Benjamin Allen believes outdoor pursuits can positively influence those in need. This belief has led him all over the continent, building a ropes course for an orphanage in Mexico and setting up two courses for troubled youth at Provo Canyon School, a bit closer to home. Wanting to share his knowledge of nature with the public, he set up a course, CLAS Ropes Course, near Utah Lake nearly 20 years ago. Benjamin and his crew have since erected more than 50 ropes courses around the country, continuing to inspect ropes and train others how to run them.
CLAS Ropes Course continues to grow each year, creating obstacles such as a giant swing that releases passengers 40 feet in the air, a 400-foot zipline that whizzes through forest canopy, and a "leap of faith," where adventure seekers jump from a treetop platform to a trapeze. A log balance beam hung 30 feet above the ground and a 24-foot-tall rock-climbing tower test agility and endurance, and a fleet of 20 canoes lets paddlers navigate a mile and a half of river. Many of these structures play host to team-building activities focused on developing a group's creativity and tolerance for hearing one another sing. Staff members tailor their instruction to families, dating groups, or athletic teams. They often apply their approach to athletes, such as a professional golfer who traveled all the way from Texas hoping to conquer her fear of not qualifying for tournaments. She defeated the log balance beam, departed victorious, and qualified during her next tryout two weeks later.
When a great white shark approaches with opened jaws, the last thing you want to do is swing a golf club. But when that same scenario presents itself at Laser Assault, swinging a golf club is exactly what you should do—the path through those jaws leads to one of nine holes on the black-light mini-golf course. Other menacing creatures such as snakes and T-rexes guard the remaining eight holes, which wind their way through murals of aquatic critters and verdant jungle brush.
More creepy neon wall paintings illumine Laser Assault's two-level laser tag arena, whose labyrinthine corridors twist and turn past clusters of barrels and through clouds of fog—a one-minute video grants a vivid tour. Outside the arena, only an air hockey table glows inside the arcade, a non black-light space with classic games such as Hoop Fever—the more exciting sequel to Hoop Indifference.
At each of FatCats' five locations, strikes and spares light up the screens of automatic scoring systems. Bowling balls roll and skip down lanes in normal conditions, against retractable bumpers, or under the fluorescent glow of Thunder Alley, when the facility transforms into a music-filled fusion of a bowling alley and dance club. Each lane's crashing pins echo the softer clacking of putters at the glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course and the ringing lightshow of the arcade. Elsewhere, the scents of pizza and deep-fried bowling balls waft through the fun haven. Each FatCats location partners with different restaurants, including The Pizza Factory and Champzz Bar at its Salt Lake facility.
Sears Portrait Studio's original photographers committed their first family photos to film more than 60 years ago, and the studio's digital photographers continue the tradition of taking high-quality portraits at more than 1,000 U.S. locations open today. Each professional photographer completes a rigorous training program before they begin composing and shooting digital photographs, adopting styles ranging from formal portraits to passport photos. Their all-digital system lets customers access their photographs online, where they can add graphics before ordering prints for collages, greeting cards, mugs, and broken-mug collages.
"This is your 'let's be realistic but also make it simple and enjoyable' kind of health company!" Health Movement declares on its website, differentiating itself from its competitors. That's because the company swaps out diet drinks and weight-loss supplements for a program that focuses on mindful eating and combating emotional eating with exercise and plenty of sleep. It recognizes the importance of consistency when seeking long-lasting weight loss and works with each client to help meet goals.
The company's dedication to health shines through in its community involvement, too. Health Movement donates 5% of its profits to its community program, which funds projects including playgrounds and community gardens.
Side-by-side rectangular trampolines, a colorful climbing wall, and a faux-rock formation all serve as launch pads at Lowes Xtreme Air Sports. A short bounce or drop away lie pits filled with cushy blocks of blue foam, ready to break the fall of anyone brave enough to take the plunge. The colorful arena arose as an offshoot of owner Beverly Lowe's previous business Power Tumbling, where demand for free play on the trampolines outgrew the location's size. They also have a trapeze and a cheer floor, and coming in January 2014, an area for ninja parkour.