The Stockton Park District hosts outdoor community events throughout the year, including craft fairs, basketball tournaments, and 5K and 10K run/walks. Brothers Steve, Andy, and Tom Jordan organized the first annual 5K in 2008. They used their skills from hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to plan and advertise the event. The first year, they signed up 91 runners and raised money for a tennis court behind the high school and a paper-airplane factory at the middle school. Since then, the brothers have worked to improve the race and transform it into a community event with entertainment and an increasingly challenging and interesting course.
Across the three floors of the award-winning Madison Children's Museum, youngsters up to 12 years old explore, learn, and most important, have fun, in a variety of interactive environments. The littlest visitors can wander through the Wildernest, a rustic play-space built almost entirely from natural materials and sustainably harvested hardwoods. Toddlers climb into the raised treehouse or take temporary residence in a mini-village of activity huts made from straw and mud. Suspended above the Wildernest is the Bone Ridge, an elevated walkway designed to resemble the vertebrae of a large animal, perhaps a sea serpent or a giant's pet snake. Afterwards, visitors can refuel with a snack at The Roman Candle Sparkler, and maybe even dessert, made of cloth and felt, at Pie in the Sky Diner, all while the museum mascot, Gertrude the Cow, hangs from the ceiling and keeps watch.
The apex of MCM, the Rooftop Ramble, stands tall above a sweeping view of the Madison skyline, two lakes, and the museum itself. Kids can explore the wonders of the greenhouse and live-animal terrariums. This outdoor garden can be enjoyed by a wide age-range: adults sip cocktails among fluttering chickens and homing pigeons during private events--from weddings to family reunions and corporate events.
Madison Children's Museum is also a popular destination for birthday parties. The team makes each celebration unforgettable by taking care of all the essential party details, from providing the cake to adding a special theme, such as dinosaurs, legos, or mystery.
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.
At Underwater Connection, southeast Wisconsin’s only PADI five-star instructor-training center, an award-winning course director and a team of skilled instructors educate both undersea novices and emergency-service professionals in the art of scuba diving. Following safe, low-stress basic diving courses in a pool, teachers and students move to the open water to cover techniques that include rebreathing, underwater videography, and recovering toy-boat wrecks from flooded bathtubs. Underwater Connection provides all equipment for classes, relying on its factory-trained equipment mechanics and Aqualung Master Technician, who refill tanks and do in-house repairs on gear from brands such as Dive Rite, Poseidon, Oceanic, Aqua Lung, and Scubapro.
Owner Debbie Stoffregen has taught children to swim for more than 15 years, a background that helped her develop Catch the Wave Swim Club's unique instructor training program. Stoffregen only mints adult teachers and personally coaches them once they have achieved certifications in Red Cross CPR, lifeguarding, AED, and first aid. Instructors teach water safety with compassion, creating a family-like atmosphere to help adults overcome their fears, introduce infants as young as three months old (accompanied by a guardian) to the warm, 90-degree pool, and acclimate adolescents to their newly sprouted gills. Surrounded by healthy, confident swimmers, Stoffregen realized the sport could be used as a therapeutic intervention, and created classes for special-needs individuals and those desiring a low-impact way to stay fit.
Dolphin Swim Club's trained instructors guide young children through a garden of aquatic delights in four half-hour lessons over the course of one month, sowing the seeds of safety and proper form at every splash-filled turn. After placing students in levels according to their age and ability, instructors schedule classes of no more than four students to ensure safety and personal attention. Infants nostalgic for their watery wombs can participate in baby swim classes, and children old enough to have chores can train fiercely for intra-family diving competitions to determine nightly dishwashing duties. Parents can observe from the shores as their water-bound whippersnappers learn breath control, back floats, and stroke mechanics in a heated indoor pool.