Marlene La Fleur’s equine epiphany struck in 1963, when an American Saddlebred steed named Mr. Sandman motivated her to open a stable and breed her own army of championship horses. Since then, Marlene and her husband’s stable has grown by leaps and bounds, with the rein-tuggers moving into an ultramodern barn and training facility in 2001 that allowed them to expand their English-style riding lessons. Placing an emphasis on horsemanship and equitation, Marlene’s daughter Neva leads hands-on lessons that cycle through proper grooming, tacking, and riding techniques catered to each student’s individual skill set. Pintsized riders may also celebrate birthdays or visits from John Wayne’s ghost during group parties replete with barn tours, breezy trots, and a party room that boasts a full kitchen. The stable’s stylish and well-mannered steeds kick up their hooves in spacious 144-square-foot stalls, which are built from southern yellow pine and equipped with individual windows overlooking the grounds’ picturesque rolling hills.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts more than 1,800 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
Snap Fitness's easyFIT monitor is a small, clip-on accelerometer that helps keep track of daily exercise. Unlike pedometers that merely measure steps and spy on daydreams, the easyFIT monitor senses the intensity and duration of physical activity, transmogrifying those stats into simple, numerical points that help assess activity levels from sedentary to peak performance. In addition to tracking exercise in real time, easyFIT monitors can connect to the wearer's personal web portal to upload data and create fitness graphs that help show progress, snag exercise suggestions, and stave off the temptation of living next to a hamburger farm. Watch a video about the easyFit here.
A nonprofit arts-education haven for the community, Rhapsody instructs budding virtuosos and aesthetes of all ages through programs in music, art, drama, and other distinctly cultured pursuits. The artistic equivalent of a superhero brigade, the roster of teachers includes many with master’s degrees in their specialty. Among the classes offered this summer, Songwriters Workshop teaches the basics of setting words to music and digging up repressed emotions about previous-life breakups (ages 13+, $75). Transformational Painting allows adults to conjure their inner oil painter (ages 18+, $115), and tenderfooted thespians can partake in Acting for Little Ones, a confidence-building primer designed to train the future cast of the impending Friends reboot (ages 4–6, $55).
All of Badgerland Bowling Centers' six locations have a lot in common. At each location, groups hurtle colorful balls down slick, glossy lanes, refueling at an onsite restaurant between matches. All of the alleys host birthday, work, and fundraising parties and tournaments such as the Badgerland Bowling 300 Club—which has doled out more than $35,000 in cash prizes since 2002—and the Badgerland Open, which welcomed 113 competitors in 2011, one of whom snagged a grand prize of $500 and 1,000 bragging rights.
But like sextuplets working undercover for the CIA, each center also maintains a unique identity. At Badger Bowl in Madison, live musicfloods the lanes on weekends, and dancers jump and jive on West Coast Swing nights on Wednesday. Nearby at Dream Lanes, laser and disco lights slice through fog amid thundering music during Ultra Bowling every Friday and Saturday evening.
The club keeps visitors fit with group exercise classes, personal training, and aquatic activities in indoor and outdoor pools. Specific classes vary by location, though each hosts cycling, yoga, and Pilates. The 24-hour Harbor location caters to muscles with 160 classes per week, including youth classes in swimming, sports, and ballet.