and youth development. The Learning Circle (Summit Area) and the F.M. Kirby Children's Center (Madison Area) take care of babies as young as 6 weeks old, and babysitting services afford parents the opportunity to explore the Y while childcare professionals watch little ones.
The Y also aims to keep kids and their families healthy with sports leagues, youth sports clinics, group fitness classes, and a fitness center equipped with a climbing wall, Olympic free-weight room, and a pool. All of the Y’s programs are accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay or perform a back handspring.
The Watershed Butterfly Festival, presented by the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, will teach families about their local environment. Kids can get face to antennae with butterflies and other insects at the insect zoo, and families can explore nature on hayrides, walks, and at the festival's interactive enviro-zones. After learning all about a butterfly's lifecycle and rambling along on a trail, guests can take in the fest's butterfly parade. Other entertainment will include live music from Grammy-nominated kids' artist Miss Amy and classic rock from The Dadz. Food and art will also be available from local artisans.
Helmed by lifelong artist Cindy Laliwala, The Painter's Loft unleashes children's and adults' inner creativity through welcoming workshops for all skill levels. Adult sessions allow guests to bring drinks and snacks, encouraging guests to socialize while they learn to paint a special themed picture. Children's classes, meanwhile, begin with lessons that focus on drawing and painting skills and advance to cover an array of art forms, teaching kids how to create watercolor paintings, carvings, and even mosaics.
Custom collages from Pixtac bring unadorned walls to life with clean, borderless personal photos printed on acrylic glass. After uploading favorite wedding, baby, or other personal photos to the design site, customers choose a template to piece together collages, using simple editing software to resize, crop, and filter pictures for the perfect look. Once submitted, user creations are then digitally printed and mounted to acrylic glass panels that create a floating appearance when hung.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a California mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children's cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes for parents, newborns, and children under 1 year that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
Mike Kelly had a sore back, not to mention torn-down shower curtains, a decimated bathroom, and clogged drains, all courtesy of his 160-pound newfoundland, Gordo. He decided to start a self-service dog-wash business, not simply for his own sake but for other sore, slobber-riddled dog owners as well.
And so In n Out Self Serve Dog Wash was born. There, pet owners find a series of green-walled semiprivate stations that house walkup tubs for a variety of dog sizes, including a couple of extra-large sizes to accommodate massive pups or several small dogs that became stuck together after an ill-fated jelly-sandwich incident. Equipped with washing hoses and shampoos, dog owners can disrupt muddy paws and fur before rinsing and styling their pooch's pompadour with a high-velocity, no-heat blow dryer. Or they can seek out the help of the shop's professional grooming services, which include nail trimming, ear cleaning, and packages with breed-standard trims.