Since 1978, Brett Aviation's FAA-certified flight instructors have imparted wisdom to fledgling aviators through programs ranging from discovery flights to full pilot certifications. Their trusty aircraft run skyward laps from its nest at Martin State Airport, allowing students to get a feel for flight controls and build the confidence that comes from hours spent aloft. Planes also take off on sightseeing flights, giving passengers aerial glimpses of such destinations as downtown Baltimore, Annapolis, and Ocean City at 120 miles per hour, just fast enough to outrun the tall ships that frequently drag-race down Chesapeake Bay.
Ultrazone Laser Tag might be familiar to fans of The Real World, whose cast members—fed up with drama—blew off steam by ducking colorful laser beams in the sprawling multilevel arena's fog-filled maze. There's enough space for 45 vest-clad players to face off at one time, and plasma monitors let the next wave watch the game as they eagerly await their turn. The expansive recreation center also hosts sleepover parties that grant exclusive overnight use of the laser-tag facilities, the plasma-screen theater, and the room that's inexplicably full of doorknobs. Outside the arena, an arcade keeps synapses ablaze with video games, air hockey, and golf simulators, supplemented with slices of Papa John's pizza from the cafe.
Eastpoint 10 Cinemas showcases the latest Hollywood blockbusters on screens that face sloped or stadium-style seating. Digital and 3-D projectors entertain audiences with high-resolution images that virtually pop out of the screen, making viewers feel like a part of the film without having to actually fight off bloodthirsty aliens, wicked witches, or Gerard Depardieu. The theater occasionally pairs screenings with special tie-in events, such as karate demonstrations to go along with martial-arts flicks.
On the tree-lined shores of Sue Creek, the adventurous can ride stand-up paddleboards to explore the creek's calm waters. From the Baltimore Boating Center, the seafaring staff pairs its clients on boards suited to their skill levels. Paddlers launch from a newly constructed floating pier, meaning no one will have to mount their boards from a low-flying helicopter.
Latin Palace's lively eatery doubles as an energetic nightclub, pulsing with the DJ-fueled rhythms of bachata, merengue, reggaeton, and salsa until 2 a.m. A menu of more than 15 Spanish tapas, towering cuban sandwiches, and dishes inspired by Spanish, Caribbean, and Tex-Mex traditions equip bodies for the challenge of the dance floor and the joys of winning a dance with a hard-to-get tablecloth. Party packages for a variety of shindigs fete customers with a miscellany of discounted appetizers, specialty drinks, and salsa lessons, and events six nights a week keep restaurant-goers entertained long after savoring Latin flavors.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates in cardio routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
The old warehouse didn't seem ideal to house much of anything, but the rent was cheap once George Bennett offered to make all his own renovations. Drawing from a background as a builder, he created his own architectural plans, and he and a friend set to work on construction. For months, George arrived early in the morning to demolish old partitions and install lighting and windows. As the transformation neared its finish, the pair mounted new walls, spread mulch floor covering, and set up targets and quivers in the 8,000-square-foot archery range. George invited the National Shooting Sports Foundation to examine his facilities and received a four-star rating.
Now, more than a decade later, arrows sing through the air, slipping percussively into three types of targets. The targets sprout up from a tree-dotted floor under rustic wooden rafters along the indoor, climate-controlled range. Traditional targets stand 45 yards from the shooting area, and computer-controlled moving targets in the form of three-dimensional deer, beavers, and wolves trot across the range, challenging archers to pin them with warning notes addressed to loudmouthed owls. Additional animal targets positioned closer to the shooter's area allow traditional longbow and recurve bow users to test their marksmanship. To prepare for successful shooting sessions, visitors peruse the pro shop's racks of compound bows from the Mathews series as well as Mission gear and Matthews Officially Licensed Products. Quivers brim with Carbon Tech arrows, and George and his staff make other arrows by hand, which George sometimes inscribes with Deer Creek's logo with the care of a painter autographing his children.