In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
Within Studio Movie Grill's expansive auditoriums, towering screens enrapture audiences seated in plush leather recliners and at dining tables. As the familiar celebrity faces in blockbuster and cult-classic features deliver Oscar-worthy lines, sneakily quiet waiters deliver meals from a full menu decorated with more than 100 items, including gourmet pizzas, smoked ribs, and cocktails infused with the spirit of Daniel Day-Lewis. Bartenders at the lobby bar dole out glasses of premium liquors, wines, and draft beer before and after shows.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes and Dinner Lounge combines bowling with swankiness, four bars, and a full-service restaurant. The result is a well-decorated, party-time pinsperience. Al fresco bowling transpires on the lawn at Splitsville's outdoor bowling lane, located near the breezy patio and live band. Inside, a DJ spins tunes above a dance floor designed especially for extended victory dances. Mid-century décor, kidney-shaped tables, and red swivel-pod chairs complete the retro-chic scene.
Shrieks of laughter and the shuffle of sock-clad feet echo across the cavernous playroom at Royal Jump!, where tykes run freely through a lineup of cushy inflatables. The 45,000-square-foot floor houses 13 different structures, including a plush obstacle course, a double slide, enclosed bouncers for freeform leaping, and smaller areas where toddlers can flaunt their sharing skills in front of scouts from the big-kid leagues. In addition, Royal Jump! makes use of its spacious facility with four basketball hoops for kids to shoot on if they need a break. With much of the open facility visible from any vantage point, adult supervisors can keep track of their kids without sewing cowbells to their pockets. To help organize birthday celebrations, Royal Jump! arranges party packages that include a private party room, festive balloons, and disposable plates and plastic ware.
Happy shouts and gliding blades echo in the cool air during public sessions, parties, competitions, and lessons with ICE at The Parks. On the regulation-size NHL rink, guests can glide between skaters and ambitious Zambonis practicing slap shots. The rink opens out onto The Parks at Arlington, allowing pleasantly tired guests to rejuvenate among shops, restaurants, and a classic carousel. ICE at The Parks also maintains an onsite shop for sharpening skates and equipping visitors with necessities such as figure-skating dresses and puck repellent.
With the help of a team of trainers, owner of Cover All Bases, Chris Gay, gives little-leaguers a leg up on the competition. During his clinics, he spends much of the time working on the sport's most essential motion?the swing?in private hitting lessons. But to help build all-around athletes he and his four trainers lead sessions geared toward pitching, fielding, catching, and the closely related art of hitting softballs. A high school athlete himself who went on to pitch for the University of Texas at Arlington and double-A minor league baseball with the Chicago White Sox for 2 1/2 seasons, his love for the game shines through in his training sessions. "(I) love teaching baseball to kids and helping them make their high school teams," he says.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Private hitting lessons and token cards
Pro Tip: It's more comfortable when you bring your own bat
Good for Kids: Yes
Walk-ins Welcome: Yes