Clinical counselor Cindy Becknell was worried that kids weren't socializing enough anymore. She wondered how to encourage them to interact, short of simply telling them to or setting up blind playdates. Then she realized that there was already a designated social space for kids: the playground. There weren't as many "old fashioned" playgrounds anymore, much less ones that were concerned with child safety, but Cindy was undeterred. She founded her own playground and called it KidZoo.
KidZoo kids zoom down slides, swing atop tires, and ascend ladders made from rope or wood, just like those in a classic playground. They can also skip across artificial turf to the simulated blacktop, where staff members lead throwback games such as whiffle ball, dodge ball, and keep away. This playground, though, is all indoors, impervious to the whims of the weather and its tendency to tie everyone's shoelaces together.
Though it celebrates athleticism of all stripes, Sports of All Sorts Batting Cages specializes in training amateurs in America's pastime. Along with batting cages equipped for baseball and slow- or fast-pitch softball, the facility improves each player's game with a hitting and pitching tunnel and pitching mounds with L-screens. Seasoned players and area college coaches demonstrate batting skills at off-season baseball camps, which can be customized for groups of six or more.
The facility's multipurpose court hosts a range of activities such as basketball scrimmages, cheerleading practice, and royal curling tournaments while the king's ice rink gets remodeled. After practice, the arcade hosts rounds of air hockey, billiards, or video games, and Sports of All Sorts' bounce house and three-tiered indoor soft playground hosts the hopping of younger visitors.
The Louisville Sports Academy places top-notch instructors at the helm of both of its professional-level facilities, where programs, camps, and classes help players of all ages develop their skills. Opened in 1998, the multifaceted Springhurst location combines 10 indoor tennis courts with areas for golf, field hockey, volleyball, and basketball to form a one-stop training haven. The academy?s other location, Top Gun Academy, has grown to include 13 outdoor tennis courts and a 18,000-square-foot indoor turf field. Dually dedicated to excellence in sports, both facilities offer programs that have helped produce college-level players and championship teams.
The John H. Boner Community Center was founded in 1971 with just a card table and two folding chairs in an office on East 10th Street. Since then, the full service, non-profit fitness center has grown, becoming a beloved presence with services designed to help neighbors achieve a better quality of life. Its programs provide tools for growth, including adult day services, financial coaching, and afterschool education. The attached Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center was formed in 2010 to sponsor a range of fitness classes, using goods donated from local organizations. The fitness facility offers free fitness assessments, free group fitness classes, and features a gymnasium, a range of cardiovascular equipment, as well as strength machines and free weights.
In business for nearly 25 years, the National Institute for Fitness and Sport’s 65,000-square-foot fitness center boasts an array of classes and training sessions, as well as a host of strength-training and cardio equipment. But these represent just one branch of the nonprofit organization. NIFS also manages fitness centers for companies and retirement communities all over the country, creates an online curriculum for Health YOUniversity, and collaborates with the Indiana University School of Medicine on research projects.