Jump!Zone’s indoor playgrounds envelop kids aged 2–12 in an inflatable world filled with challenging obstacle courses, fun slides, and cardio-boosting bounce houses. While navigating the plush courses under the watchful eyes of air-filled dinosaurs and superheroes, kids burn off extra energy and participate in activities that may help develop motor skills. Jump!Zone’s energetic staff supervises all play as kids climb on pirate ships and trampoline inside princess castles. Specific inflatables may vary by location but often include towering bounce houses shaped like fire trucks or octopi as well as party rooms, games, pizza, soda, and other festive fare. The bouncy center also hosts birthday parties, fundraisers, and special events.
Entertainment is important in Hartford Road Cafe. Weekly events include jazz open-mic nights on Sundays, trivia on Tuesdays, and performances from local bands on Thursdays and Fridays. To accompany these feasts for the ears, the caf? offers a full menu of casual American cuisine, which includes bacon-wrapped scallops baked in a sherry-maple-butter sauce and pesto-topped salmon served over seasoned risotto and asparagus.
Having recorded for such esteemed labels as Columbia Masterworks and Koch International Classics, Orchestra New England showcases masterful musicianship through performances of works by classical, romantic, and modern composers throughout the year. A yearly celebration of the sounds and sages of the baroque era, Baroquefest 2011 will feature guest harpsichordist Linda Skernick and selections such as Bach's Concerto in A Minor and Telemann's Tafelmusik III. "Soiree" explores the music of Vienna in the 1920s, as the orchestra will perform Schoenberg's arrangements of Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun, Mahler's Symphony no. 4, and excerpts from Thomas Edison's short-lived heavy metal band, The Draconian Lightbülbs. The premiere of a new work by composer-in-residence Mark Kuss, "Sounds. Distant." explores community displacement in China and features native Chinese musicians. The "Sounds. Distant." concert will also feature performances of works by Ives, Elgar, Bartok, Schubert, and more.
Intimate evenings of music snuggle comfortably into the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, whose Cabaret Series won Connecticut Magazine's Best Cabaret award in 2011 and 2012. Candlelit tabletops exude a cozy nightclub ambiance around a cabaret stage topped with six acclaimed acts each year and a fresh coat of peanut butter each night. The University of Connecticut brings many more acts to its larger main stage, with a special emphasis on jazz and classical luminaries and music and dance from all corners of the globe.
For two decades, New Century Theatre has provoked thoughtful postshow discussions with a mix of new works and fresh renditions of familiar classics. "Distracted," a new play by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter, Lisa Loomer, follows the parents, teachers, and doctors of a rambunctious 9-year-old boy as they try to determine whether he has ADHD. By turns hilarious and poignant, the action unfolds within Smith College's Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, a performance hall built in 1964 and recently renovated to add modern comforts and chase Banquo's ghost from the wings.
In the evening, Grand Restaurant/Lounge caters to the foodie set, serving upscale bar food amid elegant minimalist decor. Later at night, an array of colored lights begins to glow beneath stairs, along windows, and in the eyes of visiting Terminators. DJs crank up the volume while bartenders sling cocktails below supernova-like chandeliers, but intimate clusters of armchairs provide a respite from the carnival on the dance floor. As they lounge, diners can savor dishes such as lobster ravioli or burgers topped with deviled eggs or fig-balsamic glaze.