At Baseball USA, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, baseball isn't just a game; it's also a way to give back and teach kids about teamwork and discipline. So it's a good thing the center's more than 12 instructors are so thorough, covering everything from base running to outfield defense at their manicured 35-acre complex, which includes a 40,000-square-foot indoor facility and 16 batting tunnels. This comprehensive preparation pays off when players take to one of the center's 11 fields, each of which is available for rental by teams or individuals for practice or as part of a tournament. Visitors can also hit up the pro shop or practice on their own by stepping into the batting cages, where they refine their swings by smacking the baseballs and softballs machines fire at them.
24 Hour Fitness keeps its doors open day and night so members can sculpt bodies and fitness goals on their own time with a potpourri of group classes, cardio equipment, free weights, athletic courts, and an indoor-lap pool. Armed with a 30-day membership to the recently opened Houston Rice Village Club, gym-goers kick off fresh workout routines with a complimentary fitness orientation filled with advice from personal trainers on health goals, how to use equipment, and how to interpret nightmares of being chased by dumbbells. Add fresh layers of physicality with TRX suspension-training equipment before playing a round in the racquetball court or letting sneakers squeak out healthful sonnets on the practice basketball court. Members can sign up for an array of group fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, and Les Mills workouts ranging from martial-arts-inspired body combat to RPM, which pairs thumping beats with a stationary bike ride through imaginary mountains and ethereal monsoons. Cap off workouts by ducking into the sauna or taking one final lap in the whirlpool.
Get Active! Get Social! helps singles and couples bust out of ruts to discover fun activities throughout the city, designing outings so that members make new friends as they go. "We like to think of ourselves as a downtown social club," says the event leader. She's in charge of organizing an itinerary of three or more activities per week that range from private cocktail parties and theater outings to skydiving and weekly social dance classes. Here, members connect through genres of Latin, swing, and country/western, which rotate on a monthly basis. "We strongly believe in the 'Live, Work and Play' motto," she says, "And it's fabulous when you can do it all in the same general area, and build friendships with those in your neighborhood."
At Funplex, a pair of roller skates can take you across the country—or at least a smaller version of it. Gigantic murals of iconic American skylines surround the Roller City USA Skating Rink, while fog, lasers, and music add to the excitement and accurately recreate the feeling of teleportation. But this five-acre fun park isn't rooted to the rink. The indoor go-kart car track launches kids and adults alike into dreams of being a race-car driver as they accelerate to up to 22 miles per hour. And the rest of Funplex brims with attractions both fast and slow: bumper cars, a ferris wheel, and a full-size bowling alley with 40 lanes.
Tanya Gorguraki and Chris Chung bring more than four decades of combined diving experience to the classes at Dive Zone Scuba, a wealth of expertise that help the facility earned a five-star rating from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). The diving duo conducts confined water pool sessions in a heated Olympic-sized indoor pool, allowing students to focus on learning proper dive techniques in a controlled environment away from the ocean’s inconstant currents and heckling fish. Each of their courses equips students with certification in a particular area of diving proficiency, unlocking underwater avenues related to open water diving, rescue, or specialty skills.
Proudly part of a veteran-owned business, the state-certified instructors at S-TACT improve clients' firearm proficiency through its concealed-handgun-licensing class, three-part basic handgun class, and custom training sessions. These courses teach basic through advanced skills, such as steadying recoil, drawing from the holster, and clearing a jam by yelling until it cooperates. Each class is limited to 10 students, though they're happy to lead classes even if only one student signs up.
Designed by award-winning architect Gunnar Birkerts, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's stainless steel building safeguards a multitude of work designed to intellectual engage viewers and invoke complex reactions. The museum's two galleries, the Brown Foundation Gallery and the Zilkha Gallery, collectively host 8–10 free exhibitions every year.
The Brown Foundation spotlights work by internationally renowned artists and pieces organized around themes; past exhibits include a Kiki Smith survey and a showcase of performance art by black artists. The Zilkha, meanwhile, hosts the museum's Perspective Series, which gathers the work of emerging artists. The museum's Teen Council curates a biyearly edition of Perspectives, unveiling work by young, Houston-area artists that mine for deeper feelings than the normal teenage angst toward parents, teachers, and singing animatronic bears. The Teen Council also contributes to the museum's numerous programs, which include lectures and discussions for each show, as well as Musiqa concerts based on each Brown Foundation Gallery exhibition.