H.G. Wells first imagined a ray gun in his 1898 novel, The War of the Worlds. It took almost a century, though, before Milton Bradley’s first Star Trek-inspired electronic phasers allowed people to zap someone else with a ray of light. Now officially living in the future, these light-wielding marksmen settle their duels in the darkened halls of Lightning Lazer Tag, downing opponents with a mixture of Wild West bravado and whiz-bang space-age weaponry.
If players tire of navigating murky passageways and blasting friends, they can decamp to a nine-hole indoor miniature-golf course, which challenges bodies and minds with devious obstacles cast in the permeating glow of a black light. Competitive shouts and digital chatter drifts from linkable video game systems, which let players choose from more than 40 games.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.
Students at the Cortiva Institute schools gain a respectful appreciation for the healing potential of massage therapy, which they then pass along to clients in the form of relaxing, massage-shaped memos. Beginning with an initial consultation consisting of a brief interview and verb-conjugation quiz, Cortiva students gain full understanding of the client’s trouble spots and cantankerous knots. Once pinpointed, tense tissues achieve relief with the artful flow of gliding strokes and gentle kneading, resolving aches and Rubik’s cube tattoos to restore a general sense of well being. Clinical and myofascial techniques deepen multilayered sessions by improving postural balance and soft-tissue function to enhance circulation and plate-spinning performances. A supervising faculty member stops by for a few minutes during the treatment to assist student therapists and choreograph stress-relief dances, and post-massage, clients fill out a short form to provide feedback for aspiring muscle-menders.
Featuring an abundance of indoor inflatable slides, jumps, and obstacle courses, Monkey Joe's caters to energetic kids 12 years and younger regardless of the day's forecast. Today's Groupon lets an adult and their youngster swing by for a bout of supervised bouncing during any of the gym's open hours, which take place every day of the week. Adults always get in for free, but are asked not to jump on the play equipment unless they are watching a child four years or younger or just won bingo. Instead, accompanying elders can relax while monitoring little ones in Monkey Joe's amenity-laden parent nook, which features comfortable seating, free wireless Internet, and flat-screen televisions that never need you to wipe their noses. Kids three years and younger can scoot confidently about the super-soft surfaces of the separate Mini Monkey Zone. After battling through inflatable obstacle courses and contending with bouncy minotaurs, kids can scuttle over to the arcade to use their six tokens for games of skee-ball, basketball, or jump rope; most games require one token.
Ann Waring, the director of Yoga Seva Studio, takes yoga teaching seriously. Her passion drove her to earn multiple certifications from proven yoga masters and attend quarterly trainings. Supported by a team of talented teachers, Ann and her instructors guide students through a blend of demonstration, explanation, and hands-on pose adjustments to help them attain optimal states of fitness and well being. Each of her 70-minute classes blend yoga poses, or asanas, with meditation and breathing techniques that encourage deeper levels of understanding self and this ancient process in a beautiful custom built studio. Over time, Hatha yoga regimens can catalyze weight loss, help relieve chronic pain, and boost flexibility.