Discovery Center Springfield understands that the best learning happens during play, so it fields creative discovery through a variety of hands-on exhibits including an anti-gravity mirror, an astronomy gallery, and a miniature TV studio. Kids can ride a bike suspended 20 feet in the air or don a lab coat and explore the mysteries of DNA.
In October 2005, Doug Stritzel tested his 16 years of restaurant experience by opening Pickleman's, a sandwich shop focused on fresh ingredients and hot subs. Judging by the eatery's success—the initial shop spawned 11 additional locations across the Midwest—Stritzel's experiment worked. Each day, the ovens churn out a lineup of hot subs and pizzas topped with steaming ingredients. Toasted sandwiches meld zesty flavors, such as salami, capicola, and giardiniera peppers, in a torpedo-shaped package that spins in an edible spiral when thrown. Chefs also man the ovens to craft thin-crust pizzas bedecked with chicken, blue cheese, and buffalo sauce, but spare the menu's soups and chopped salads from the flames.
Irish pubs are renowned for putting Guinness on a pedestal, but Dublin?s Pass Irish Pub takes that adoration to a whole new level. Virtually every libation on the pub?s drink menu features the stout mixed with other bar favorites, including Jameson, Coca-Cola, and champagne. Guinness even makes its way into the kitchen, where it spikes the buffalo sauce that coats chicken wings and the cheese sauce that accompanies fries cut by hand and the occasional Jedi mind trick. Not everything, however, comes soaked in Guinness?fried bread pudding, for instance, arrives crowned with a warm caramel drizzle. To accompany such hearty Irish feasts, Dublin?s Pass hosts trivia every Monday, live music on weekends, and musicians strumming traditional Irish tunes every Wednesday at the Southside location.
Literally every single thing on BYOPizza's menu can be customized. Guests can build their own personal 10-inch pies from unique ingredients including chipotle-pesto sauce, lobster, and vegan sausage. If you'd rather not experiment, you can order a pre-designed specialty pizza such as the Jalape?o Popper pie with cheddar and cream cheese. And whatever time you lose by dreaming up your pizza is made up for by the cooks who bake your creation in 90 seconds flat in a 900-degree brick oven. Salads are also made to the customer's specifications, and even a Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain means people can infuse their sodas with more than 100 flavor combinations, including "ice."
Kevin Fisher and Lawrence Blankenship are Trekkies with a passion for all things sci-fi, but when their local Star Trek convention closed down, they took it upon themselves to start their own. Now, the founders of Trek Con Springfield bring together fans from all over the area for a three-day convention celebrating the best in extraterrestrial entertainment. Celebrity panels have drawn the likes of Tim Russ from Star Trek: Voyager and contestants from Syfy's Face Off, and costume contests encourage visitors to don their finest cosplay apparel for a chance to win prizes or just prove who's the coolest Klingon on the block.
Phenomenon Studios is a fitness and wellness center inspired by the ancient art of belly dancing. Owner Brittney Laleh Banaei heads up an all-female staff. She established the facility as a place where professionals and beginners alike could come together to learn, perform, and celebrate the culture of dance. The studio offers a range of fitness classes designed to empower women in styles such as Arabic dance, yoga, and the signature BellyFit workout—a blend of traditional belly-dancing movements and contemporary music. Phenomenon Studios creates a playful atmosphere with brightly colored walls, a community chalkboard, and a lounge area where guests can compare ballerina trading cards.