In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.
Being recruited by the New York Yankees in high school and winning the Heisman Trophy for football in 1985 predictably foreshadowed a successful sports career for Bo Jackson. In addition to achieving All-Star status as a major league baseball player for New York, Kansas City, California, and Chicago, he became an NFL MVP for The Raiders in 1987, forever cementing himself in the pages of sports history books. Today, the multitalented athlete celebrates his career of swinging bats and hurling balls by personalizing Oakland Raiders and Chicago White Sox jerseys for his enduring legion of fans. These enthusiasts also get to meet the man himself as he adds his signature to the shirts sporting his name and number. The folks at Sideline Marketing organize the event. In addition to Bo, they represent a whole host of athletes, creating countless opportunities for fans to meet and critique the penmanship of their personal heroes.
Featuring an abundance of indoor inflatable slides, jumps, and obstacle courses, Monkey Joe's caters to energetic kids 12 years and younger regardless of the day's forecast. Today's Groupon lets an adult and their youngster swing by for a bout of supervised bouncing during any of the gym's open hours, which take place every day of the week. Adults always get in for free, but are asked not to jump on the play equipment unless they are watching a child four years or younger or just won bingo. Instead, accompanying elders can relax while monitoring little ones in Monkey Joe's amenity-laden parent nook, which features comfortable seating, free wireless Internet, and flat-screen televisions that never need you to wipe their noses. Kids three years and younger can scoot confidently about the super-soft surfaces of the separate Mini Monkey Zone. After battling through inflatable obstacle courses and contending with bouncy minotaurs, kids can scuttle over to the arcade to use their six tokens for games of skee-ball, basketball, or jump rope; most games require one token.
Within Cary Gymnastics & Dance Center's 4,200-square-foot facilities, instructors look on as gymnasts of all ages—from adults and teens to toddlers licking the chalk from their hands for the first time—tumble on padded floors, vault over pommel horses, and swing on high bars during open-gym hours or weekly classes. Beyond the apparatus, dance and cheer squads hone their routines safely over the mats, and athletes practice sports such as basketball, volleyball, and floor hockey at the CG Sports Center, where pitching machines hurl baseballs and softballs within a 50-foot-long batting tunnel.