When owner Aaron Stevens says that climbing “builds strength, self-confidence, and trust,” he’s speaking from experience. For much of his life, Aaron suffered from acrophobia, otherwise known as a fear of heights. To deal with his fear, he took an unexpected strategy. He started climbing.
Today, when he walks around Climb Iowa’s 10,000 square feet of top-roping, bouldering, and lead-climbing stations, his proudest moments are when he sees guests “persevere on the climbing wall and achieve a level they never thought they could attain.” An avid outdoorsman, Aaron and his crew oversee simulated climbing terrains that include cracks, overhangs, laybacks, verticals, and slabs. In addition to open sessions, Climb Iowa’s team members lead classes tailored for both beginning and intermediate to advanced climbers. They also offer yoga classes to keep climbers lithe, along with youth summer camps and a recreational and competitive climbing team. Beyond the classes, an extensive stock of gear equips climbers for adventures inside and outside of the gym. Climb Iowa’s construction reflects its team’s love of the outdoors, sporting an eco-friendly design with plentiful natural lighting, geothermal heating and cooling, bicycle racks, and parking spaces for Flintstone cars.
The creators of Cornstalk DSM promise it to be a "corn-tastic time." The corn-themed event celebrates Iowa's biggest—and possibly tastiest—crop. The festival is comprised of four distinct events: Cornball, Cornmeal, Cornucopia, and Cornholio. At Cornball, VIPs enjoy gourmet corn-based dishes and beer pairings before dancing to tunes from a DJ, while at Cornmeal, guests can sample bites of corny dishes from local restaurants and catering companies as live music from The Snacks fills the room. For corn purists, Cornucopia offers live music and corny awards with an all-you-can-eat sweet-corn feast featuring flavor-infused butters, and at Cornholio, 32 teams compete in games of old-fashioned corn hole (bags) and enjoy beer from Exile Brewery. A portion of the proceeds from the three-day event go to the Food Bank of Iowa.
Cornucopia offers live music and corny awards with all you can eat sweet corn feast.
Elena Tobiash and Igor Velikanov are so comfortable on their skates, they look like they float over the ice instead of skating through it. Elena is a former member of the Russian Olympic skating team, while Igor entertained audiences as a member of the Russian Ballet on Ice. Both have more than 15 years of coaching experience, as well as certification from the United States Figure Skating Association. Today, they pass on their training to young skaters through their Learn to Skate and Power Class sessions, empowering youngsters to glide with confidence and grace.
Backed by a master's degree in art education, 30 years of teaching experience, and an art-therapy certificate, instructor Connie Pruitt makes the painting process easy and fun for students regardless of their skill level. Each class she leads progresses through a project step by step: a dab of yellow here, a swirl of blue there, and before you know it, Starry Night appears. Over the course of two hours, Pruitt reveals numerous tips and techniques, helping students build up their confidence with brushes. The painting of the night changes regularly, including not only reproductions of famous works but also seasonal imagery such as hearts and palm trees.
Between its two locations, Sapphire Gymnastics Academy takes up more than 30,000 square feet of space. And with good reason. The gym is teeming with gymnasts and activities. Students of all ages and experience levels twirl and leap through the air on Sapphire's beams, trampolines, uneven bars, and vaults. In addition to coaching young gymnasts, Sapphire also hosts various fun activities, including sleepover parties packed with arts and crafts, games, and movies.
RoundKick Gym’s head instructor, Pete Peterson, began his training 25 years ago with hand-to-hand combat in the US Marine Corps. Pete is certified in Muay Thai, Filipino martial arts, Body Shock fitness, and Kardio Kickboxing. He teaches self-defense skills to women, and karate to kids as young as 4.