Feet are in good hands at The Runners Forum. The entire staff is composed of specially trained athletes who hold degrees in wellness-related fields such as exercise physiology and nutrition. When it comes to footwear, the team strives for a perfect fit, assessing customers' gaits in-store and testing out different styles and brands before settling on a shoe. Shelves display the latest wares from renowned footwear brands including Asics, Mizuno, and Adidas, as well as Runners Forum–brand apparel and running accessories. In addition to running gear, the shop also offers swimwear and bike maintenance, repair, and fittings.
Experienced trapeze artist Ray Pierce began his circus training on the tightrope in 1976. More than 30 years later, he and his highly trained staff at his company, Hollywood Aerial Arts, devote their time to every aspect of the art form, from choreographing their own aerial acts to designing custom rigs to teaching the next generation of artists how to maneuver through the air. They reference their collective backgrounds in the circus, Pilates, stunt work, and dance to teach group workshops inside their 10,000 square-foot facility. All of the classes supply students with safely lines and a spotting belt, and the majority of the classes focus on a specific apparatus. These include the aerial bungee, aerial hammock, spanish web, tightrope, tissu, or flying trapeze, which is performed on the facility's 32-foot-high outdoor trapeze equipped with a safety system and animatronic clown cheerleaders.
Kids Artistic Sense cultivates tykes’ creative confidence and cognitive development with kid-friendly forays into clay molding, painting, and other arts and crafts. Parent and child can tap into their inner Michelangelos together in mom- or dad-accompanied classes for fledgling tots, while older kids can mold and paint pinch pots, vases, and other clay creations in kids-only sessions. Instructors keep enthusiasm high by focusing on the fun of the creative process—rather than stressing the need for a finished product—and blending arts and crafts with open play time in the gym.
Eco Dive Center’s dedication to water conservation shines through in its educational programs—the dive team teaches its students not only about scuba diving, but how to properly care for and respect the underwater world. It’s much more than just a water-safety school and aquatics emporium, although it does house dive gear from renowned brands such as Bare and Oceanic in its 5,000 square-foot store. And it does, of course, certify students in both basic open-water PADI skills and more advanced specialties, such as rescue and first-response.
Eco Dive has led underwater cleanup expeditions off of Santa Monica Pier, removing hundreds of pounds of trash in the process, and has enlisted the help of school children to spruce up local beaches. It has also partnered with area non-profits such as Heal the Bay, an organization that educates the public about reducing water pollution and administering splints if waves sprain their ankles.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
When animals are rescued from dangerous living situations or seized from the hands of smugglers, STAR Eco Station provides second chances at peaceful lives. The facility offers a haven for more than 200 rescued animals and educates the public as an environmental science museum. During public tours, guides lead guests through exhibits of rescued exotic animals, such as parrots, pythons, and wildcats, while explaining the habits, history, and New Year's resolutions of each creature.
The recipient of multiple awards from media and government agencies, STAR Eco Station also provides educational outreach programs to more than 40 California school districts and works in concert with conservation organizations such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Paw Project, and Heal the Bay.