St. Louis County Parks and Recreation awakens the active side in community members with a bevy of sites and facilities dedicated to sports, outdoor exploration, and kid-friendly fun. Families splash away the summer heat with trips to the pool at the Kennedy Recreation Complex or the St. Vincent Community Center water park, where adults can swim laps in two 25-yard lanes while tykes descend an open water slide and practice their manners at underwater tea parties. The six recreation complexes serve as hubs for everything from fitness classes to ice-skating, and offer a diverse blend of indoor and outdoor activities. For more relaxing amusement, the stewards of the parks and recreation department maintain multiple museums and historic sites as well as outdoor trails, where voyagers can get in touch with nature and add to their collection of acorns that resemble former presidents.
Forest Lake Tennis Club's experienced tennis pros refine serves and strokes on their eight indoor, air-conditioned courts. A tennis pro diagnoses your stroke for the first hour of the clinic, tinkering with your form and process. For the last half hour, racket raisers can test their newfound ability to defeat challengers with topspins, slices, and smashes that provide a more definitive ending to a match than the time Duke Evers knocked out Rocky Balboa with his autobiography. The clinic is geared toward advanced-beginner adult players, and classes hold a maximum of 32 adults, with a student-to-pro ratio of six to one. Throttle pea-green projectiles Tuesdays–Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 pm.
When the summer heat is too much to handle, the Chesterfield Family Aquatic Center becomes an outdoor oasis of cool water and play. Surge down three water slides, practice your backstroke in the competition pool, or let the currents carry you as you float down the lazy river. The center also houses changing areas, showers, lockers, and a sunny deck. In the aquaplay unit, a massive bucket dumps a waterfall on frolicking groups below and a shallow pool tricks little kids into thinking they're in an endless puddle.
At The Great American Diving Company, swimmers and scuba enthusiasts plunge into a 10-foot-deep, custom-built training pool heated to a balmy 85 degrees. Under the guidance of PADI-certified instructors, students in Open Water Diver classes learn to breathe and explore beneath the surface, opening the doors to continue underwater education and obtain certification or finally put to rest a fear of really big puddles. Divers can gear up for their next expedition in the shop, and the staff also leads scuba trips to diving locales.
Shane Perrin?s love for the standup paddleboard led him to set a world record as the first person to use the simple vehicle to travel the Missouri River?s 340 miles between Kansas City and Columbia. His trek even made him the subject of the documentary Stand Up Guy, which chronicles his odyssey against more than 100 kayakers and canoeists in the sixth annual Missouri River 340.
When he?s not looking for another stretch of water to conquer or out paddling for the Pau Hana Surf Supply team, Shane shares his passion through lessons and guided tours for all levels of outdoorsmen. Venturing out onto waters such as the Meramec River, Shane pays meticulous attention to every detail to help guests have a positive, memorable experience. He starts by matching each client with a standup-paddleboard outfit that suits their stature, which facilitates proper maneuvering. He then provides ongoing training as he guides guests past wildlife such as deer, hawks, and the beavers who built the river?s hydroelectric dams.
The Heights Community Center brings the neighborhood's athletes and exercise hobbyists together in its 73,000-square-foot health and wellness complex. Guests jog and climb aboard the cardio room's Precor and Life Fitness treadmills, stair climbers, and elliptical trainers. Nearby, patrons can buff up with the help of free weights or cable machines. Their state-of-the-art aquatic center fuses the athletic benefits swimming laps in a pool with the fun of trying to swim up a two-story waterslide. To infuse fun into workouts, the youth fitness center throws youngsters into a healthy lifestyle with Wii video games, Dance Dance Revolution, and strength-training equipment designed specifically for adolescents. Onsite childcare safeguards tots too young for the youth center, and a full-service library exercises minds by fastening each book with a Rubik's Cube lock.