Diving doyenne Una Stites leads a team of nine other PADI-certified instructors, who deploy more than 100 years of combined experience to guide scuba students toward a future of underwater adventures. During the six-person class, instructors impart techniques and tips for subsurface paddling before escorting pupils to the on-site saltwater pool, where tanks and other necessary equipment stands at the ready. Behind a fence painted with a jovial blue octopus, students practice their newly acquired diving knowledge and Morse code dolphin clicks in a safe and friendly environment.
Hockessin Athletic Club is an innovative facility sprawled across 12 acres that border an accessible state park. Members can enjoy access to more than 100 group fitness classes weekly (yoga, zumba, aqua fitness, kickboxing, and more), 90 pieces of cardio equipment complete with personal viewing screens, a five-pool aquatic complex, plus steam rooms, saunas, and facilities for basketball and soccer. To recoup after any sweaty session, members can soothe muscles over with professional massage services (for an additional cost) or snacks at the full-service café. For complete info, view the schedules for all activities online.
Now celebrating 130 years of health, fitness, and community, the YMCA remains true to its lasting mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids. Staff members at the YMCA of Gloucester County uphold the organization?s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they invest in their community?s children and strengthen family bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. They pump up adult-fitness regimens with aquatic-fitness classes, a martial-arts studio, and personal-training sessions. When they?re not helping adults trim down waistlines during yoga and aerobics classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead children?s day camps, afterschool programs, and youth basketball.
Arms folded across her chest, the young girl rides a spouting cascade of water through the pitch-black tube, squealing with each twist and turn afforded by the snaking confines. Just as it seems as though the darkness will never lift, sunlight pours onto her face as she is spit out into a crystal-blue pool below. This high-adrenaline ride is the reward for being brave enough to tackle the Midnight Run, one of Splash Zone’s numerous waterslides. Other rides include their newest attraction, the FlowRider, which combines surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding with a continuous wave formed by a thin sheet of water for a new sport available for all ages.
Nestled in the heart of Wildwood, the aquatic adventureland evokes whoops and squeals from visitors of all ages with more than 16 splash-laden activities. The gentle ebb of Rivy’s River carries inner-tubing guests along at a relaxed pace, and the interactive water playground in Giggle Bay ensures that the young adventurers remain hydrated thanks to a constantly tipping bucket filled with 1,000 gallons of water. As aquanauts explore the waters, Splash Zone’s crew of certified lifeguards and sunglass-clad Saint Bernards remain on hand to ensure safety, and an onsite first-aid station offers remedies for a variety of ailments. Along with watery pastimes, Splash Zone offers sunbathing areas to facilitate leisurely tanning, and the Zone Grill where chefs forge fire-licked eats for hungry guests.
Part theme park, part water park, Clementon Park and Splash World thrills visitors whether they get wet or stay dry. With attractions ranging from a lazy river to a 10-story free fall, families will find a heart-racing adventures for all ages, and located just 20 minutes from Center City, the fun is easy to access as well. Visitors can relax during the quarter-mile lazy river, wade through South Jersey's biggest wave pool, or descend a cool 100 feet on Thunder Drop. Thrill-seekers can turn upside-down and backward in The Ring of Fire roller coaster, or hop on the world's tallest dueling trap door speed slides, Torpedo Rush. After emptying out their stomachs with screams, visitors can refuel with an array of juicy burgers, fresh-baked pizza, and crispy chicken tenders. Funnel cakes and cotton candy complete the carnival experience, or guests can choose to bring their own food to be enjoyed in the picnic areas near the parking lot.
Inside Tip: Families who would like to avoid crowds should visit Monday?Wednesday.
Chesapeake Underwater Sports founder Mike Nieman has spent the majority of his life in or around water. As a child, many of his relatives worked Chesapeake Bay as watermen. In 1972, Mike began diving for the U.S. Air Force, and after his service, became a merchant seaman. During those years, and through all those experiences, Mike kept his eye on one dream: opening a dive shop of his own.
Mike did just that in 1987. Today, having been involved in the training of more than 2,000 divers, he continues to promote the sport–or, in his case, lifestyle–of diving through instruction. At his shop, Mike and his team of NAUI instructors provide education ranging from basic courses all the way up to instructor qualification programs. They also assist clients in planning exotic diving trips, and maintain an expansive stock of equipment and accessories.