Sportsworld welcomes families, birthday parties, and dates to a roller rink full of the sounds of music and the sights of skaters dancing and rolling across a disco-themed dance floor. Guests dine on hot dogs and sodas during birthday celebrations, belt out their favourite tunes at karaoke night, or master the finer points of skating during 90-minute skate lessons.
The Canadian Professional Golfers' Association–certified golf instructors at Billy D's Golf Center mould swings and help aspiring golfers finesse the finer points of their game at a fully equipped facility encompassing 52 outdoor hitting stalls and grassy areas. In an enclosed four-bay teaching area, golf pros Daryl Patrick, who competed in the Malaysian PGA Tour, and Luke McKenzie, winner of the 2005 Ontario Spring Open, instruct pupils on mending hooks, saving slices, and willing balls into holes with elaborate tribal spells. Clubs whack and balls fly down 300 yards of lush green fairway, and an artificial putting green strengthens golfers' short game. Fatigued golfers and battered golf balls recoup in a 1,000-square-foot clubhouse, where golf pros fit and repair clubs and cooks serve up food that visitors can enjoy with a side of tree-filled scenery.
West Edmonton Mall holds multiple world records. The one people notice first is the world's largest parking lot, but the one they tend to remember is the world's largest indoor triple-loop roller coaster, the Mindbender. It's one of the centrepieces of Galaxyland Amusement Park, and if the loops weren't enough to qualify it as an "advanced ride" on the park map, its 14-storey peak certainly would be. From its track, families can see more than 23 other space-themed rides and play areas, as well as the mall beyond, bustling with a city-sized stretch of attractions.
Another world record—world's largest indoor wave pool—can be found inside World Waterpark. Here, kids and adults alike careen down slides such as Cyclone, while smaller children play in the kiddie pool and even smaller children splash each other at Caribbean Cove. Regardless of the weather outside, the park's temperature holds at a balmy 31 degrees Celsius. To cool off without getting wet, though, patrons can always head underground to meet a few penguins. Alongside sea turtles, sharks, and stingrays, they're citizens of Sea Life Caverns, an aquarium that earns the mall its accreditation as a zoo.
In the face of all its theatres and thrills, it can be easy to forget that the mall began as a shopping centre modelled after an urban Persian bazaar. More than 800 stores and services serve as an easy reminder, however. They enable shoppers to browse apparel, electronics, and home accessories between refuelling stops at restaurants and pubs.
As he trained to become a dance instructor, Devon Panko's journey took a series of unexpected happy detours, starting with his achievements in the finals and semi-finals of national dance competitions. As he competed while simultaneously training for his teaching certification, doors kept opening for him, including opportunities to choreograph TV and movie stars such as Lily Tomlin and Fred Willard. Now teamed with Orianna Panko, also an accomplished choreographer and winner of several national dance titles, Devon lends his expertise as the head instructor at Panko Dance Ballroom and DanceSport Studio.
Instructors at the studio lead four levels of classes tailored for dancers from the inexperienced to the seasoned. Within the bright and airy studio, dance experts demonstrate the steps of international styles that range from viennese waltz to samba, as well as North American styles such as west-coast swing and country. For more customized instruction, lesson packages help prepare students to dance at weddings, competitions, or to impress at a driver's-licence renewal. The Panko team also buttresses the class schedule with supplementary events that include swing workshops and regular Friday night dance parties.
Stormbringer Air-Gun Range and Supply lets its visitors fire air rifles and air pistols that echo the appearance, feel, and operation of real firearms. Instead of bullets, the air rifles employ carbon-dioxide-propelled BBs and pellets. The substitution in ammunition allows visitors to train and compete without a firearms license. Using the mock guns, the facility's instructors can teach essential skills, such as proper grip and sight alignment, or even set up friendly competitions such as Top Shot, during which shooters fire at steel plates dropped by an automatic target system.
Blair Oko draws on more than two decades of experience as a CPGA Class A professional as he presides over his eponymous academy—a 10,000-square-foot indoor facility in which experts help students up their game with the aid of technology. The instructors rely on video swing analysis, which helps them mentor pupils hoping to develop a swing powerful enough to launch a fallen meteor back into orbit. The facility also hosts four Full Swing virtual-golf simulators, which plunk players into more than 60 championship courses. After getting their fill of computer-generated feedback, golfers can practice their endgame on the indoor putting green or hone their swings on the indoor driving range.
Although mainly dedicated to golf, Blair Oko Golf Academy also invites hockey aficionados to polish their skills on a blade skating treadmill. After quality time with their 9 iron or skates, athletes can unwind in the facility’s lounge, watching sports on flat-screen TVs while sipping a beverage and snacking.