Katrina Wells was frustrated. The new mother loved spending time with her child but still longed for a place to relax and sip coffee. Family-friendly play centers had been widespread when she lived in South Florida, but they seemed entirely absent from her new home in Long Island. Undeterred, Wells took initiative and designed a business that would cater to children and their parents.
Across Le Play Cafe Indoor Play Area & Coffee Lounge's 2,000 square feet, imaginations spring to life at performance stages, dress-up areas, and pretend kitchens. A climbable play structure helps little ones to develop gross motor skills, and age-appropriate toys delight toddlers. On the other side of the play center, scents of fresh roasted coffee fill the café as parents relax, socialize, and share photos of their baby dolls. In addition to cheering children and adults, Wells' brainchild also puts a smile on Mother Nature's vine-covered face. Her eco-friendly facility boasts LED lighting and oversize windows that help to reduce energy costs.
Woodmont Summer Camp is nestled in the hallowed halls of an elementary school. In the school's classrooms, gymnasium, and outdoor fields, a team runs summer-camp activities for kids aged 4 to 13. Throughout the day, kids participate in a variety of activities, including basketball, swimming, and special events. They even have a video-game area where kids who need a break from running around can run around virtually. The camp also sponsors field trips and a talent show that parents can attend to see their kids shine.
At Integral Ballet School, a staff of professional dancers leads students of all ages and ability levels in learning the art of movement. Instructors teach children and adults the skills needed to elegantly perform ballet and tap dances, or entrance onlookers with more experimental modern and hip-hop moves. For adults, they also lead a series of fitness-focused dance classes, including ballet boot camp and belly dancing, along with yoga and Pilates sessions to help students achieve lithe dancer bods.
Spread throughout Long Island in addition to branches in New York City, Westchester, and the Capital Region, Sportime's 12 locations offer visitors ample space and equipment to engage in their favorite exercise-related endeavors. The network of fitness factories contains 144 indoor and outdoor tennis courts, where adults and juniors alike can play during open-court times, receive playing tips from expert instructors, and practice their victory taunts. Multisport facilities host a number of other games, from roller hockey and lacrosse to volleyball and basketball, and the fitness centers house cardiovascular and strength-training equipment. Sportime's Randall's Island Tennis Center has even paired with legendary tennis star John McEnroe to create the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, which will soon expand to Sportime locations in Westchester and on Long Island.
Pushing off from from Waterfront Park, paddlers in kayaks and on standup boards from Freeport Kayak Rentals can go exploring in the surrounding bays. Traverse the waterways to Wampum Island, where you can stop to search for shells or practice etching S.O.S. into the sand. Duos can share rowing duties in tandem kayaks, scoping the waterscape for local wildlife such as egrets, gulls, and other shorebirds. Each rental includes lifejackets and paddles, as well as a brief orientation and safety tips for your journey.
The more than a dozen brick-and-mortar locations that make up Ultimate Champions Taekwondo Association share not only a style of combat, but a teaching philosophy as well. Tracing the lineage of their combative art back to Grandmaster Sang K. Oh, the instructors adhere to his teachings, exemplified by the quote, "The person who can defeat others with flashy techniques but is without love toward his fellow man will in the end defeat himself." Students use the physical empowerment of mastering jumps, kicks, and weapons to arm themselves with discipline, confidence, concentration, self-respect, and courtesy for others.
Outside of the classroom, the organization reaches out to the tri-state community with ample demonstrations of some of their most exciting techniques. Practitioners soar skyward in flying kicks or fill the air with the whirring blows of nunchakus, bos, and kamas. Fists slam through boards, balloons, and bricks to demonstrate the striking power of tae kwon do and the structural flaws in the Three Little Pigs' panic room.