From its 57-slip floating dock on the shores of the James River, Rocketts Watersports Company rents out pontoons, fishing boats, and kayaks to prospective mariners. The comfortable marina provides space for boat owners to refuel, recharge on 30- and 50-amp power hookups, and wash off clinging squids at the complimentary showers. Day-trippers can rent out a pontoon or fishing vessel for eight-hour adventures on the river. Sporty boaters rent Bic, Surftech, and Tahoe standup paddleboards and kayaks, working out core and arm muscles as they drink in gorgeous Virginia vistas from their perch on the river.
Elegantly lit and plushly upholstered, The Byrd Theatre looks much the same as it did on its opening day in 1928—and sounds much the same, too, thanks to its centerpiece, the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. Every Saturday night, resident organist Bob Gulledge takes his seat at the orchestra-pit console and might preface the evening's second-run screening of a blockbuster film with selections from Phantom of the Opera or a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The antique pipes and bells—which occupy four rooms above the stage—roar back to life with a candy-colored sonority that triggers nostalgia and wakes up any vaudeville performers napping inside.
Since 2007, The Byrd Theatre Foundation has helped facilitate the restoration and preservation of the 1,300-seat auditorium and its organ, making sure it stays State and National Historic Landmark it is today. The Byrd Theatre supplements regular screenings with year-round events, ranging from film and comedy festivals to public-arts forums.
In the four chambers of Tactical Response Unleashed's 12,500 square foot facility, students engage in tactical training sessions, shooting semi-automatic airsoft handguns and automatic rifles at moving targets in simulated scenarios. During each practice session, participants must also duck and cover to avoid pellets of return fire. By presenting students with realistic settings and precarious situations, the training sessions aim to build situational awareness and encourage the appropriate tactical response.
Dedicated to arming students with self-defense skills, the center's staff of former and active law enforcement and military professionals also lead training sessions in firearm safety and defensive tactics. They offer a special course for women, where ladies can practice self-defense tactics and techniques. Classrooms provide the setting for concealed-carry and gun-safety courses, and instructors impart weapon-retention, disarmament, and self-defense classes in a martial-arts dojang.
XZone strives to keep teenagers active and engaged with a lineup of afterschool activities for all interests. Tae kwon do and judo instructors lead self-defense classes that teach patience and confidence, and referees keep paintball matches running smoothly on five large fields riddled with obstacles. Field names such as Spools, Smart Boxes, and Speedball clue players in to types of play. Kids learn how to coax melodies out of guitars and other instruments during 30-minute music lessons that teach fundamentals and more advanced techniques for students playing drums upside down for Mötley Crüe. Those with an itch for friendly indoor competition can head to XZone's game room or calm their hunger pangs with a bite from the café. The center balances sports with scholastic assistance for students in grades 6–12 with onsite tutoring services and a computer lab.
Teachers and doctors. Moms and sisters. The River City Rollergirls don't really care who you are, as long as you're ready to hit someone—and foster an environment that values diversity and gender equity in the process.
The skater- and volunteer-operated league sprouted in early 2006 as Richmond's first all-women's flat-track roller-derby association. At the start, the league featured just two teams—Poe's Punishers and the Uncivil Warriors—but has since expanded to include new members, including the Carytown Cadets, the Hollywood Undertakers, and the Jackson Wardens. All teams take falls and crack skulls as part of the Eastern region of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. But off the track, players put away their growling game faces when participating in community-outreach programs.
Surreywood Swim & Tennis Club's layout is reminiscent of a summer camp, with outdoor swimming pools and a volleyball court surrounded by towering trees, picnic areas, and shaded playgrounds. The club's three pools include a guarded general-purpose pool with two diving boards; a six-lane, 25-meter competition lap pool; and an unguarded toddler pool with an arbor for shade. Here, swimming lessons help little ones feel more comfortable in the water without Mom and Dad or a personal bodyguard. Five lighted competitive tennis courts offer exercise enthusiasts the chance to practice their sport even when the sun goes down, and a sand volleyball court makes the most of warm weather.