After joining the South Atlantic League in 2001, the LakeWood BlueClaws didn't hesitate to make their mark. In less than a decade, the team won three league championships, including a landmark 2010 season in which they became the first club in SAL history to win the division in both halves of the season and go on to claim the title. As the Philadelphia Phillies' Class-A affiliate, the team has sent 50 players to the majors, including an eventual National League MVP and the 2010 Phillies' star 8-foot mutant crab at shortstop.
The indoor pool at Five Star Aquatics serves as a classroom for swimming lessons. In its 90-degree waters, certified instructors teach students to float, breathe rhythmically, and ultimately grow gills. Besides minting new swimmers, instructors lead classes for competitive and casual athletes, as well as individuals with limited mobility.
Other instructors at Five Star Aquatics teach dry-land classes such as yoga and Zumba. To further enhance vitality, massage therapists welcome clients into a private room for bodywork sessions that relieve aches and restore peace of mind.
In the summer, Captain Don Cartwright migrates from Florida to New Jersey to captain fishing trips off Sandy Hook and Raritan Bays aboard his 35-foot boat, the Bill Chaser. Cartwright, who has a US Coast Guard master's license and more than 20 years of fishing experience, helps groups hook everything from striped bass and bluefish to larger catches such as bluefin tuna and shark.
When you set foot inside Centercourt Athletic Club of Marlboro's players lounge and see its mahogany leather chairs set around flat-screen televisions showing major international tournaments, it's clear the club takes tennis seriously. Here, there are six indoor climate-controlled Rebound Ace courts—easily spotted thanks to indirect halogen lighting—where you can take lessons from USPTA pro and founder Clay Bibbee and his fellow expert instructors.
When tennis players aren't engaged in leagues, private instruction, or casual play, they can use the fitness center's Life Fitness machines, adding the strength to put extra zip on a serve or incite intimidation during pregame flexing. Thanks to each of these amenities, the club boasts certification as a Regional USTA Training Center.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a California mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children's cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes for parents, newborns, and children under 1 year that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
On June 19, 1946, a veritable herd of racing fans—18,724 of them, in fact—galloped through the turnstiles at Monmouth Park Race Track. It was a gathering fit for a historic return, and indeed it was: 53 years separated that moment from the last time the track had hosted a race. Originally opened in 1870 in an effort to increase summer trade and give horses something to do while not in school, Monmouth Park was immediately popular, earning the moniker “Newmarket of America," a reference to the famed course in England. Yet in 1894, the state of New Jersey banned wagering on horses, effectively ending the facility's operations. In the 1940s, though, a man named Amory M. Haskell lobbied to have that law reversed. Today, the track honors its legislative savior by hosting the annual Haskell Invitational, a 1 1/8-mile race limited to three-year-old horses who’ve just learned to race without their training hooves.
Fueled by a desire to offer their clients fun and motivating ways to stay active, The Action Room's instructors lead myriad classes, from ballroom dancing to country line dancing to Zumba fitness. For those preparing for a wedding or formal touchdown celebration, the instructors teach private and group dance lessons that cover all the major ballroom moves. In addition to leading dance-focused classes, the instructors set pupils' hearts pumping during fitness-based classes that include cardio kickboxing, TRX suspension training, and yoga. High-octane boot camps prepare bodies for the beach, and tummy-centered Pilates workouts help patrons build solid core muscles to deflect any flailing limbs on the dance floor.