After navigating the puffed-up tubes and passageways of Bounce Around Indoor Family Fun Center?s inflatable bounce houses, kids may never look at air the same way again. The stuff they breathe each day takes on new and exciting possibilities as they zip down huge, colorful slides and crawl through obstacle courses that emphasize fun over function. The play areas abound with whimsical decorations, from a barnyard filled with bouncy wooden barrels to a giant shark that scours the facility in search of tasty pufferfish. Not far from the bounce houses, arcade games subsist on their own diet of golden tokens, and tuckered-out kids replenish their energy with pizza, chicken wings, and soda from the concession stand.
The treats at Control Tower Ice Cream are so tasty that they regularly cause pilots to land their planes near the shop. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Albany International Airport’s north runway is paved a few 100 yards from the creamery’s door. Regardless, from March to September, the staff serves nearly 20 specialty sundaes and more than 40 flavors of ice cream that woo adults and kids alike. More savory foods, such as hot dogs, burgers, and paninis, complement the desserts. After eating, guests can watch the planes land and take off or visit Control Tower’s go-kart track, miniature-golf course, or batting cages.
More than 14,000 square feet of climbing walls tower 40 feet into the air in The Edge Halfmoon to draw in climbers eager to escape gravity's clutches. 50 plus top ropes allow climbers to find unique routes along handholds bolted to the textured, angular terrain. Nearby, the freestanding boulder sports several top-out ready climbs, allowing climbers to attack the feature from any angle and still reach the peak. Basic, leading, and multi-pitch classes help beginners and advanced climbers learn new skills to scale indoor and outdoor rock walls, and the gym's competitive climbing team tests its climbing and bouldering prowess against rival crews bent on carving their crest into synthetic rock faces.
While E Studio Hot Yoga may never reach the size of General Electric—one of the companies for which owner Emily has led corporate fitness efforts—it's still an ambitious undertaking. A team of instructors leads the center's classes, which range from ballet-barre workouts set to upbeat music to power-yoga sessions held in a 90-degree studio. Like a crutch with a manufacturing error, the schedules at both the Clifton Park and Latham locations are flexible; classes take place seven days a week, with a variety of morning and evening classes held throughout the week.
Music industry veterans Stan Denis and Paul Benedetti, both fathers of ambitious child musicians, spent years commiserating about the dismal, calcified state of music education. Deciding to do something about it, the two founded Rock School Music, determined to mix the principles of classical pedagogy with a heavy dose of kid-directed originality. Rather than focusing on scales and hoary old etudes, their instructors encourage students to bring in music they actually enjoy listening to, helping aspiring rockers play their favorite songs and recommending technical drills that directly improve their ability to play the studied piece.
In addition to private lessons, the studio's Rock School program arranges young jammers into bands based on their skill levels, before giving them a weekend practice space and sponsoring regular rock concerts for friends and family. Rock School Music’s studio, furnished with plush leather chairs and a wood-paneled front desk, inspires visitors to pursue their musical dreams with its framed band posters and fern plants that resemble Slash.
One step inside The Epicurean Bistro & Wine Bar and visitors are transported to a French village complete with tiled awnings, lampposts, and yellow-brick walls that ascend into a sky-like ceiling. The authentic French atmosphere was created by founding partner Claire, a French-Canadian and consummate traveller, and French-born executive chef Dominique Brialy, whose training has taken him all over the world. Working together, their restaurant was named named Best French by Metroland in 2012, won the Award of Excellence in 2013 from Wine Spectator, and earned a mention in the inaugural edition of Best Chefs America. They pour attention into the eatery's details, from the rustic wall sconces to the sage-scented parsnip purée that accompanies the roasted venison. Claire's husband and business partner Sandy has curated a wine cellar filled with 2,200 bottles from every region of France and internationally sourced varietals that complement every meal. Guests may also order from a full bar that features an extensive craft and imported beer selection, as well as an array of whiskeys, single malts, and bourbons.