Recognized by Cincinnati Family magazine with a Best of Parenting 2011 award, Youthland Academy has been practicing a learning-by-doing philosophy for 30 years. At childcare sessions throughout the year, kids engage in age-appropriate educational programs that help preschoolers turn thought into language and middle schoolers reach their full potential. The full slate of programs are offered at nearly two-dozen locations across the Midwest and South.
Jelly Bean Junction specializes in tutoring programs for moldable child brains; however, they also provide daycare services for infants through kindergarteners and summer camps for school-aged children. Infant care ($215 per week) is individualized to each wobbly bairn; infants are fed, changed, and napped on their own schedule, all of which is tracked on a daily report. Toddler care ($190 per week) lets the wee ones explore and grow in a carefully planned environment, which includes mealtime, naps, and sensory-rich games. Preschool care ($160 per week) is designed for ages three to five and incorporates developmentally appropriate experiences and learning materials as well as outdoor play. Kindergarten care ($145 per week) involves nutritious snacks, computer games, and creative materials that focus on art, science, and more.
Natalie Hathaway's Studio N specializes in freeze-framing façades of newborns, children, and families. During private one-hour studio sessions, Natalie captures funny faces, pulchritudinous poses, and photogenic cowlicks in front of a background chosen to match personalities and outfits. Sessions can include up to three children photographed in classic portrait style. Accentuate individuality by borrowing props from the studio or toting along personal items such as a beach ball, teddy bear, or Jean-Luc Picard action figure in its original packaging.
Scallywag Tag's arena dazzles eyes with a black-lit, neon-tinged pirate ship and 18th-century Caribbean village, which provides a labyrinth of fluorescent walls for marauding swashbucklers. After being split into two competing crews, participants receive a vest, a phaser, and instructions to tally as many points as possible by tagging opponents, swarming the enemy's home base, or holding a referee hostage until he or she doctors the score. The score itself is broadcast on wide-screen LCD scoreboards, but those who are too busy taking out the adversary to look at them can take heart knowing that at the end of the game, the referees announce the winning team.
Outside the fast-paced laser-tag arena, Scallywag Tag encourages visitors to recharge with a drink or a slice of pizza from the snack bar. The arcade sections also distract patrons by featuring perennial classics such as air hockey as well as new favorites, including Time Crisis 3 and Find That W2 Form.
The West-side location additionally lures younger passersby with a pirate-themed jump house and a 35-foot-long slide in the family entertainment center. The West-side’s black-light miniature golf tests hand-eye coordination skills, leading guests through a gauntlet of 18 holes that similarly embrace the pirate theme.
Fitness 19's founders launched their first family-oriented gyms in 2003, hoping to splash the exercising experience with local flavor and familiarity. Life Fitness cardio machines—including treadmills and ellipticals—unite with strength-training machines and free weights to help members to build leaner physiques as certified personal trainers patrol the deep-red-carpeted workout area. The expert staff can also guide clients through yoga, martial arts, and weight-loss-centric personal-training sessions. Every location also hosts a kids' room, where youngsters can craft macaroni kettlebells under the supervision of a full-time staff member.