Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
Patti Komara, commandant of Patti’s All-American for 42 years, leads a team of friendly, highly skilled trainers in conducting gymnastics and dance classes for teens and younger tots. The Tumblebear Gym program (walking toddler–age 6) draws in dinosaurs, Hollywood, and outer-space themes to keep youngsters engaged in the graceful, athletic movements of tumbling. Gymnasts old enough for school-age gymnastics classes (age 6–18) learn and practice more complicated skills on the spring floor, the uneven bars, the in-ground trampoline, and more.
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.
John Nilsson and April Rodriguez opened Premiere Dance Studio in order to create a community for dancers of all levels, budgets, and schedules to come together. They teach classes in a broad spectrum of styles such as swing, both International Standard and American Smooth waltz and tango, and social dances such as west coast swing. To encourage students to test out their new moves, they host dance parties and other events, as well as offering private lessons for couples brushing up for a wedding.
The only full-service women-only gym in Highland, Womens Core Fitness Center is a supportive, laid-back environment that welcomes all women to come and work up a sweat. There are multiple cardio and strength-training machines, and clients can work out individually or in small-group fitness classes. Certified instructors lead more than 25 classes per week, ranging from Zumba to INSANITY and Turbo Kick. Personal training and childcare are available as well.
Located a mere robin's hop from Chicago, Griffith Aviation flight school invites sky-goers to take the controls of a Piper Warrior and soar through the wide open skies of northern Indiana. The Discovery flight kicks off with a preflight inspection, during which pupil and certified flight instructor alike go through a startup checklist to make sure the craft is ready to be airborne without having to ask a cloud for a piggyback ride. After takeoff, students will spend 30–45 minutes in the air slicing through the big blue, taking in aerial views of Crown Point and Cedar Lake, and learning maneuvers including turning, climbing, and descending. The experienced instructor will safely return the plane to the runway, and then host a Q&A session in which students gather answers to such questions as “How long does it take to get an airplane license?” or “How many living sparrows can you fit into the pockets of your pants?"